The UK Royal Navy announced an investment of £2 million for the expansion and modernization of Gibraltar’s ‘Windy Hill’ monitoring station.
Sitting high above the Strait of Gibraltar, personnel at the monitoring facility keep an eye on 60,000 ships entering or leaving the Mediterranean, or crossing between Africa and Europe.
But after more than a century of constant operations, keeping an eye on traffic visually, over the radio and electronically, Windmill Hill Signal Station needs work.
Over the next 12 months, the complex will be expanded and improved, with extra monitoring equipment installed.
Around 30 personnel work in the station, which is located on the hill of the same name about one third of a mile from the southern tip of Gibraltar – allowing near-panoramic views of the strait and neighboring bay.
Although now under Joint Force Command rather than reporting directly to the RN, it draws the bulk of its staff from the RN.
They feed information back to the UK and its allies and also support the international fight against drug trafficking; the narrow waters separating the two continents are a known route for shipping narcotics into Europe – an information provided by Windy Hill has led to illegal shipments of drugs and tobacco being seized.
The Commander British Forces Gibraltar, Commodore Mike Walliker, got work under way on the extension with a ceremonial breaking ground ceremony at the site – nicknamed Windy Hill because of its exposure to a near constant onrush of air.