Sentinel Undergoes Tests at RAF Waddington

1/26/2007 - The first fully configured Sentinel R1 aircraft flew into RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire on Wednesday, 24 January 2007 to undergo tests expected to last for several weeks.

The Sentinel is the airborne component of the new Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) system, which will provide battlefield surveillance for supported Field Commanders.

The aircraft (ZJ690), which was flown from Greenville Texas to Waddington by a mixed Royal Air Force and Raytheon crew, will under go a Defence Procurement Agency-Raytheon test programme that is expected to last up to six weeks. If the tests are successful, it is expected that the Sentinel will be officially handed over to No 5 (Army Co-operation) Squadron of the RAF.

No 5 (AC) Squadron is comprised of RAF, Army - and soon - a small contingent of Royal Navy personnel. It is planned that the handover of ZJ690 will mark the start of training development for the Squadron. Since ASTOR is a new system for the Ministry of Defence, training development is expected to continue through 2007.

The ASTOR system comprises five aircraft, eight ground stations and extensive mission support facilities. As part of the equipment delivery process, Raytheon are required to demonstrate that the aircraft and ground stations can operate together as a coherent system.

It is anticipated that No 5 (AC) Squadron's training programme will initially be supported by Raytheon, pending achievement of a formal Release to Service.

The Squadron is training its initial Limited Combat Ready crews to operate the system as part of the build up to the In-Service Date milestone, after which the Squadron will continue to develop to achieve Initial Operating Capability, whereupon it will be available for operational service.

Source: Royal Air Force Press Release

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