In reality, this was a cost-saving move by the producers — the studio was the actual studio where the series was being filmed, originally the MGM-British Studios, later Pinewood Studios, although the Harlington-Straker studio office block seen throughout the series was actually Neptune House - a building at the former British National Studios, in Borehamwood, that were owned by ATV. Pinewood's studio buildings and streetscapes were used extensively in later episodes, particularly "Timelash" and "Mindbender", the latter featuring scenes that actually showed the behind-the-scenes workings of the UFO sets when Straker briefly finds himself hallucinating that he is an actor on a TV series and all his SHADO colleagues are likewise actors.
Typical of Anderson productions, the studio-as-cover idea was both practical and cost-effective for the production and provided a ready-made for the viewer's suspension of disbelief. It removed the need to build an expensive exterior set for the SHADO base and combined that all-important "secret" cover (concealment and secrecy are always central themes in Anderson dramas) with the trademark ring of at least nominal plausibility. A studio was a business where unusual events and routines would not be remarkable or even noticed. Comings and goings at odd times, the movement of vehicles, equipment, people and materiel would not excite undue interest and could easily be explained away as "sets", "props", or "extras".
Another Anderson leitmotif was the concept of the mechanical conveyor — e.g., the automatic boarding tubes of Stingray and the Thunderbird craft. In UFO, this appeared in the guise of Straker's "secret" office, which doubled as a lift (elevator) that takes him down to the SHADO control centre located beneath the studio. The pilots of the Interceptors slide down a boarding tube into the craft. After the tube retracts the Interceptor is raised from the hanger on a platform the actual launch pad being disguised as a lunar crater.
SHADO has a variety of high-tech hardware and vehicles at its disposal to implement a layered defence of Earth. Early warning of alien attack would come from SID (Space Intruder Detector), a computerised tracking satellite that constantly scans for UFO incursions. The forward line of defence is MoonBase from which the three Lunar Interceptor spacecraft from which nuclear missiles are launched. The second line of defence includes SkyDiver, a submarine mated with the submersible, undersea-launched Sky One interceptor aircraft which would attack UFOs in earth atmosphere. The last line of defence is ground units including the armed, IFV-like SHADO Mobiles, fitted with caterpillar tracks. Special effects, as in all Anderson's marionette shows, were supervised by Derek Meddings, while the vehicles were designed by Meddings and his assistant, Michael Trim.