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The Vela Incident

Gary Albyn is fast establishing himself as master and commander of his genre. I can do no better than commend this book—and many more after it—to the reader.

—Ricky D Phillips: Author of ‘First Casualty’ & ‘Last Letters from Stanley’

On 22nd September 1979, a satellite circling high above the Antarctic detected an unusual flash in the Southern Ocean. More than a decade earlier, the USA launched a fleet of satellites with the sole purpose of monitoring compliance with the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban. It was known as the Vela Satellite System.

US National Security Archives suggest that the 1979 detonation—now known as the ‘Vela Incident’—was the culmination of a secret nuclear project between South Africa and Israel.

While researching this and other clandestine events for my spy thriller, ‘Red Talon,’ I unearthed the co-ordinates of a secret testing facility deep in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert.

From the mid-70’s to the late 80’s, South Africa was locked in both a kinetic and an ideological war against Soviet communism.

Check out the co-ordinates on Google Earth and see if you agree whether the strange aircraft—parked many miles from the closest runway—is indeed a Soviet MiG 21.

27° 50' 24'' South; 21° 35' 55'' East

‘Red Talon’ —the sequel to ‘A League of Warriors,’ —is available on my website:

Follow me on Instagram: gary_albyn

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