Centra Spike the Hunt for Pablo Escobar in London

Centra Spike came to London!? So, I live in central London and happen to have a little more than a passing interest in aircraft too. I like to spend my time in a few of the small parks around Islington, especially during the beautiful sunny days. Strangely over the summer back in 2014 and sporadically in the Years following, I notice a light aircraft above. The aircraft came and went but would always circle relatively low to the ground compared to regular air traffic in the area. I noticed it because it became a nuisance after a while. Lying back down on the grass staring through the clouds from Thornhill Square, I see the light aircraft circling. My mind immediately jumps to what I know of Pablo Escobar and how the US assisted the Colombian government in tracking him down. Here’s a video I made of the very same plane later that very day. Below is another video from a news report tipped off by another aviation enthusiast who lived under the plane’s flight path. This person also stated that there were two such planes.

Centra Spike and Pablo Escobar link

The intro of Narcos at 1:01mins in seems to depict the airborne operation. The Narcos website actually has a nice info-graphic available alluding to the hardware that made up the project Centra Spike. Watch the below video for about a minute of this documentary focuses slightly on project Centra Spike and how it was used to triangulate and locate Pablo Escobar in the hunt for him. The idea was to triangulate the signal of Escobar’s mobile by circling a plane with the required equipment aboard over the source of the phone’s signal. The video shows a reconstruction of what is believed to be the undertaking of the mission flights. Interestingly a plane used is strikingly similar to that secret police plane that I saw flying over London repeatedly as it adopted the same circular flight course.

The Centra Spike Project in London

My facebook post at the time calling out exactly what I thought it was in its relation to authorities triangulating mobile signals.

A number of the press starting posting reports. ITV News reported that “The aircraft has been linked in the past to shadowy fleet of surveillance planes said to be operated by the Metropolitan Police.”. The report goes on to notably say that, “..the two planes, costing £3m a year, are used to monitor mobile phone calls.“. This is the Escobar hunt link that I have been talking about since seeing the circling plane for the first time. The Mirror also ran a similar report. They have a Metropolitan Police spokesman quoted as saying, “Our position is that we will not confirm nor deny any involvement with the plane.”. Highly suspect. The Mirror article has an online poll where 80% of the participants believe that the plane was used as a spy plane. The Telegraph published a far more researched piece earlier in 2011. They reported, “The planes have apparently been fitted with secret surveillance equipment capable of intercepting mobile phone calls or eavesdropping on conversations.” and went on to report that, “They are understood to be similar to surveillance planes available to MI5 which have been used in anti-terrorism operations..”. The Metropolitan police at that time were hiding the spend that this project was taking. Reminiscent of such planes’ use in Colombia where authorities had to have cover companies operating their flights.

It is not known what is happening with the secretive police project now. The two planes that attracted my attention an that of others to bring such news reports are still active. We can see their registrations of G-BVJT and G-UMMI that they are still flying but no longer adopt their recognisable circle flight-paths. They do still operate to and from Air Force bases around the country and do occasionally lose tracking. The secret planes were reportedly registered with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to a firm called Nor Leasing, a company which had no other official records.

Does the Centra Spike Project Live On?

Well, who knows. If anyone has any recent information please let us know in the comments below or contact me. We’d all be very interested. There is rumour insinuated at the end of this online piece about the ISA (Intelligence Support Activity). ISA being the outfit that operated Centra Spike in Colombia all those Years ago. It goes on to rumour it’s use in Bosnia and focusing specifically on former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.

Here’s some further reading (I do not endorse these sites agendas):

  1. https://cryptome.org/2016/02/met-spy-planes-uavs.htm
  2. http://www.secret-bases.co.uk/cia-rendition.htm

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