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.

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