A Royal Air Force Sentinel R1 aircraft based at RAF Waddington, was today welcomed back following the latest successful mission supporting the coalition in the fight against Daesh in the Middle East.
The 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron aircraft landed today after eight weeks away where the crew have been supporting coalition operations by supplying information that ensures the strikes carried out by the RAF and other coalition aircraft are accurate.
Wing Commander Chris Melville the officer commanding 5 Sqn said: “This has been a highly successful deployment by the Squadron and we continue to contribute to the success of the mission.” He added: “It is always difficult to recognise the work of my Squadron due to the sensitive nature of it, but today is an opportunity to publically congratulate them on a job well done.”
During this tour the Iraqi Security forces, together with their coalition allies in the air and on the ground, have successfully recaptured the Iraqi city of Mosul with the 5 Sqn Sentinel playing an important part in the gathering of information to support the ground campaign.
The Sentinel crew used the aircraft’s powerful radar to identify and track numerous targets over great distances, passing the information in near real time to friendly forces. The information gathered was also used by intelligence specialists to conduct in-depth forensic analysis of the data to generate intelligence products that are passed to commanders and decision makers enabling them to plan future operations.
Today’s returning Sentinel aircraft has been deployed in support of operations for two months and during that time was airborne for 235 hours, or the equivalent of nearly 10 days, with the typical sortie lasting for ten hours. During this time the aircraft flew approximately 4200 miles.
Squadron Leader Tom, a member of the crew said, ‘We are very proud of the work that we collectively do as a Squadron here. It gives the crews immense satisfaction to see the end product of their efforts and the effect of this on current operations.’
• 5 (AC) Squadron was reformed on 1 April 2004 at RAF Waddington to operate the Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) System, flown on five modified Bombardier Global Express aircraft. In RAF service, the aircraft type is known as the Sentinel R Mk 1, with the R acknowledging its Reconnaissance role.
• The Squadron’s mission in the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance role is at the cutting edge of technology and military capability. The ISR role is of the highest priority for modern commanders and is pivotal in today’s ‘asymmetric-warfare’ challenge in the global war on terrorism, where the enemy is elusive and the Battlespace has no boundary. For 5 (AC) Squadron, the role is most apt, as after operating proudly as a fighter Squadron for 50 years, the Squadron reformed and switched to ISR role signalling a return to its roots.
• 5 (AC) Squadron celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013. Recently the Squadron has been employed in various operations around the world, including Op ELLAMY, Op NEWCOMBE, OP TURUS and flew 1400 missions and over 16,000 hours in support of Op HERRICK between November 2008 and November 2014. The Squadron currently provides an enduring capability in support of Op SHADER.