The Ministry of Defence claim that the aircraft is “now increasingly obsolescent and will face increasing reliability issues as time progresses” and will still leave service in March 2021, as originally planned.

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, 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.

Photo by Alan Radecki Akradecki. [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
The radar and mission system are now increasingly obsolescent and will face increasing reliability issues as time progresses. Retaining the capability would have required significant upgrade expenditure and the March 2021 out of service date has been retained.

No identical capability is operated by the UK (though similar capabilities exist in the NATO inventory). The UK does however have a number of other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities that collect different types of intelligence information, including long-range strategic assets (Sentry, Rivet Joint and Poseidon) and shorter-range more tactically-focused assets (including Shadow, Reaper and Watchkeeper).”

Photo by Alan Radecki Akradecki. [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
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.

The aircraft has been operationally deployed in support of operations in Afghanistan, Libya and Mali, and is currently deployed in support of British and Coalition operations in Iraq and Syria.

 

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Fen Tiger
Fen Tiger
4 months ago

Another one bites the dust!

Sean Crowley
Sean Crowley
4 months ago
Reply to  Fen Tiger

I have already stated on another article what i believe these thing were capable of , biting the dust will be poor old Tommy Atkins without the capability these Force multipliers contribute . Australia is buying 4 like Aircraft just right now but calling them Electronic Warfare surveillance , which will operate in conjunction with the Growlers , they literally look identical to these things .

Basra
Basra
4 months ago
Reply to  Sean Crowley

They may look identical but they are completely different, the Aussie aircraft are EW/ELINT Stand off jamming platforms and R1 is a land based reconnaissance aircraft. The P8 and even the E7 wedge-tail are far closer analogies to the R1.

Steve H
Steve H
4 months ago
Reply to  Fen Tiger

Indeed it does mate, this was a strange decision to even have these aircraft as the M.O.D knew it would be a gonner in a little over 10 years… but we all know that the bean counters in Whitehall have a lobotomy as soon as they start working there.
I suppose they’re waiting for the Wedge tail to enter service, but that’s to replace the E3 so I still can’t understand their logic.

Matt
Matt
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve H

Capability was lost with the retirement of Nimrod and these were probably a cheaper option than additional RC-135’s

Steve
Steve
4 months ago

What type of messed up procurement was that, buying something in 2008 knowing it would be obsolete a few years later.

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

It’s like buying a new car knowing the engine will need replacing soon!

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

You would have thought they would have done a deal with the manufacturer that included the upgrades in the purchase price, and so saved some money, but i guess they wanted to save money in the short term by not paying for the future upgrades and therefore ended up needing to pay more in the medium term.

Cj
Cj
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The main issue is that the system was designed in the late 1990’s and delivered in 2004/5. Thats 15 years of technology advancements which, due massively to poor osd decisions (2015 then 2018 then a long wait for the 2021 confirmation) have not been invested in for development, from a public finance point of view why would you given what was known about the program of record decisions. Sadly the aircraft needs to many upgrades at once, both green aircraft and mission system. With a price tag of 800 million to a billion to extend until 2035 the main argument… Read more »

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

It’s a complete lie is what it is.

It’s still the most advanced battlefield management radar out there. The radar was totally new in 2008, its an AESA, and was more advanced than the related radars on the U-2. The idea that 13 years after entry to service that it is now obsolete is laughable. It will be true that an upgrade would be required, but not to the degree the MoD is making out. This is a cut for money reasons, penny pinching, nothing to do with the platform.

dan
dan
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

The U2 is constantly being upgraded with new cameras, radars, ESM, ect. Btw the Sentinel and U2 have different missions.

Winston
Winston
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

I would argue that AAS on the P8A is in a whole different league now, so it isn’t the most advanced BM radar. But it is still highly capable.

John
John
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Totally agree

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

A typical British one Steve!

A ridiculous waste of bloody money it being canned so early.

It should be retained until a replacement is available via P8 podded equipment.

Looks like it’s simply going vto be withdrawn without replacement.

julian1
julian1
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

wasn’t it an “urgent operational requirement” based on withdrawal of the Nimrod R1 fleet? It’s lifespan was never considered long term in that respect. This decision is likely being made on the back of Poseidon and Wedgetail coming into service. Of course, additional airframes in either/both aircraft should be ordered to make up the numbers and additional tasking.

MarkJ
MarkJ
4 months ago
Reply to  julian1

No it wasn’t, Nimrod R1 was a completely different type of platform. Sentinel came from a late 80’s ? requirement to provide radar coverage of the battlefield, it’s the UK version of JSTARS. The project was called CASTOR or something similar, early studies used a BN Defender with a rather bulbus nose radar. As far as I know there is nothing in the UK inventory that has a similar capability.

Scott
Scott
4 months ago
Reply to  MarkJ

It was called ASTOR Airbourne Stand Off Radar

julian1
julian1
4 months ago
Reply to  MarkJ

ok, I missed that. I do remember it was rushed out and intro was within a similar timeline to R1 withdrawal

Steve H
Steve H
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

That’s the airhead decision makers and shakers for you….. sometimes I wonder how they even got a job in the civil service, I thought you have to be intelligent to do their job but I’m obviously wrong.

Peter E
Peter E
4 months ago

Podded sensors for Protector and HAPS are probably the way forward for battlefield surveillance. No sense in putting more people in the sky when S400 is proliferating.

Winston
Winston
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter E

Slow moving aircraft are not particularly suitable for wide area MTI

maurice10
maurice10
4 months ago

Dust biting will be a common theme going forward. How the hell is the UK treasury going to recoup all the COVID-19 monies? As I’ve said before, increasing taxes will only scratch the surface, and deeper government cuts will soon manifest themselves. This can only result in delayed procurement and pulling forward OFSD on many existing vehicles, planes, and ships?

Liam
Liam
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

The only real way to improve public finances is through real GDP growth and sensible taxation. There’s no need for defence cuts now and our economic growth depends on our ability to protect or trading routes. Leaving aside the any views on the sense of Brexit, it surely pushes the UK to spend more on defence rather than less.

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

GDP growth is very difficult to achieve, especially as we will be emerging out of the virus behind most of the rest of the world thanks to terrible leadership.

Tax is one of them double edged swords, with the massive debt from the virus the temptation is to up taxation, but that discourages firms to invest in the UK and so results in less tax revenue.

There is going to be no easy way out of this crisis.

Liam
Liam
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

I agree, to an extent. However, with China getting aggressive and the Iranians doing anything to cling to power defence spending is a national priority. It’s funny I love abroad and I hear people in the UK saying how badly it’s performed with C-19. Yet here exactly the same is beign said about our government. That’s what happens when clueless politicians run the show. To that point, C-19 and future viruses are a national security issue and I would like to see the armed forces getting more involved, subject to suitable constraints.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

How exactly can the armed forces get involved more? They already did more than was really necessary (and partly that was a result of classic being seen to do something, anything). Civil defence and resilience shouldn’t require the armed forces involvement, the medical resources within the NHS dwarf that of the military (most of whose medical personnel are reservists who work in the NHS full time).

Liam
Liam
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

The armed forces are experts at fast mobilisation, intelligence sharing, chemical and bio warfare, the list goes on. Whilst there has to be caution about the use of the military on home soil in peace time, those skills are worth applying in times of crisis. It might also help the armed forces hone their skills. In a similar way I have no objection to seeing a Chinook carrying sandbags for flood relief.

geoff
geoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

Hi Liam-do you live AND love abroad? 🙂 I also live abroad and same here in South Africa with all saying how useless are government have been over Covid. In reality I think most have performed much the same. Countries like NZ(No offence to the Kiwis) did well because they have a small, first world population but what to say of Sweden now with the highest death rate per million over the last few days? The worst aspect for me has been how little, Politicians understand the basics of how businesses run. ANY business, big or small is destroyed very… Read more »

Liam
Liam
4 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Call me Mr Typo. I agree with your thoughts on New Zealand: it’s a sparsely populated country that does not have the problem of dealing with things like thousands of people cramming into tube trains every day. If you just stand back and think about it for a moment, we entrust decisions to politicians. These days most politicians are uni grads who have not had a job outside politics. Interesting too, if you look at the deaths per million figures for France, the USA, UK, Italy etc are pretty similar. Belgium is a weird one mind you, it’s been really… Read more »

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

I think we should also be looking at new avenues of taxation. Never smoked it and never will but I think we should legalise cannabis; would bring in several billion to the economy, let alone keeping stoners here spending their money instead of going to Amsterdam! It’s worked in Canada and those US states that allow it.

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

How about getting china to cover some of the massive costs! If china didn’t let 4 Million people From Wuhan go on their holiday break a few months back all the wile knowing they have a very infectious virus on their hands all this wouldn’t have happened on this scale. All those people transferred the virus globaly to many nations, it’s like china wanted this to happen, and now they are trying to cover their tracks! Why the hell is it called “racist” to point this huge F up out!! It’s not, and it was a totaly chinese problem that… Read more »

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

You don’t really want to go down that route, as other countries would start pointing fingers at us, we took an age to close our borders. I don’t think any country is coming out of this well, everyone reacted badly and slowly with a few exceptions. Saying that hindsight is a great thing and who knows if we personally would have reacted any different if we had been in the place of the politicians facing something that no one really understood fully until it was too late.

Liam
Liam
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

I think there is plenty of evidence to suggest that China covered up the initial outbreak. Not only that there is clear evidence that whistleblowers have been disappeared. Frankly, and I include myself in this: the west has stood by and watched China behave disgracefully: Tibet, Hong Kong, the Uyghurs the list goes on. Sri Lanka’s experience with the Hambantota port should send shivers down anyone’s spine.

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

South China Sea? Creating their own islands! The lists massive, we the west just stand by because China makes our cheap goods!! Oh and makes money like no ones business, and illegally plays with its currency rates and worth!

dan
dan
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

Those islands fall at the feet of doing nothing Obama. Even the Chinese have said they couldn’t believe he did nothing when they started to construct them.

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  dan

Yeah it’s a dam crime! Imagine being the nations who actually have rights to that reef/island system!! It’s called the South China Sea but that doesn’t mean it’s chinese weirdly enough.

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

But we wouldn’t have got c-19 if china didn’t let the virus carrying wuhan population go on holiday and they should have stoped it right there.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

What do you think are the actual chances of getting the Chinese to pay for it?

Zero. They’re a superpower now, by some measures they have a larger economy than the US.

The best we’ll get is decreased reliance on China and increased on-shoring and a focus on UK manufacturing and sovereign capabilities.

But get anything, even an apology, from China? Forget about it.

J Peter Wilson
J Peter Wilson
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

One has to wonder with the Chinese now offering to invest in companies around the world, due to the economic problems COVID-19 has initiated, whether they allowed the virus to spread in order to help achieve their goal of economic expansion. After all, they don’t have a democratic electorate bitting at their government’s heals!

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  J Peter Wilson

It seriously is almost like china wanted this to happen, but who knows maybe they really didn’t know the scale of the original infections!, but Chinas hard to read they say one thing and do another. And They are slowly taking over the west with company’s being gobbled up like it’s a race, not to mention it’s take over of the developing world with new railways and roads that are deliberately hard to pay back locking those poor nations into doing business with China over their natural resources. I’m not anti China I’m just anti red Chinese government, and anti… Read more »

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Let’s hope we can make all the nhs protective gear from now on in the UK, surely its worth investing in. Yeah I can’t actually see china paying anything in monetary terms, but in terms of image and respect it’s lost a fair bit.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

Some will undoubtedly be on-shored. Guess what though…a lot of NHS PPE used to be made by Remploy, with factories at Springburn and Chesterfield, it was a government run business that provided jobs and training for the disabled, rather than chucking them on the dole…it was shutdown by the government as a cost saving measure a few years ago…

We’ll not get anywhere unless we stop that mindset. And its rooted deep in the values of our political class.

They know the price of everything, but the value of nothing…

WeeWill
WeeWill
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Hear hear. We’re currently living what happens when ideology gets in the way of good decisions. And the ‘small government at all costs, the free market is better for everything’ ideology is still pervasive and results in the above. Just like it results in underfunding HMRC, meaning tens of billions of owed tax isn’t collected – That would certainly make the decision to leave taxes alone easier and more palatable to those calling for tax increases.

Paul T
Paul T
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

In my Job,using PPE for the past two months or so ,ive not found anything labled that isn’t made in or connected to China in some way.

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

On the “Engineer” website, they said a corner of a Honeywell factory in the UK, is now making 70 million face masks.

dan
dan
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

The US should just cancel it’s debt that China holds. That would be a good start. I don’t believe for a second that this pandemic started from some villager eating a bat or snake or whatever. Just makes no sense. Especially the way China attempted to cover it all up by killing the doctor that discovered the outbreak, ect.

ajsw6
ajsw6
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam

Exactly. Unfortunately the nearest like for like capability replacement is likely to be purchasing more P8A and fitting them with LSRS ventral radar array. That is provided LSRS moves beyond the test stage though. More broadly, the country cannot handle yet more austerity, borrowing to invest and across the board tax increases, with proportionately higher contributions higher earners will be the way forward.

Meirion X
Meirion X
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

As I have said before, No amount of austerity is going to recoup Covid19 costs!
Just like Post WW2 austerity would not have had recouped WW2 costs.

Sean
Sean
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Investors are currently paying the government to take their money, negatives yields on 5 year U.K. Government Bonds.
When people are paying you to hold their money, because they think your safe compared to the other options, the scale of debt becomes irrelevant. Unlike 2008 every government is coming out of this with huge debts, they’ll all just carry them indefinitely.

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Fully agree Sean, The debt will be enormous, austerity won’t even touch the edges,it’s so big. The answer, is to stick to the election promises made of sustainable year on year investment in infrastructure projects etc. I do wish people would stop knocking the government over their handling of Covid19, they are doing their best … It’s the age old British issue again of attacking ourselves, who needs enemies when we have the great British public to put the boot in with glee….. Imagine if Grandpa Coybin and Labour were in charge people, what a laughable shit show of headless… Read more »

Sean
Sean
4 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

We Brits do seem to have lost all faith in ourselves these days and drown in a sea of cynicism, self-loathing and pessimism. Or at least a large chunk of the middle-class have.

Most working class still seem as level-headed and as patriotic as even. Which explains various ballot box results these last few years.
The most important asset that we’ll need in the next few years will be self-belief.

John Clark
John Clark
4 months ago
Reply to  Sean

From what we are seeing here, it looks very much like they have no intention of replacing the Sentinel, I am sure we will be told the F35B can do job with its box of avionic tricks…. So, Sentinel first, who wants to put a bet on that Challenger 2 is next on the chopping block. I can here it now, ” With the fantastic AH64E and Brimstone, we no longer need Tanks” A short break to sharpen the meat cleaver and look at Albion and Bulwark …. ” Our shiney new Commando raiding force no longer need great big… Read more »

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Talking of ww2 costs, how about we ask Germany for our ww2 reparations money? We let Germany off with that money but Germany paid many other nations but we were fine with it not being paid! And all the wile we British paid our very rich Allie USA back “IN FULL” and only finished paying them back recently. We should have got italy and Germany to pay war reparations as the war almost bankrupting us!..

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

You have to look at history for the reason behind that. The massive repayment costs that was being paid by Germany after WW1 ultimately caused WW2.

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Not quite Steve, although reparations was an issue when the economic slump began to bite in 1931, Germany suspended paying them that year and cancelled them altogether in 1932!

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

“The massive repayment costs that was being paid by Germany after WW1 ultimately caused WW2.” Germany paid no significant reparations after World War One. France invaded the Saarland in 1923 to try to force Germany to pay up but no significant sums travelled west ever. By 1925 Germany was producing more iron and steel than Britain and France combined. Weimar was prosperous. The Wall Street Crash ended that period of rather shaky democracy in a never very democratic country. The cause of WWII was Hitler’s desire shared by almost all Germans to avenge their defeat in 1918. It was Hitler’s… Read more »

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Hi Barry, the French already controlled the Saar and its coal fields until it could re-establish its own in northern France. This temporary occupation of German territory was mandated by the Versailles settlement. I think you will find that it was the demilitarised Rhineland (the industrial heartland of Germany) that the French occupied in order to force reparations. They had been suspended due to the dire economic situation and chronic hyperinflation amongst other politically motivated reasons. It was Stresemann and Schacht that brought the economy back on track with the introduction of the Rentenmark.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Thank you. However, there was no significant reparations paid despite this occupation, the essential point. It is often claimed the Versailles Treaties led to German suffering and therefore the revenge motive is underpinned by an injustice. This doesn’t stand up. Germany needed a Hitler for existential reasons and found one; it had no feasible war aims beyond a sort of Wagnerian fulfilment. In the ordinary course of things Germany at peace after 1919 would have assumed greater and greater economic importance without war. But in 1864 the die was cast – perhaps even earlier – and century in which Germany… Read more »

geoff
geoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

Good point about reparations Cam. Germany and Japan were assisted enormously to rebuild their economy with Germany even up to now, having their Defence needs propped up by the USA and UK in particular

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  geoff

It’s like they won the war Geoff lol

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Hi Geoff US Marshall Aid, also known as the European Recovery Program, was offered to most European countries from 1948 ton 1951 onwards. Britain got about $3.2 billion out of a total of $12 eventually handed out….more than twice as much as Germany got.

geoff
geoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Thanks for info Herodotus. Punishing reparations are of course, a bad idea-thinking of Germany in WW1

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Yes, the French were more insistent than the British on this. Whilst Lloyd-George was supportive in public, in private he thought they would be counter-productive. The question of scale of reparations has also been exaggerated. Many historians have argued that they were well within the capacity of the German economy. I think they amounted to around 11% of the GDP of Germany post-war. Something like the sort of figure the NHS is to the British economy pre-Covid. Not insubstantial by any means, but not crushingly so.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

The 3.7 billion paid interest on the 75 billion Great Britain owed in 1945. The only country to fight on every day of the Second World War paid for it. The final payment on war loans was made in 2006. When Keynes asked his American counterparts if they intended to treat Great Britain no more favourably in the matter loans and debt forgiveness than a small Balkan state, the answer was ‘Yes.’ A poll post war asking American public opinion on debt forgiveness was 61 per cent against.

Ron
Ron
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

Cam, how to get you even more annoyed, Russia and France still owe the UK lots of money. Russia from WW1 when we sent gold shipments over to keep the country in the war. Instead the Communist paid Germany with it to end their part in WW1 and when the UK asked for it back the answer was you lent it to Tsarist Russia not to Communist Russia so not our problem. I think it was about £130 million in gold. As for France it is for WW2 where we took out loans for the French and latter Free French… Read more »

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Wow! Learnt something new today, cheers mate.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

All true. The Maud Report (1941) alone was war winner and showed how to make a viable nuclear weapon, something the Nazi team comprising of absolutely top rate minds, never got right. The 1940 ‘Black box’ sent to the U.S.A. contained information and technology beyond price. As an aside, memoirs can be most informative. Noel Coward and David Niven as British ‘agents of influence’ both record the staggering anti-British attitudes in the U.S. (besides Jews in the entertainment industry) prior to Pearl Harbor. Robert Mitchum. not yet a great actor had briefly a job at Lockheed. “Plenty of work” he… Read more »

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Even cuts the likes of which George Osborne implemented would barely make a scratch on the debt. It has to be done another way; sustained economic growth and rising tax on those who can afford to pay more.

The MoD has little left it can give. It’s already been cit to the bone, any further cuts are breaking said bone open and sucking out the marrow!

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

I agree Steve R, the UK is already under strength from where a key cornerstone of Nato should be. And now losing one of our great ability’s is just wrong! ISTAR is an area where Britain is among the leaders and we shouldn’t lose a 5th of our total fleetI hope we either get a replacement or save and upgrade, it won’t be the first turnaround if they do keep and upgrade, doubtful though! I bet they are itching to save money.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  Cam

If the war in Afghanistan was still raging, and we still had 10k British troops in theatre, then the need for ASTOR would continue. But with (thankfully) that operation has now come to an end, other than a training role, the MOD sees little need for the R1 fleet, or that the capability can’t be covered by UAV in the future. and the new P8 and P7 wedgtail might also expand into that area.

Ron
Ron
4 months ago

A bit confussed on the one hand government is saying the system is facing obsolecence and on the other the RAF is saying the most advaced system in the world at this moment. Which one is it? It cannot go from the most advace system to obsolete in 9 months.

Joshua Rieser
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

My thoughts exactly!

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

That quote is from the RAF website; updated once every ten years! Updating is clearly a serial problem for the MOD!

Sean
Sean
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Technical term is a cobweb. Usually because a website has its content all coded in, rather than using a content management system.

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Sean

I’ll take your word for it Sean. You could write what I know about programming and websites on the back of an LED 🙂

geoff
geoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

..or on the back of a packet of Woodbines?

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  geoff

My village store used to sell Woodbines 2 at a time in a paper bag. I think you could also buy them in packet of 5! Lung Cancer back then was a sign of affluence!

geoff
geoff
4 months ago
Reply to  Sean

The perfect example of that was the Carrier Alliance’s website which gathered cobwebs very quickly. I gave up very early on trying to get updates on the QEC programme from them!!

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

It is the most advanced system, more advanced than the US J-Stars which is still in service after first starting operations in 1991….

It’s a cut, plain and simple. It does need an upgrade, but a fairly minor one. At the same time it is a unique and exquisite capability, as a result Raytheon have us over a barrel, but at the same time I would have thought they would rather have some money than none so wouldn’t have rinsed the RAF if it was put to them.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

The US canceled its JSTARs replacement program after it decided that JSTARS airplanes were too vulnerable on the modern battlefield and is planning to replace them with a network of space and air sensors. It sounds quite complicated and whether it will be effective is another matter. What is significant is that the US decided that JSTARS was no longer a viable system.

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
4 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

I read somewhere that the USAF was fed up paying for JSTARS, but the US Army was requesting its services all the time. I suspect it is a victim of inter service bickering.

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
4 months ago

The MOD statement sounds a lot like the one on Nimrod MR4 did back then. Other ISTAR assets and NATO allies will fill in. Bulls**t! This is criminally disgusting. This capability is critical and the French have thanked us a hundred times for the support Sentinel has given from time to time in the Sahel. This is also like Sentry – a lack of adequate investment to keep the asset up to date and postpone redundancy issues means that support costs sky rocket and maintenance of the capability becomes uneconomical. Like Nimrod and Sentry, we’ll be ultimately forced to spend… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago

Sound like you have all the answers, better get a job down Whitehall. We are replacing Sentry with E7’s because its cheaper then updating a 35 year old design, and if we still had thousands of troops fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq we would probably keep it, but we don’t, and it’s capability will be replaced with new systems. Probably a combination of Satellite, UCAV’s, and P8/P7 capability. The Americans aren’t replacing the aging JSTARS aircraft for the same reasons, which does the same job as our R1’s.

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Hi Rob. Let’s take it one at a time. I did work in Whitehall for a while and a career in the Defence industry all my life, till retirement, after short-service in the RN. We’re not talking of Sentry, we’re talking of Sentinel. Sentry is much older and Wedgetail is a good if overdue replacement. However, we’re down to 5 Sentry and it costs a bomb to maintain because we didn’t invest in maintaining it up to date together with the US and NATO Europe. Looks like we’re making same mistake with Sentinel. We don’t have thousands of troops fighting… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago

I did mean the Sentinel R1, not the Airseeker R1, easy mistake though.

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago

Is this another case of retiring without having a working replacement in place, ala Nimrod and Tornado GR4?

ETH
ETH
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

And the harrier, the old carriers, almost the harpoon AshM… the list goes on.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  ETH

We now have F35 in growing numbers, and 2 fantastic 65k tonne carrier’s, so it has been worth the wait.

ETH
ETH
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Yep, the 10 year wait with no carriers between that.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  ETH

We survived though didn’t we, so you could say the government got it right.

ETH
ETH
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Ofcourse we ‘survived’. Though what if the same thing had happened in the late 70s. Then the Falklands happens and we are in between carrier designs with a 10 year gap.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  ETH

But it didn’t happen, and now we have two wonderful aircraft carriers, believe it or not, British Intelligence is very effective at judging the threats we may have to defend against over a given period.

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Haha. Just like they spotted 1982 or 1990 or 2001 or covid-19?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  JohnHartley

Easy for us experts sat safe at home to say that now isn’t it.

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Complacency is the biggest threat. Rumsfeld, not my fave person, but he was right to warn of the known unknowns & the unknown unknowns.
Hey, if I knew what would happen, I would win the lottery every week.
British Intelligence is not James Bond or even Johnny English. More like the Brittas Empire.

David Barry
David Barry
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Please spare me! British Intel is not effective at assessing the state of Govt! Or the ways Govt will act!

1982?
Becoming involved in Bosnia way too late?
Not sopporting Gen Rose in blunting the Serbs?
GW11?

Heavens, COVID 19 was flagged in the Economist on Jan 16th but took Govt by surprise…

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Everyone’s an expert sat in the safety of there home eh David when you don’tgave to make the difficultdecisions. . Hindsight is a lovely thing.

David Barry
David Barry
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

What are you bluffing about? I called out to a Latvian medical team mid January, I’m a teacher not a highly paid bureaucrat. No hindsight from this call sign.

WLBjork
WLBjork
4 months ago
Reply to  ETH

Technically, the Invincible class were through-deck cruisers as the RN were not allowed carriers due to the RAF managing to knock a few thousand kilometres (and thus hours of travel time) off distances from various bases. Had they not pulled those shenanigans, I feel we would have seen escort or fleet carriers in the 1980s operating Hornets armed with medium range Sparrowhawk missiles offering much better defensive capabilities than Harriers with short-ranged Sidewinders. Add to that the failings of the Sea Wolf and Sea Dart systems in the Falklands, and realise just how many lives were lost due to political… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Typhoon now has Tornado capability and much more.

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

It does but we still scrapped multiple squadrons of Typhoons since 2010 and haven’t replaced them with anything. 4 squadrons of F35s will eventually replace what, 6 squadrons of Tornados and 3 of Harriers, half the former and all the latter were scrapped 10 years ago with nothing to replace for almost a decade. Even then, we have a single operational squadron to replace several dozen retired aircraft.

No matter how much more capable Typhoon is it cannot be in 2 places at once and we have no depth in our numbers.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

But our capability today, is far superior then what we had a few years ago, 1 Typhoon can do the job of 3 Tornados. The numbers are to few, yes, but better to have a first rate capability, then more numbers that are largely un- usable in the real world. But let’s not forget, that the cost of modern defence equipment has increased massively over the years, Unfortunately, just like the NHS, the MOD can’t just be a bottomless pit of tax payers money. And no numbers of Typhoons or Frigates have stopped COVID-19, or potential cyber attacks. Maybe those… Read more »

Steve R
Steve R
4 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Can a single Typhoon really do the job of 3 Tornado GR4s? It can’t carry 3 times the weaponry or fuel. And as a single airframe compared to 3 it would wear down and use up its service life 3 times faster.

Graham
Graham
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

A Typhoon can’t be in three places at one time and if it’s taken out by then you have the equivalent of zero GR4’s with one missile. Numbers matter, you need a critical mass and unless we’ve got sufficient Typhoons you’ve lost capability.

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham

Yup & what happened to the conformal fuel tanks that were supposed to be on tranche 3 Typhoon? An aircraft is useless if it lacks the range to reach its objective.

Herodotus
4 months ago

I remember that New Labour’s theme song was ‘things can only get better’! Can anyone think of a suitable song for the MOD at the moment!

Rudeboy
Rudeboy
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Can we all put to bed the idea that the Conservatives are better for defence as well? Because its always been a lie (please note I’m not saying a Corbyn government would have been a good idea, it was clearly a dreadful idea as well). But have we ever seen a government less interested in defence than the Conservative government of 2010 onwards? Historically the 5 worst defence reviews that have cut the forces to the bone have all happened under Conservative governments (1957 Defence White Paper, 1981 Nott Defence Review, 1992 Options for Change, 2010 SDSR and 2015 SDSR).… Read more »

Cam
Cam
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

It hurts to look back and see what huge fleets, Air Force, Army we had and what was all cut….granted we have the biggest ever in size aircraft carriers, attack submarines, nuclear balistic submarines being built, biggest ever destroyers, and now biggest ever frigates, biggest ever opvs?, anyway we have so few and numbers is the problem with the navy.

Paul C
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

I agree that the Tories have a very poor record on defence but Labour are also let off lightly. The 1966 review (Healey) was absolutely brutal, more cuts following with the 1975 (Mason) review. SDR 1998 was on the surface far more positive but not really followed through from 2001 onwards. The MoD was clearly in deep trouble by 2003/4 as a result of a cash flow crisis and the slow-motion car crash of Iraq and Afghanistan. A revolving door of defence secretaries who never got to grips with the underlying issues no doubt contributed to the situation. The often… Read more »

David
David
4 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

I agree Rudeboy – especially 2010 when Osborne quietly moved the nuclear deterrent from the Treasury to the MoD so that it now takes up 8-10% of the defence budget. We are also acutely aware of the ‘fudging’ of the numbers to meet the Nato 2%. Further, we all know that 2015 SDSR never was – and still isn’t – fully funded. Who knows what the next defence review will hold and I think our beloved politicians will level any cuts squarely at the feet of C-19 – conveniently if you ask me. When the dust settles after C-19, I… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Off the top of my head Herodotus, this one seems apt.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I8-CbJYGMA

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Excellent….they don’t write them like that anymore! Hang on….perhaps this crisis will stimulate a new era in music. One where the lyrics are understandable. A bit hypocritical of me as an opera lover…can hardly understand the words without the libretto!

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
4 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

“Head above water” sung by Clive Griffin

Mark F
Mark F
4 months ago

Delay,skimp,scrap, repeat. You couldn’t make it up. I remember when this project was in development I was talking to a chap from Raytheon she told me that the MOD were already looking for savings refueling probe gone and yes get rid of the toilet system and replace with a porta potty just for starters. That is penny pinching but to buy a platform with no built in redundancy? Surely some faceless bureaucrat got a promotion out of it.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark F

Politicians decide the budget and resources, the bureaucrat just enacts the best they can. We decide which Politicians get in power. Let’s start putting responsibility where it sits, with the electorate and the leaders they support and stop blaming bureaucrats.

Mark F
Mark F
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I’ve worked in the uk defence sector long enough to know what I’m talking about. Bureaucrats are utterly useless especially when they know not what they are doing or talking about. Politicians spin, industry bosses rub their hands and bureaucrats use graphs,charts and stats to muddy the water, result!!!! Costs go up, delays and then cuts.
The electorate become ignorant of the real cost.

Helions
Helions
4 months ago

The USAF isn’t going to replace its version either. The E8 has gotten too vulnerable to operate in its effective envelope…

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/07/24/jstars-recap-is-officially-dead/

Cheers

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

Thanks for posting. A lot of emotion in the comments so I wonder how many will read what you posted; they should. While the reasons for holding to the OSD detailed in the article may be dubious, its accurate that the R1 platform is increasingly obsolete in the context of operating such an aircraft anywhere near a battlefield with a peer adversary. The MoD can’t really say “we are taking this platform out of service because Russia would shoot it out of the sky’s in any potential conflict” but that’s the reality. And its a gold plated capability against insurgents… Read more »

Helions
Helions
4 months ago

There is a rapidly dawning realization on this side of the Pond that or force composition is not adequate for meeting the challenges of peer warfare (China). The tapdancing IRT “future force reviews”, “fleet composition studies”, and “the role of UAVs” is just cover for a frantic attempt to fill gaping capabilities shortfalls and catch up with modern technologies and developments while not admitting we’ve fallen far behind the Chinese and Russian militaries in many critical areas. Always fighting the last war… Here’s a good idea whose time has come IMHO… https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/us-navys-new-secret-weapon-heavily-armed-missile-corvettes-60982 Our LCS should also fulfill this type of… Read more »

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

The insurgency wars really have done a number on being adequately prepared to counter peers. Its compounded by changing dynamics that put large surface combatants under threat, in a way that hasn’t been the case for almost 3/4 of a century. As a component of that it seems navies will have to increasingly operate under the assumption of continuous satellite observation, using a mix of satellite assets including proliferating LEO platforms. Makes me wonder about survivability of those large and slow ship carriers in the article you linked.

Helions
Helions
4 months ago

I don’t completely support the thesis of the author although I do support the idea of small, fast, heavily armed combatants playing hide and seek with the enemy. The force would obviously require a tender to support them but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a large slow surface unit going in harms way. the larger vessel could stay back in safety as a supply and maintenance depot much as they did in WWII. The actual combat logistics resupply ships could also be small and fast such as a modified Independence class LCS for example. They are large enough to… Read more »

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

I guess these ships could certainly operate around and get lost in the islands of Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and the Solomons. A doctrine of fast, agile, powerful assets empowered to take initiative in such an environment would seem to be a way to help disrupt a potentially slow to react/adapt, heavily hierarchical, PLAN structure. In some ways not dissimilar to the Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish fast coastal ships for the Fjords and the Baltic islands.

Helions
Helions
4 months ago
Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago

Well said mate, someone with common sense.

Will
Will
4 months ago

Scrap Sentinel if and when there is a concrete plan and budget for replacing this valuable capability, not before. So that would be in about 10 years time, if ever.

Mike Saul
Mike Saul
4 months ago

This is happens when you develop and introduce bespoke equipment with no international partners or export orders, it’s too bloody expensive to operate and upgrade given the rapid advances in information technology, both hardware and software.

The UK MOD needs affordable and capable equipment that is sustainable.

geoff
geoff
4 months ago

Thanks Herodotus, Cam and Liam for comments. I tried to reply but the Moderator told me I was commenting too quickly!! Cheers Gents

Herodotus
4 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Yeah, I had one of those the other day….sent for moderation it said…and never appeared again. And it wasn’t rude in any way…honest!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago

“The UK does however have a number of other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities that collect different types of intelligence information, including long-range strategic assets (Sentry, Rivet Joint and Poseidon) and shorter-range more tactically-focused assets (including Shadow, Reaper and Watchkeeper).” Not one of which provides this capability, except maybe Reaper? Apart from the US JSTARS, does anyone else have such systems? No doubt the army’s infantry battalions in 1 Div will endure, with no combat or combat service support whatsoever. Cuts like this, though not unexpected as its been on the block for years, are in the same areas of… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
4 months ago

Is it lunacy though? The reasons given might be spurious but as others have observed the US is dropping JSTARS too. These platforms are great against non-peer insurgencies but against a peer they would probably be shot down long before they could ever get close enough to a battlefield, for long enough, to be able to adequately observe ground forces. This of course raises the question of why Australia seems to be purchasing a similar system. I suspect the use cases are different. Australia is likely to want to use it as a defensive asset should they ever have to… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago

Morning GHF. I hear what you’re suggesting.

But you could also take that concept to large chunks of the UK armed forces. Most of the British Army in its current state can not stand up against Russian firepower or most likely anyone else’s, given it’s lack of armour, firepower, and artillery.

Let’s scrap the lot!

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
4 months ago

The RAF and RN aren’t doing too badly in my view, although developments in LEO satellites and hypersonics are going to challenge the RN, as is also reflected in the recent USN comments around large surface ships. The UK’s approach to future amphibious capabilities in this context vs. a tier 1 adversary will take some thought. The Army is definitely challenged in pulling together a cohesive strategy and equipment plan.

Always Right
Always Right
3 months ago

The British Army has superior armour and artillery to the Russians you idiot not to mention far better-trained infantry forces. 120,000 British Regular and Army Reserve against 200,000 Russian Active Troops and 150,000 teenage conscripts, yeah totally can’t stand up to that.

“or most likely anyone else’s”

Like who? China? All our NATO partners that our forces completely outclass on training manoeuvers?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Always Right

“The British Army has superior armour and artillery to the Russians” I disagree. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britain-war-russia-artillery-weapons-shortage-rusi-report-a9219776.html https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2019/11/27/british-army-needs-bigger-guns-study-finds/ Do any Google Search “british army artillery outgunned” and you will get hundreds of hits. Even the RUSI are concerned, if you even know who they are… Idiot. Do tell me more about the British Army’s superior Tanks ( 2 Regiments ) Armour ( 4 Regiments of 1970’s CVRT ) and Artillery ( 2 AS90 Regiments, out ranged and out gunned, 1 GMLRS Regiment / 4 Light Gun Regiments ( Out ranged, fine used for 3 Cdo and 16AA, those of 3 RHA and 4… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago
Reply to  Always Right

Always Right – ‘The British Army has superior Armour and Artillery to the Russians ‘ ,are you being serious ?

Steve
Steve
4 months ago

I just the last few months NATO has introduced the first RQ-4D Global Hawks with the equivalent capability as the Sentinel:
https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_48892.htm
Surely as part of NATO UK can access this capability – why have duplicated capaility when its replacement is supplied by the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS)?

David
David
4 months ago

This is all about funding shortages, the obsolescence pint is a typical red herring.

julian1
julian1
4 months ago

Interesting that the decision is made to scrap Sentinel when it is only 13 years old and seen a lot of use. We have run Sentry for 30 years when it has been totally obsolete for the past 10 years and seen very little use. Why take a capability holiday with Sentinel and not Sentry? Perhaps they should have scrapped Sentry 10 years ago. NATO has updated E3s, we could have contributed to those in the short term rather than plough money into those. The mind boggles.

Longtime
Longtime
4 months ago
Reply to  julian1

Julian our E-3Ds are C models with CFM56 engines same as the French E-3Fs. NATOs are E-3As upgraded. Our problem was that we ordered C’s whilst NATO ordered A’s and have periodically upgrade to a mix of B (training squadron) and C’s and now I think they’ve started G model upgrade program. We have had the ‘better’ ones from the outset so they’ve been pounded covering our training deployments, our NATO E-3D obligations and then we bolstered the NATO fleet with the french Air Force whilst some of the NATO aircraft received their upgrades in batches with US aircraft to… Read more »

Stuart winstanley
Stuart winstanley
4 months ago

Once again the Mod fall short of a full upgrade of another RAF aircraft which is now being retired to early. Anyone remember the fiasco with the E3D Sentry which has now probably cost more the replace than upgrade.

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
4 months ago

Well if the last 40 years are anything to go by, as soon as we scrap a system, saying we no longer need it, along will come a crisis where it would have been handy.

dusty rhodes
dusty rhodes
4 months ago

Wonder what the real reason they are getting rid of them. The same happenend with the harriers.

Simon m
Simon m
4 months ago

I find it rather strange to actually announce this prior to the defence review? Surely a decision should be taken regarding a capability such as this in the context of such a review? I find it puzzling the capability is always on the chopping block. I don’t believe the aircraft itself is expensive to run? It doesn’t look that manpower intensive? It’s an aesa radar isn’t it? I thought they were supposedly lowish maintenance? Is the sensor still running in the U2? If so not a parts issue and a doubt over obsolescence of a least the main sensor? One… Read more »

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
4 months ago

Nonsense.

Simon m
Simon m
4 months ago

Raytheon are supporting ASAR 2A until 2024 and developing ASAR 2B. So if sentinel is based upon this radar the main sensor doesn’t look an issue from a capability stand point. I am starting to agree with rudeboy looking like a complete lie. Just pennies but again why is the RAF/MOD allowed to announce prior to the review? Does this government know what it is doing at all!?

John
John
4 months ago

If it’s the most advanced aircraft of it’s type in the world why the hell are we scrapping it stupid policy and politicians always about money in this country stop underfunding the British military how about giving less away to other countries and big military dinners

Chog1010
Chog1010
4 months ago

It’s the Nimrod saga all over AGAIN! 😠

Alex W
4 months ago

First time commenter here, be nice. Leaving the EU is having a huge impact on defence spending due to its effect on the foreign exchange rates. We buy billions worth of kit from the US which now costs us 15 to 20% more than it did in 2016. This is a major reason why defence cuts will be required. Developing UK unique equipment is not the answer – as someone else has already commented, Sentinel is an example of the unaffordability of bespoke equipment. There is a big difference between obsolete and obsolescence. The Sentinel capability may not be obsolete… Read more »

Graham
Graham
4 months ago

Utter nonsense, a cost cutting exercise dressed up as obsolescence to spare their blushes.

Herodotus
4 months ago

It would seem that a large section of contributions has gone missing from this topic. None were offensive in any way, but discussions about past events …. perhaps somewhat off topic, but interesting none-the-less.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
4 months ago

Let’s be honest guys, you can create global havoc with a virus, potentially shut down economy’s with cyber attacks to our critical infrastructure, maybe that’s what we should be spending our money on to defend against, rather then loosing our shit over numbers of Frigates and un-proven fictitious hypersonic missiles ect, and equipment to fight an insurgency war like the R1.

dan
dan
4 months ago

As the Brits spend more and more for “social” programs their defense budgets will continue to shrink.

Always Right
Always Right
3 months ago
Reply to  dan

Our “defense” budget isn’t shrinking in any way you retarded septic.

Stuart Wallace
Stuart Wallace
2 months ago

Disbandment of 5 Sqn anything to do with freeing up space at RAF Waddington for the Red Arrows? Just a cynical thought.