Operation Thunder Child - Concept

These previously unpublished notes illustrate how the concept for Operation Thunder Child was first devised.  I discussed the questions below with various official sources before writing the book, so that the plot was as realistic as possible in dealing with how the government and military would respond to an alien invasion.  The final manuscript had to be submitted for official clearance and various details were changed to avoid compromising national security.



Uncorrelated targets are detected by radar systems at RAF Neatishead, and Tornado F3s are scrambled to carry out an intercept.  The pilots report an unidentified craft capable of speed and manoeuvrability way in excess of any known aircraft or UAV.  Over the next few days similar incidents occur, until two F3s are lost during an intercept, after reporting they are under attack.  It is not entirely clear who is operating the mystery craft.  Some believe the craft is Russian, but an extraterrestrial option is also considered.  As events unfold it becomes clear that a hostile extraterrestrial force is involved.


Military Questions

After the loss of two aircraft during an attempted interception, would Rules of Engagement be changed?

Under what circumstances would aircraft be:

a.  Armed with live weapons?

b. Given orders to engage the target?

What other weapon systems might be deployed?  Any meaningful Ballistic Missile Defence System (e.g. Russian GORGON/GAZELLE), or ground based or airborne laser system (e.g. US Boeing 747 plan)?


Ministry of Defence Questions

What chain of command would be used for this information?  Presumably HQ Strike Command would brief somebody at MOD, but would this be ACAS or CAS?

Would this be discussed in the Air Force Board Standing Committee, the Chiefs of Staff Committee or the Defence Council?

What would be the involvement of CDI, or of the Intelligence Agencies?

Would operational control be exercised by the PJHQ, following a directive from CDS to CJO?

Role of Cabinet Office Group or Joint Intelligence Committee?


Scientific Questions

At what stage would CSA or DUS(S&T) be consulted?

To what extent would the potential biological hazard be discussed?  Are there any existing (biological warfare) contingency plans that might be activated?

Role of RAF Fylingdales?

Role of satellites?

What consultation might there be with observatories?

What attempts would be made to establish communication?


Political Questions

How feasible is the concept that any of this would be covered up?

Could any Government seriously go public with speculation about extraterrestrials unless the evidence was irrefutable?

If an announcement was to be made, would it be a clear-cut statement by Secretary of State or even the Prime Minister?

If no announcement was made, how could a suspicious MP force the issue?  Would an Adjournment debate or a Private Notice Question be used, and if so, how might a Government circumnavigate this?