The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has stood up the new Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) Air Wing, it was announced on 17 May.
An artist’s impression of the Protector RG1 in RAF service. The Protector will be part of the RAF’s new ISTAR Air Wing when deliveries commence from 2024. (General Atomics via Janes/Gareth Jennings)
The ISTAR Air Wing is located at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, and is under the command of Group Captain Chris Melville.
“The Air Wing has been formed as part of the RAF Future Operating Model, a proposal that was set out by the Chief of the Air Staff to create the next generation air force,” the RAF said, adding that the ISTAR Air Wing will comprise the flying Squadrons, Air Support Wing, Air Engineering Wing, Number 1 Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, and the ISTAR Operational Conversion Unit.
“RAF Waddington will continue to operate as normal, with the base enabling the ISTAR [Air Wing] and supporting the operational outputs of the Air and Space Warfare Centre, 8 Force Protection Wing and its various reserve units, whilst future projects include the implementation of Protector and integration of the Red Arrows,” the RAF said.