The British Royal Air Force (RAF) has announced that the service’s Sentinel R1 aircraft conducted its final operational flight.
The Sentinel R1 operated worldwide from its home base at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, for the past 14 years.
It flew approximately 32,300 hours and conducted nearly 4,870 flights during its service life.
The plane’s withdrawal from service was first announced as part of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.
According to RAF, the UK Government is committed to investing highly in Nato intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities, Maritime Surveillance (Poseidon), Airborne Early Warning and Control (E-7 Wedgetail), Armed ISTAR (Protector), Rivet Joint and Shadow.
All of these aircraft have either already ‘entered service or will do’ in the coming term.
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Commissioned through Raytheon to provide an Airborne Stand-off Radar (ASTOR) system, Sentinel aircraft first entered service during Operation HERRICK in 2008.
Five aircraft were acquired and V (Army Corporation) Squadron was modified to operate the aircraft.
V (AC) Squadron commanding officer wing commander Dominic Holland said: “It has been an absolute privilege to have commanded V (AC) Squadron.
“It is a fantastic Squadron, with wonderful people, that has delivered exceptional results on multiple operations across the globe. Pivotal to that success has been the fantastic effort and support from across the whole of the Sentinel enterprise.”
Since 2008, the V (AC) Squadron has conducted numerous operations across the world, especially Op SHADER and Op TELIC.
On the V (AC) squadron’s recent return from Op SHADER, the UK Joint Operations commander vice admiral Sir Ben Key said: “Right to the end of its commission, V(AC) Squadron has been a constant among my deployed Force Elements. It is a record to be proud of.”