A Sentry R1 surveillance aircraft has completed the types final operational sortie before the fleet is sold off.

RAF Waddington posted news that an aircraft had returned from the types final operational sortie.

The aircraft, ZJ694, was over the Baltic Sea near Russia earlier today.

What does Sentinel do?

The aircraft, described on the Royal Air Force website as “the most advanced long-range, airborne-surveillance system of its kind in the world”, provides long-range, wide-area battlefield surveillance, delivering intelligence and target tracking information to British  forces.

A Sentinel R1

The aircraft has been operationally deployed in support of operations in Afghanistan, Libya and Mali, and was recently deployed in support of British and Coalition operations in Iraq and Syria as well as surveillance operations near the Russian border.

Why is it being sold off?

The aircraft is being sold off, it is claimed, due to obsolescence.

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, last year stated that Sentinel was introduced in 2008 in the knowledge that a significant equipment upgrade would be required in the mid 2010s.

“The Sentinel R1 has been operationally deployed in support of a number of operations. Some operations are considered to be both conventional and counter-insurgency; for example operations in Afghanistan (Op HERRICK) and Iraq (Op SHADER). It has also been deployed on operations in Libya (Op ELLAMY), Nigeria (Op TURUS) and Mali (Op NEWCOMBE), all considered conventional operations.

Sentinel was introduced in 2008 in the knowledge that a significant equipment upgrade would be required in the mid 2010’s. The Defence Review in 2010 cancelled this expected upgrade bringing forward the likely out of service date. The SDSR 2015 determined that Sentinel should be retained for a further period and set a new out of service date of March 2021. While some work was conducted on the on-board equipment this fell well short of a full system upgrade.

I asked a defence insider about the value in scrapping Sentinel, he told me:

“The decision was taken 10 years ago to switch it off so no support [for the fleet] has been in place since then, and the fleet has been run on a shoestring. As such, you’ve got a fleet of jets that are totally unfit for conversion, without a key role and where other ways of doing it exist.”

We recently reported that Sentinel was to be sold off. The Ministry of Defence advise however that the aircraft being sold off are “not for reuse”. You can read more on that by going to the article below.

UK selling off Sentinel and Sentry aircraft

The Ministry of Defence advise that the aircraft being sold off are “not for reuse”.

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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago

This pains me. The enabling assets like this in the ISTAR field are such multipliers!

As such, you’ve got a fleet of jets that are totally unfit for conversion, without a key role and where other ways of doing it exist.”

Without a key role? Like loitering near Russia on a weekly basis?
What other ways? Small satellites? Drones? Tethered Balloons?

Where are these assets?

Reminds me of the ministers replying to the Nimord MPA fiasco to the effect that other assets existed for MPA ( Hercs??? ) implying use of the MK1 eyeball!

Taffybadger
4 months ago

We are very good at scrapping key enablers unfortunately

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
4 months ago

Aye min , totally agree I can’t help but feel there is a definite short sightedness amongst some in the MOD and Whitehall . I seriously hope they have something planned to replicate the sentinels attributes.

?????????

Taffybadger
4 months ago

They will probably tout the 9 x P-8’s and Protector with its tiny Lynx SAR/GMTI

Trevor G
Trevor G
4 months ago
Reply to  Taffybadger

Plus Rivet Joint presumably.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
4 months ago
Reply to  Taffybadger

More likely to be Protector with Seaspray 7500E V2 that’s currently being integrated onto the Protector platform. The 7500E V2 claims both land and sea surveillance capabilities. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve used what is usually thought of as a marine radar surveillance system over land, with Sea King ASaC7 used to effect in Afghanistan, where beach-front properties are thin on the ground.

dan
dan
4 months ago
Reply to  Taffybadger

I wonder if the U.S. has told the Brit’s they can purchase the Airborne Aerial Sensor for their P-8s? It’s far more advanced than what the Sentinel carries.

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  dan

its been looked @ but makes the E 7s pointless. and that order has been placed.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Does it? I was under the impression they are completely different roles. P8 with AAS for ground surveillance and E7s for AEW.

David Flandry
David Flandry
3 months ago
Reply to  Taffybadger

Yeah, all that huge fleet of 9 aircraft.

Johan
Johan
3 months ago

Yep P8s can cover there work and the E7s will provide a replacement for 2 airframes in the future. The Sentinal fleet is too small to offer value for money and need a large upgrade. other Istar assets can cover the sentinels. 2nd hand airframes when converted, and cannot link up with the Modern systems on the F35bs and QE class carriers. if it works the RAF will drag it to the scrap heap. these aircraft are not fit to fly and the equipment is not up to scratch anymore.

James Fennell
James Fennell
4 months ago

To be honest since they not invested in updating the fleet the better and more cost effective option now would be to buy a new UAV like Global Hawk / Triton. Since NATO has a Global Hawk fleet coming online and the UK mission is more littoral, they probably need to focus on a maritime UAV to work with the P-8s

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

UK and USA will pull back from Nato untill there spending is in line with other states….

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
4 months ago

Hi Daniele. You’re assuming conducting operations near Russia with these assets has value. The question is do they really, or are we just using assets because we have them, per the quoted comment “without a key role”? In a hot war we could never use these assets anywhere near an adversary with a high altitude SAM capability, and there are plenty of countries that have that capability. We can use our 8x Shadow R1, 9x Defenders and imminent Protector UAV fleets for ISTAR against insurgencies, where the worst SAM is likely to be a MANPAD with a circa 15,000 feet… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago

Mate. You’ve explained all that before at length., which is appreciated. But I’m still not happy with it!?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago

I think if we still had 10k plus troops in Afghan or some other hot sandy location, the capability would have been kept on. It is a shame to see these go, but they are a single role aircraft, that would require costly upgrades, and can only really be used when we have complete air superiority of an area of interest. I’m sure the loss of capability will be missed in the short term. But longer term, our future is with P8, E7, Protector and Rivet Joint, plus satellite capability and F35 will also bring considerable ISTAR capability. All these… Read more »

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  Andy G

The Main issue is there 10 years passed a update, and imagine the issue taking your 20 year old computer and asking PC WORLD to update it. Cheaper to buy new airframe. based on a 737 airframe.

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
4 months ago

Exactly my thoughts Daniele. If it’s just come back from operational deployment, it must have an operational role. Most advanced in the world and yet too obsolete to allow for upgrade? Who are they trying to kid with this usual government double-speak? Cameron’s 2010 SDSR strikes again! In theory this role could be performed by large sophisticated RPAS, but where’s that programme? Just another capability (very long) holiday because of a decision made in 2010.

Johan
Johan
3 months ago

The Main issue is there 10 years passed a update, and imagine the issue taking your 20 year old computer and asking PC WORLD to update it. Cheaper to buy new airframe. based on a 737 airframe.

Johan
Johan
3 months ago

BAEs had a issue with Nimrod in that it didnt work, and needed more money to make it work. then entered into a heated conversation with the RAF and UKGovs. and were told to make it work. @ some point in the pissing contest, BAEs resindered the extra flying hour’s extensions on the Harrier Fleet. thus grounding most UK Harriers very quickly. as it removed manufacturer’s support in this bitter act UKGovs cancelled and scrapped the Nimrods as it was the last Aircraft under sole BAEs to prevent this ever happening again. only flyable UK Built Harriers are a few… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
3 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Nonsense. The idea BAE pulled the plug on Harrier, from whose on service support it made a lot of money, in some silly contest over Nimrod, is absurd. The airframe issues on Harrier were long extant but would have cost money to resolve (money the US soent on theirs as it spent on classic Hornets). Nimrod was cancelled because it didnt fly/work, and there was no obvious route as to how to get it there, or when. Harrier was binned because MoD needed to swing an axe and it didnt have the fleet size, airframe hours or “must have” strategic… Read more »

David Flandry
David Flandry
3 months ago

Hmm, large UAVs? Reconditioned Fairy Swordfish? You are so right, someone is pennywise and pound foolish.

John
John
4 months ago

Article says they are to be sold – does anyone know who to? I can’t imagine many countries with a need for these – Israel? Saudi? Australia?

BB85
BB85
4 months ago
Reply to  John

I read somewhere, probably here that the airframe is only being sold for spare parts and scrap. The radar will be removed before it is sold. Which is such a waste. I would imagine the Saudis would happily purchase them.

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Will one of Hancock’s friends get a good deal on them?

Last edited 4 months ago by Herodotus
Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

bet youre waiting with youre arm out for one of Hancocks mates and his vaccine.

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  John

scrapped no ISTAR Systems will be left

Challenger
Challenger
4 months ago

I despair!

Do we really think our key allies care how many light infantry battalions we have sitting around of whether we’re bringing this many fast-jets or that many armoured vehicles into service vs key enablers like Sentinel which very few other nations can bring to the party!

We never learn….

lee1
lee1
4 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

I agree. Sentinel can surely operate from places Rivet joint can’t get to due to the size of the base? Especially given that the range of the Sentinel is almost 2200 miles more than Rivet Joint and given we have no way to air to air refuel rivet joint due to the stupid refuelling contract!

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  lee1

The Main issue is there 10 years passed a update, and imagine the issue taking your 20 year old computer and asking PC WORLD to update it. Cheaper to buy new airframe. based on a 737 airframe.

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

Then you have to Ask NATO WHY IT CANNOT DO THIS, why does the UK have to provide assets to cover what over countries cannot. defend out islands,

Paul H
Paul H
4 months ago

Guy said there’s other ways of doing things. Will have to take him at his word and/or wait for the Review.

Mark F
Mark F
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul H

Yeah! Get your allies to do it for you and pay through the nose.

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago

Always been an odd bird, suffered from being a dead end design and procurement wise and the “insider” view effectively says they are fkd.

Having a capability requires continual investment in it, for such an orphan fleet that would be a disproportionate cost.

One hopes the UK has learnt.

Note the NATO AGS declared operating capability or something the other week. That might answer some questions as to the value of this.

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

That’s precisely the point ….. The fleet require a complete update to counter obsolescence, it was a shortsighted solution in the first place..

We would have been better buying JStar and operating them alongside the US in the same way as our RC135’s.

Parallel upgrade path with Uncle Sam paying the development costs…..

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Sounds logical but maybe not – we didnt do any upgrades with our E3s to the point they are being disposed of for a less capable and expensive replacement because they are now almost impossible to upgrade, not to mention in poor condition. Of course when we bought them we couldnt just buy what the US had, we had to “anglicise it” and take it away from the standard of US/NATO ones which is why the above happened… What we could have done was an A320 variant, in parallel to an MPA variant and shared the costs and sold them… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Less capable replacement, please explain?

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Morning Rogbob, I largely agree, but a European solution would never have been cheaper.

An A320 based solution for both GTR and Maritime patrol sounds reasonable and a good platform.

However, a duel track development wouldn’t have been possible in the time frame and an GTR radar aircraft would still have ended up as a bespoke solution across no more than 9 aircraft (France probably ordering less), coupled with the difficulty of the usual workshare bun fighting and political squabbling delays.

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Cheaper? Hard to tell, a lot of money went into (C)ASTOR from the early 90s and Sentinel took a lot to get it in service. Hence repeated cuts to its ground side. Hard to see why putting the radar in an A320 would be more expensive than what was done other than the trivial difference in airframe costs – integration ones being overhwelming there and as we know, a larger platfrom is just easier to do that in. Fleet size, its all “what if” speculation of course but the US was looking at a next gen JSTARS (ended up with… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

These ‘what if’ situations are always very interesting, so many variables….

Pushing forward, the only really affordable replacement for Sentinel is the GTR podded system for our P8’s, hopefully with a top up of the fleet to 12.

I can’t imagine it’s as capable as the Sentinel, but as part of the solution, it should fill the gap.

One thing’s for sure, Sentinel is on its last gasp anyway, systems obsolescence is dictating withdrawal, I would have been happier with the replacement at the very least ordered though!

Ho hum, mind the gap gentlemen!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

E3 is pretty hard work to keep going.

The older (UK) version required a lot of manual input.

the E7 will automate the workflows. Think changes in ATC procedures yes slips of paper are still there for emergencies but…….

So I wouldn’t count the chairs and equate that to capability.

Rogbob
Rogbob
3 months ago

AIUI the capability is still significantly less in the E7. Given the alternative is “nothing” the it’s probably good enough.

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

UKGovs doesn’t Like Airbus products. Voyager was a success but it was a protected contract. Airbus stop building planes faster than they build them. left with an obsolete airframe needing specialist works. Boeing will build you a B17 wing spar. 737 are ageless.

Rogbob
Rogbob
3 months ago
Reply to  Johan

What? Sorry but that’s nonsense. Voyager is a massive success as a platform (less said about PFI and associated issues the better) as everyone else has found with MRTTs. The B767 is only in USAF service due to pork barrel and politics, a poor technical choice which is why the competition had to be re-run on daftly biased lines for it to win. Ask B717 usesr what they think about Boeing support… A300/310 and 340s are still very well supported, ask a freight operator! B737 are not timeless but timed out, as the chaos with the MAX shows and how… Read more »

Mark F
Mark F
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

JSTAR is knackered to most of the fleet is grounded. Its the airframe and engine that are the problem.

Heidfirst
Heidfirst
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark F
Mark F
Mark F
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

When I was in the RAF a mate of mine who was involved with the project ( he was an air engineer ironically) said from the start the project was fighting the been counters. The first to go was AAR capability, okay you can live with that but heres the crux some project dude wanted the toilet system removed. With an aircraft of that design and you keep messing taking stuff out and putting stuff back in when the aircraft are being built such things as c&g become a constant head ache. Also what are you going to do if… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark F

I think all those things actually went because of the (growing) payload weight and the limitations of the airframe.

Hence why the comment upthread on Sentinel having 2000 more mile range than RJ is so wrong, it was a GX at the start, it is not one now.

I think the NATO AGS has in effect replaced it.

julian1
julian1
4 months ago

I remember when the old PR Canberras went – a small number with a unique capability – the oblique yet very detailed camera shots. We used them at the beginning of the Afghan conflict I think and they were retired almost the following day after their last sortie. That kicked up a real fuss but we replaced the capability on the Tornado GR4 – RAPTOR pod. I think the Canberras were soon forgotten. If we can buy a small number of extra P8s we should and plan to replicate the capability on that whilst being able to surge the MR… Read more »

Andrew
4 months ago
Reply to  julian1

There goes another capability gone for the UK

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

UK has other ISTAR assets to take up the slack, its a big like switching from wet film to digital. sents are creaking at the joins.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 months ago

All rather odd TBH.

I don’t know if anyone noticed that Bombardier file distribution system had been hacked and the radar CAD distributed online – article in The Register – I’ll try and post a link but that usually results in a very delayed post.

farouk
farouk
4 months ago

This is what I love about the British Government, happy to sell anything and everything in which to fund their John Lewis store card. F-ing traitors the lot of them

DaveNBC
DaveNBC
4 months ago

I’ve been following it in the Baltic area these last couple of weeks and I find it difficult to comprehend it is now obsolete. Our Rivet Joint has been there as well so is it to take over? It will presumably be more expensive to operate in the same way by some magnitude.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  DaveNBC

Different role. RC135 more of an ELINT / SIGINT bird not ground surveillance.

Jonathan
Jonathan
4 months ago

It’s a shame, but if they are old airframes that need a whole lot of investment to keep them airworthy, then the decision has to be made is that money better invested in something new. As one priminister said, their is no magic money tree and it’s a hard truth, you can only spend your money once and only to the limit the voting public are willing to accept and we don’t vote for governments that raise taxis…..

dan
dan
4 months ago

So crazy. Boris must be taking advice from Merkel these days. Ugh

Sean
Sean
4 months ago

Kit originally bought as a stop-gap measure that has provided good service but is now obsolete. Sensible decision.
Trying to upgrade them and keep them going would probably end up like another Nimrod MRA4 style debacle.

OldSchool
OldSchool
4 months ago
Reply to  Sean

I was just thinking the same….spooky LOL.

KPB
KPB
4 months ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Me too. I don’t see the point of scarce throwing time, effort and money into something that’s both obsolete and worn out. Especially when the replacement capability seems to be already lined up. A responsible decision, despite my habitual reluctance to seeing anything cut.

BB85
BB85
4 months ago
Reply to  KPB

What is the replacement?
UAV’s Poseidon?

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  Sean

its is so true, but people just see a cut in service. best way to describe these Aircraft is they are a 20 year old computer and you take it to PC World to get a new hard drive….. cheaper and better to buy a laptop. MOD drives everything into the ground we dont have Show ponies or Port Princess or Sunny weather cars….

Ron
Ron
4 months ago

If the tech is no longer front line capable, then why can’t we use them in areas of lower threat. Falklands and the Caribbean Seas come to mind, even useful in UN operations such as Mali. These aircraft are useful in terrain mapping and I think were given a maritime capability in 2015. It would leave the few E-7s and P-8s to carryout front line tasks. I am trying to understand how in 12 years the systems have become so out of date. I am sorry to see these useful platforms go.

Daveyb
Daveyb
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

It not the airframe, engines etc, but the radar and its mission control system. The issue lies with the components used to make the system. These components, circuit boards etc were made in the early 90’s, technology has moved on. Raytheon who manufacture the synthetic aperture radar/moving target indicator radar (SAR/MTI) Sentinel Dual Mode Radar (SDMR) stopped producing parts from around 2010. They could spin up reproducing parts but it will be at great cost. At the time it was introduced this radar was cutting edge. However, we can now do the same synthetic image production using smaller signal processing… Read more »

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

What I don’t get is what has changed in the targets it’s tracking. Ground warfare hasn’t really advanced much in the last 60 years and if it could track ground objects 15 years ago, why can’t it do it now? Yes tech to track stuff has improved and that would be nice to have, but the capaibltiy they brought 15 years ago hasn’t deteriorated. It’s not like new forms of ground stealth has been invented.

Advancrments in SAMs hasn’t really changed either. This type of plane would be easy picking 30 years ago and that hasn’t really changed.

DaveyB
DaveyB
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The radar is still very good at the job it does, so in that respect nothing has changed. What has significantly changed is the cost of maintenance of the radar and its backend system. This is the real driver why the aircraft are being”scrapped”!

Johan
Johan
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron

its a 20 year old design needed a system upgrade 10 years ago which was cancelled. how old is your computer ????

Daveyb
Daveyb
4 months ago

Not related, but in other news it has been officially announced the the RAF are looking at replacing Puma – finally!

UK reveals Puma replacement plan (janes.com)

They are keeping tight lipped about the requirement specifications, but they have only a few options if they want to buy off the shelf, or wait and see who wins the US Army’s future medium lift program. However, there is also the joint collaboration between Airbus and Leonardo which will be looking at a future NH90, EW101, Cougar replacement.

Ron
Ron
4 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Noticed that, it could be time for the RAF and RN to look at the same helicopter to replace Puma and Merlin as I think Merlin is planned to be replaced 2029-2030. I really do think that the Army Air Corp should have a say in what type of transport helicopter they need or want as it is troops that will be moved around the battlefield.

Mark F
Mark F
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

The Army does have a say. All they want is a rotary truck to get them from a to b and back. The argument is who ha the Fleet on their inventory.

Deep32
Deep32
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Likewise saw that post. Unfortunately I don’t think that you can getting a single type to replace both Puma and Merlin – while they may perform some of the same roles, the Merlin has some other roles, hence they are different sizes. Also the OSD are wide apart, Puma by 25, Merlin currently v2030, but widely expected to be pushed right to 2035ish. They are cutting it fine for a Puma replacement, so I would guess that it’s coming of the shelf, something like NH90 or AW149 perhaps. I think it’s likely the Merlin replacement will come from the US… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

As Mark says below, the Army through Joint Helicopter Command, do have a say. This is the reason why we aren’t a whole Chinook only force. As much as the Chinook is the best battlefield support helicopter, its one major failing is its size. This is quite a problem if you want to land on a building roof, or in a small wooded clearing etc. Puma is good for this role, even though the airframe is well past its sell by date. On paper, the NH90 would have been a good replacement, as it has about the same footprint, yet… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Blackhawk. Could have gone for that instead of Wildcat too.

It works.

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago

Spot on Daniele, Blackhawk/Seahawk would have been an excellent solution for all three services and saved a ‘huge’ amount of money by buying a proven off the shelf solution. Although integration of RN weapons onto Seahawk would have cost additional money, this would be offset by money saved with Blackhawk adoption by the RAF. Although Wildcat is clearly excellent for the Navy, no arguments from me there, it’s a very poor choice for the Army, with very limited ability in its utility roll. With regards to scouting, we could have bought additional AH64E’s for a bargain price, after all, the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Jobs for the boys mate.

Like you, I exclude the RN Wildcat.

Deep32
Deep32
4 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Can’t disagree with you, but it depends on timescales surely I would imagine. Is the US option going to be available before Puma OSD? If not the options decrease, buy off the shelf-likely, or gap capability-unlkely in my opinion.
It will be interesting to see what the AAC do for the Gazelle replacement which has a OSD ofv2023/4 I believe, cutting it even finer!

BB85
BB85
4 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

I cant see the US option being available until after 2030 and it would probably cost more than double an AW149. Just buy off the shelf until the tilt rotar options are proven and more affordable.

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Please god, an off the shelf solution, let’s not get involved in a euro fight for Puma replacement.

Fixed price contract on an existing and proven type, with Army given the type choice…. Really not rocket science, just watch them Fu*k it up though!

David Flandry
David Flandry
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

This is god. I try to keep out of these disputes and leave it to the MOD. But I keep getting complaints about that…

Deep32
Deep32
4 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Couldn’t agree more, just buy what’s needed, will last for some 15/20yrs. That buys time so we can then see what’s about. We should have taken this route instead of the Puma upgrade! I know, hindsight, absolutely wonderful!!.

john melling
john melling
4 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

I heard that AIRBUS is offering the H175 as a potential replacement

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  john melling

What ever route we go down, the helo needs to be maritime deployable, I still think a follow up order for Merlin HC4 to fill the RAF medium support requirements.

A total fleet of 50 of a single type is far more flexible than two fleets of 25, both needing an entirely seperate support network.

Who cares what squadron badge is on them, RAF/ FAA, what does it matter, we need the greatest possible flexibility from any new purchasing.

It brings increased maritime lift when needed and supports British jobs.

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Is Merlin still in production? I agree consolidate on types we have but Merlin needs investment really.

But anything would preferable to a Leonardo or Airbus warmed over civvy helo.

If ops have taught us anything, it needs to be robust and have ample space and capacity for all the armour, radios and defensive aids that Ops require.

I suspect the long rumoured MH47 and additional CH47F purchase with Puma replacement rolled into that for better or worse.

Mark F
Mark F
4 months ago

We now have RAF Space command the intention is to have low earth orbit satellites that can do the same job and stay up forever until shot down. Before anyone says they can’t see through cloud I’m sorry but they can.

dave12
dave12
4 months ago

So what happened to Boris promise to stop hollowing out the armed forces and invest in forces suitable for so called global Britain, I hope the rumors’ are just media hype ,but as one retired soviet general said , the UK has the best light infantry in the world and which he considered more a threat than nukes.

WillDbeest
WillDbeest
3 months ago
Reply to  dave12

Best to take BJ’s promises with a larger pinch of salt.

WillDbeest
WillDbeest
3 months ago
Reply to  WillDbeest

…or large even

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 months ago

Forced obsolescence through insufficient funding for entirely predictable maintenance costs, that is all. The ‘obsolete’ excuse has joined that other Gov/MOD’ subterfuge ‘get rid of equipment now and we’ll replace with like for like later- honest’.
Strange this ‘obsole……’ stuff gets utilised right up to the last minute, rather than having been mothballed for some time. Harriers? – still OK for the USA, Spain & Italy a decade after UK states they’re u/s, and not replaced by them until a valid modern equivalent is introduced.

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

It’s to do with systems obsolescence Gavin, many of the bespoke systems used in Sentinel are unavailable and out of production, so would require a major project to integrate new systems into the aircraft …

The net result would be extremely expensive and guess what, 10 year from now we would be in the same boat again.

We have to buy off the shelf systems to avoid this sort of very expensive gaff from happening again.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

OK, John, I’ll buy that explanation in this instance, cheers. Still seems that being strapped for cash does not stop us making ostensibly poor front end & back end investment decisions. Wonder if the conundrum revolves around trying to maintain a national capability, a worthy aim, whilst not being able to fund sufficient units to achieve cost effectivness.
Wonder if next month’s Review will in any way address the issue for the long term (or not so long if international relations continue their downward path – nothing like a war to solve the numbers issue!)

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

In the days when we had bespoke systems a whole army of people was directly employed to support each of them. That was fine in the days when people would work in an badly heated Nissan with a flickering fluorescent tube and a pittance for a salary on the promise of a decent pension and a career. But that doesn’t work now. The problem with the old model was that the team were doing make work and homers most of the time IRL they were **encouraged** to do homers. I’m not knocking what was done: it was very elegant and… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago

Absolutely, the very issue in a nutshell. I have somewhat of an overview of such things, not the detailed knowledge you obviously have but can certainly see the utter folly of such bespoke systems. They are massively expensive and very life limited by their very nature… The RC135 (and P8) procurement were both a massive step in the right direction, let uncle Sam spend the huge sums of money on development, he’s just happy to have a friend ready and able to share the workload. If we try and develop such systems domestically, we end up flat broke, with no… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

I meant to say, not in all circumstances, aviation wise, Team Tempest might just be a game changer here……

Mike
Mike
4 months ago

I must admit not realising how small the RAF was until I recently checked it. To me, of greater concern, is the proposal to lop another 10,000 of the army’s strength bringing it down to just 60,000! What sort of army is that? Hardly a wonder that the USA doubts the British will to continue to participate in world events. I just cannot understand how other similar sized countries seem to have much bigger armed forces for the money!

Paul42
Paul42
4 months ago

Same old story, we acquire an asset then fail to update and maintain it, choosing instead to scrap it without a replacement in sight. I note on the BBC article it states the work of these aircraft will be undertaken by the P8 Posiedon and forthcoming Protector. Janes Defence magazine also says they could be sold for re-use instead of scrapping?? Perhaps to help fund additional P8s with pods fitted?

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

These aircraft have been very heavily modified Paul, they won’t fly again, probably be parted out and scrapped, one for Cosford or Hendon perhaps???

Paul42
Paul42
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

I understood the aircraft are to be dismantled. As I stated, it is Janes who suggested possible sale for re-use, presumably in their current type of role, but I can’t see that happening.

David Flandry
David Flandry
4 months ago

This makes no sense at all.

Airborne
Airborne
4 months ago

Stand by troops! This is peanuts comapred to the destruction about to be wrought on our capability in the very close and up and coming Integrated defence review! Be prepared to see cuts cuts cuts, covered as “capability change” “new way of warfare” blah blah blah. Stnad by to lose any and most kinetic effect, combat effectiveness and our already limited ability to sustain losses in a hostile environ.

Mike
Mike
4 months ago

In the news today they are talking of getting rid of 14 Hercules transport planes, the last of them in the RAF, dispensing with more fighter aircraft, tanks and armoured vehicles in addition to getting rid of thousands of troops. What a joke! This will only amuse the pacifists and enemies.

WillDbeest
WillDbeest
3 months ago

Well these aircraft seem to have had a fairly substantial “key role” up until very recently. I’d be interested to know what the other ways are of completely fulfilling this particular role using one platform.

Yet another decision to regret further down the line I suspect.

David Flandry
David Flandry
3 months ago

Didn’t the RAF also retire the Super King Air aircraft that had some ISTAR functions?