Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

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SKB
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Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

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The Raytheon Sentinel is an airborne battlefield and ground surveillance aircraft operated by the Royal Air Force. Based on the Bombardier Global Express ultra long range business jet, it was adapted by Raytheon to meet the RAF's requirements. Originally known as the ASTOR (Airborne STand-Off Radar) programme the aircraft is operated by a RAF squadron manned by both air force and army personnel. The Sentinel is interoperable with other allied systems such as JSTARS and the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system.

In 2010 the UK Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government's Strategic Defence and Security Review announced its intention to "withdraw the Sentinel airborne ground surveillance aircraft once it is no longer required to support operations in Afghanistan." Sentinel has supported the British Army in Afghanistan. One Sentinel aircraft was deployed to assist French forces in Mali on 25 January 2013. The 2010 decision was reversed in 2014 by Prime Minister David Cameron. It will remain in RAF service until at least 2018.

Design and development
ASTOR has its roots in the British Army's Corps Airborne Stand-Off Radar (CASTOR) programme which in 1984 modified a Britten-Norman Islander (G-DLRA/ZG989) with a large nose radome for battlefield surveillance. Gulf War 1 confirmed the requirement for such an aircraft, but the end of the Cold War made funding difficult. The production contract was signed in December 1999 with a projected in-service date of 2005.

The first flight of the modified prototype was in August 2001, which validated the modifications required for the ASTOR system. The first production Sentinel R1 made its 4.4-hour maiden flight on 26 May 2004. The aircraft entered operational service with V (Army Co-operation) Squadron of the Royal Air Force based at RAF Waddington and flew its first operational sortie in Afghanistan in February 2009.

The Sentinel R1 is a modified Bombardier Global Express powered by two Rolls-Royce BR700 turbofan engines, which would also have been used in the cancelled Nimrod MRA4. The programme involved five aircraft and eight mobile ground stations (six on wheeled all terrain vehicles and two in air transportable containers), and a training facility at RAF Waddington. The programme cost £850m, as budgeted. The support contract is for 3200 flying hours per year and between 2015–18 the fleet of five aircraft will have average running costs of £54.4m/year.

The Sentinel cockpit has a centrally housed, pull-down screen capable of displaying a moving map, Link 16 datalink information and defensive aids subsystem (DASS) data. The DASS comprises a towed radar decoy, missile approach warning system and chaff and flare dispensers and can be operated in automatic, semi-automatic or manual mode.

The aircraft normally operates at over 40,000 feet (12,000 m) to ensure a high resolution view of a large battlefield area. It is crewed by a pilot, a co-pilot, an Airborne Mission Commander (AMC) and two image analysts. Mission endurance is approximately nine hours. While the image analysts can analyse the images on board the aircraft it is expected that, unlike the JSTARS, the actual battle management will occur on the ground.

The main radar is an Raytheon Systems/BAE Systems dual-mode Synthetic Aperture / Moving Target Indication (SAR/MTI) radar known as Sentinel Dual Mode Radar Sensor (DMRS). It uses AESA active electronically scanned array technology. Raytheon claim it could be modified to match the maritime surveillance capability of the cancelled Nimrod MRA4, and the ground stations could be adapted to receive data from Watchkeeper, MQ-9 Reaper and the future Scavenger programme. A contract for the development of a maritime capable software upgrade will be placed in the spring of 2015; Jane's speculates that this would allow the Sentinel to detect surface vessels and potentially submarine periscopes and that other sensors could be fitted as a 'low-end' capability for maritime surveillance to complement a 'high-end' platform such as the P-8A Poseidon.

Operational history
In 2010 the UK government's Strategic Defence and Security Review announced its intention to "withdraw the Sentinel airborne ground surveillance aircraft once it is no longer required to support operations in Afghanistan." Sentinel has supported the British Army in Afghanistan. Its role above Libya in 2011 was described as "pivotal" by the head of the RAF. In February 2012 it was announced that Sentinel would be offered as the UK contribution to NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) collaboration, complementing NATO RQ-4 Global Hawks and French Heron TPs. On 25 January 2013, the British Government announced that the RAF would deploy one Sentinel aircraft from RAF Waddington, in support of French operations in Mali. On 14 February 2014, it was reported that the Sentinel was used to map the scale of flooding in Southern England. On 18 May 2014, the MOD announced that a Sentinel had departed to Ghana to assist in the search for the 223 schoolgirls abducted by the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram, in Nigeria on 14 April 2014. En-route to Ghana the Sentinel was forced to divert to Senegal due to a technical issue. In 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron announced the retention of the aircraft, even after operations end in Afghanistan, until 2018. On 26 March 2015, the MOD announced the deployment of two Sentinel aircraft to provide surveillance to coalition forces fighting ISIL terrorists in Iraq. During this campaign, the R1 earned the moniker "Boil Lancer" due to the rounded appearance of its radar pods and it's similarity to the B-1 Lancer in terms of size and coloration

Crew: 5
Length: 30.3 m (99 ft 5 in)
Wingspan: 28.5 m (93 ft 6 in)
Height: 8.2 m (27 ft 0 in)
Wing area: 94.9 m2 (1022 ft2)
Empty weight: 24000 kg (54000 lb)
Gross weight: 42400 kg (93500 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce BR710, 65.6 kN (14,750 lbf) thrust each
Maximum speed: Mach 0.89
Range: 9250 km (5800 miles)
Endurance: 9 hours
Service ceiling: 14935 m (49000 ft)
Number Built: 5

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SKB
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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

The link above shares that over ground the P8 (MPA) will not approach R1's capabilities before 2022.

In the leading in article it is omitted that the Sentinel ground stations are the only way the BA can utilise JSTARS input directly on joint ops, rather than having it passed on through middlemen. Hence doing away with it (and the ground stations) would have been absurd... may be a detail missed in the 2010 SDSR?
- and now all the three declared new-JSTARS competitors look very much like R1, too
"While the image analysts can analyse the images on board the aircraft it is expected that, unlike the JSTARS, the actual battle management will occur on the ground.

The main radar is an Raytheon Systems/BAE Systems dual-mode Synthetic Aperture / Moving Target Indication (SAR/MTI) radar known as Sentinel Dual Mode Radar Sensor (DMRS). It uses AESA active electronically scanned array technology. Raytheon claim it could be modified to match the maritime surveillance capability of the cancelled Nimrod MRA4, and the ground stations could be adapted to receive data from Watchkeeper, MQ-9 Reaper and the future Scavenger programme"
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by cockneyjock1974 »

Is this scrapped then?

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

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cockneyjock1974 wrote:Is this scrapped then?
Nope. Extended out into the 20's. I think we can assume that means when P8 can take over.
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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by cockneyjock1974 »

shark bait wrote:
cockneyjock1974 wrote:Is this scrapped then?
Nope. Extended out into the 20's. I think we can assume that means when P8 can take over.
Cheers SB.

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by SKB »

"Three P8's by the end of this Parliament" implies 3 by 2020 then. They'll keep the Sentinels until sufficient P-8's are in place to take over. They've ordered nine P-8's in all.

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by OevetS »

I worked on the Sentinel whilst working for Raytheon in Chester, i did all the wiring in the radar fairing (along with working on the racks and consoles) on 4 of the 5 aircraft before i left to go work on the A380

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by GibMariner »

Britain Undecided On P-8 Vs. Sentinel Radar Roles
The U.K.’s plans for the five Sentinel R1 jets of the Royal Air Force (RAF) remain in flux despite the announcement in the Strategic Defense and Security Review (SDSR) last year that the aircraft will be operational into the next decade. The platform, which is operated from RAF Waddington by V(AC) Sqdn., has been involved in combat operations almost continuously since it entered service in 2008. The intelligence that derives from the dual-mode synthetic aperture/ground moving ...
The rest of the article is behind a paywall: http://aviationweek.com/defense/britain ... cec937a469

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by bobp »

The Sentinel aircraft are pretty unique ,the problem is the radar system is also unique, and as such as it gets older it gets harder and harder to get parts for it. Although Raytheon manufacture similar radars they are not the same when it comes to parts. In order to keep them going they will need upgrading and I think that's the reason the RAF are looking into keeping them operational. Especially as the P8 will have the new AAS radar pod in a couple of years.

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by S M H »

The bone yard has a few spare radars Ex U2 . If the Lockheed J S.T.A.R.S proposal is the wining bid. for the U.S.A.F. They could get a replacement supported Radar. They may be unique but the whole system is .very effective.

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by whitelancer »

The P8 is going to have more than enough to do in its maritime role, without having to take over from Sentinel as well.

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

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whitelancer wrote:The P8 is going to have more than enough to do in its maritime role, without having to take over from Sentinel as well.
Indeed it will. It may make sense to keep Sentinel going along side the P8 until there is enough money to purchase more P8 and AAS sets. I also imagine the R1 is cheaper to operate than the P8, which might provide a justification for keeping them long term.
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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

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UK Sentinel force capability gap emerges in new RAF ISTAR plan
UK Royal Air Force (RAF) chiefs are proposing to cut the size its operational fleet of Raytheon Sentinel R1 ISTAR aircraft, as well as cancelling a proposed upgrade, creating concerns that a major capability gap is emerging.

The RAF's Sentinel force is expected to be cut from five to four aircraft and the number of combat-ready crews assigned to 5 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, which operates the ISTAR aircraft, reduced from 10 to five, say RAF officers who have seen proposals for the future size and structure of the RAF ISTAR Force. A proposed upgrade of the Sentinel R1's capabilities is also not to go ahead and its out-of-service date has been re-set to 2021, said the officer.

The plan is part of a budget package being presented to UK defence secretary Michael Fallon by RAF chiefs, in a drive to generate savings across the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to fund investment in new capabilities.

This is has now been dubbed 'Project Athena' by the RAF and a project office is being set up at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire to move to it from the concept phase to implementation.

RAF officers also told IHS Jane's that a proposed GBP2 billion upgrade to the service's Boeing E-3D Sentry AWACS fleet is to remain a concept study until 2020. The exact requirements and equipment specifications for the upgrade have not yet been set, although a new glass cockpit and significant computer enhancement of the mission system are expected to be undertaken to keep the E-3D in service until 2035. An uplift of combat-ready aircrews from the current five to 12 is proposed for the E-3D force.

These near-term efficiency measures are needed as part of RAF Air Command's contribution towards the GBP11.5 billion in savings announced in November 2015's Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).
http://www.janes.com/article/61218/uk-s ... istar-plan

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by bobp »

http://www.janes.com/article/61218/uk-s ... istar-plan

And this will save enough to pay for the P8.

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by shark bait »

More E3, more P8, more Shadow but only a small increase in man power... something had to give I guess.
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whitelancer
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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by whitelancer »

How can this be advertised as efficiency savings?
Reducing aircrew and airframes is a capability cut, pure and simple.

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by WhitestElephant »

Will P8 be able to take over Sentinels role?
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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

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Yes, but there won't be enough to do both roles.
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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by bobp »

I was under the impression that P8 fitted with the AAS pod could do the same as Sentinel. Problem as Shark Bait so rightly said is numbers and obviously aircrew.

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by shark bait »

The standard radar is good for for maritime, littoral and overland surveillance, possibly to the standard of sentinel.

The AAS will take that to the next level.
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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by Jdam »

The next question is, able to buy the AAS off the yanks?

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by jimthelad »

Already on the cards. A UK firm was involved in the development and it is based on the sensor on Sentinel.

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Re: Raytheon Sentinel R1 (RAF)

Post by Jdam »

Nice, now the next next question. Will there be a seamless transition from Sentinels to P8 with AAS or are we facing another gap?

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