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Reports had suggested that fleet will go from 5 aircraft to 4 as the RAF are forced to cut one of the aircraft, this has now been confirmed.

The fate of this aircraft type has, once again, changed.

A written question asked by Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly read:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans for the number of Sentinel surveillance aircraft in service to be reduced.”
The question was answered by Harriett Baldwin, Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement:
“The original service date for the Sentinel fleet has been extended from 2018 to 2021. This will be achieved by careful fleet management practices, including the removal of one Sentinel from front line service with effect from 1 April 2017.”

Sentinel is a unique capability in Europe but one of the aircraft is being cut in order to save money. Earlier concerns centred around plans that the fleet would leave service entirely next year but a push to extend the service of the aircraft to 2021 seems to have been successful, we reported on this at the time here.

The Sentinel is an airborne battlefield and ground surveillance aircraft based on the Bombardier Global Express ultra long range business jet and serves a role similar to JSTARS with the RAF, the jet was adapted by Raytheon to meet the RAF’s requirements.

Sentinel was originally known as the ASTOR (Airborne STand-Off Radar) programme. In 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron announced the retention of the aircraft in the face of their expected retirement due to budget cuts.

Last October, Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin announced a £131.5 million support contract for RAF’s Sentinel surveillance aircraft. The deal with Raytheon UK will provide the Sentinel aircraft with in-service support and maintenance, meaning it can continue to meet the RAF’s operational requirements.

9 COMMENTS

  1. It’s now time for the responsibility for the defence of this nation to be taken away from politicians, and to be put in the hands of a seperate team who make judgements and decisions about capability requirements without interference from politicians.

    The naivety of successive governments has now compromised the defence of this country and they should be held to account.

  2. Pathetic – simply pathetic.

    I’m sure I speak for almost on on this site when I say I really long for one day to open ukdj and see some real, true positive news on British defence – like a real increase in manpower, hull numbers, aircraft, armoured vehicles, replacement missiles ordered for those phasing out etc. Instead, it’s a steady diet of cut here, no replacement there and capability gap over there. It’s ridiculous and our politicians need their arses kicked up to the shoelaces for jeopardising the defence of our nation in such an irresponsible way!! I for one am just sick of it!

  3. Yes but we are getting alot of new and very expensive pieces of equipment over the next few years, 9 P8 posidons, 26 Avenger UCAV’s 22 A400’s, F35, still alot of money being spent on the Typhoon, E scan radar, spear 3, meteor, asraam upgrades, storm shadow upgrades, Brimstone 2. Striker 2 HMD, chinook upgrades, puma upgrade to name but a few of the equipment to enter service over the next few years. It’s not all bad news.

    • Agreed Robert but the devil is in the details as much of what you listed was laid out in 2015SDSR which we all know hasn’t been properly funded. Much kit will be late – e.g. 10yrs before all P8s will be in service; seriously 10yrs for 9 aircraf???? – why? So let’s see how much on the list we get and when we actually get it…. I have NO faith in Fallon and his cronies to deliver!! Same thing for Corbyn should he ever get in…. then we’re totally screwed!

      • We have, are building and buying world leading capability across the services. The issue for so many of us is the lack of depth. That comes down simply to budget. In 2020 despite five years of ‘a rising defence’ budget it will be smaller in absolute terms than it was in 2010. With inflation that’s just a huge cut. It’s not sustainable and no party has any real solutions – they are all fiddling at the edges while Rome burns

  4. I agree, unfortunately the politicians know there are no votes in defence, despite the great pride and affection the people of our country have for our armed forces we don’t see 100.000 people on protest down whithall when defence cuts are announced. And if Corbyn came to power you could wave bye bye to most of our future equipment program, he would love to cut defence to pay for lots of free stuff for students and his socialist economic policies.

  5. I would have thought the Sentinel could have served into the 2030’s providing it was properly maintained. I wonder if the UK will sell the spare one to the Saudi’s

  6. Here’s a thought, rather than sell the most demanded aircraft to the Saudi’s, how about leasing it to NATO?

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