Military Capabilities

UK 'gaps' Sentinel ops in Middle East

10 August 2017
After two years of continuous deployment to the Middle East, the Sentinel aircraft has been withdrawn for an unspecified period. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

A 'gap' in UK Raytheon Sentinel R1 Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) surveillance aircraft operations against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has emerged, after more than two years of continuous presence on the region.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced in early August that a Sentinel from the Royal Air Force's (RAF) 5 (Army Co-operation - AC) Squadron had returned to its home base at Waddington in Lincolnshire. The MoD said the aircraft had been deployed for two months, and during that time was airborne for 235 hours.

A ministry spokesperson confirmed to Jane's on 9 August that the aircraft would not be replaced on duty at RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus, where the UK bases the majority of its aircraft participating in Operation 'Shader', as the UK contribution to the war against Islamic State is codenamed.

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