British Sentinel Program Enters Flight Testing


Released on Tuesday, April 11, 2006
United Kingdom
E-3 Sentry
Global 6000
Nimrod R1
Sentinel R Mk 1
ASTOR - Airborne Stand-Off Radar
RAF - Royal Air Force
UK - United Kingdom
USA - United States of America
The new Sentinel R Mk1 aircraft has taken another major step forward in its testing program. The first Sentinel aircraft to be completed in the UK recently left Raytheon's Broughton facility in North Wales for Greenville, Texas, where it will join the U.S.-built aircraft to undertake formal flight testing.

The British aircraft will return in late spring to undertake further flight trials in the UK. The Sentinel R Mk1, based on a Bombardier Global Express business jet, will form part of the MOD's Airborne Stand Off Radar (ASTOR) system.

Based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, the aircraft will be operated by 5 Squadron, which has been re-formed for the purpose. The ASTOR Squadron will be able to operate at long distances, giving battlefield commanders accurate and up-to-date information about forces, infrastructure and vehicle movements.

The squadron was re-formed at Waddington on April 1, 2004, the fifth time it had been re-formed in its history. It is commanded by Wg Cdr Bill Hughes. During World War One, the squadron acted as a reconnaissance and air intelligence unit, a role to which it is now returning. Waddington is already home to the RAF's E-3D fleet (8 and 23 Squadrons) and the Nimrod R1 (51 Squadron).

The first ASTOR aircraft was modified and integrated in the USA while the remaining four Sentinels are being modified by Raytheon Systems Limited, the prime contractor, in the UK.

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