RAF surveillance aircraft clock up 20,000 flying hours
Surveillance aircraft based at RAF Waddington have notched up a collective total of 20,000 flying hours protecting British and other ISAF forces in Afghanistan. The high-tech, state-of-the-art Sentinel R1 aircraft of No 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron and Shadow R1 aircraft of 14 Squadron have each clocked up 10,000 hours on Operation HERRICK.
While based in Britain aircraft from both units have been permanently patrolling the skies above Afghanistan since 2009 gathering vital intelligence on insurgent activities.
RAF Waddington Station Commander Group Captain Al Gillespie said:“The search capabilities of Sentinel and Shadow have provided UK and coalition partners with an unprecedented insight into the unique operating environment of Afghanistan. The ability to search vast areas and provide real-time information to others has led to more efficient and effective application of other military capabilities such as remotely-piloted air vehicles, coalition helicopter-borne forces, light-armed reconnaissance vehicles and combat aircraft.
“Its superb capabilities, with its ground-mapping radar and ability to detect personnel and vehicle movements from many miles away, have led to some ground forces describing it as a ‘go/ no-go’ asset for their operations– meaning that without Sentinel they would not continue.”
On August 14, 2012, Sentinel hit the milestone of 10,000 operational hours in support of British and coalition troops, with more than half of these hours clocked up since May 2011.