Support contract worth £131.5 million for RAF’s Sentinel surveillance aircraft secures 40 Deeside jobs
Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin announces £131.5 million support contract for RAF’s Sentinel surveillance aircraft.
The deal with Raytheon UK will provide the Sentinel aircraft with in-service support and maintenance, meaning it can continue to meet the RAF’s operational requirements. With the ability to gather intelligence on enemy movements and track specific targets, the Sentinel remains a key element in the UK’s operations against Daesh in Syria and Iraq.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin said:
Sentinel aircraft provide vital intelligence to our Armed Forces, giving them the ability to make decisions that helps keep Britain safe, including on current operations against Daesh.
As part of our £178 billion equipment plan, this contract is supported by a Defence budget that will rise every year until the end of the decade, meeting the NATO commitment to spend 2% of GDP on Defence. This new support contract will sustain 160 jobs across the UK and demonstrates the very tangible benefits which Defence is bringing to the nation’s economy.
The new contract to provide support for the aircraft for the next 5 years is expected to sustain around 120 jobs at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire and 40 roles at Hawarden Airfield near Broughton, North Wales.
Chief Executive Officer of the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, Tony Douglas, said:
This support contract demonstrates how we are working collaboratively with industry to sustain UK jobs and to ensure our equipment remains fit for purpose and continues to meet the needs of our military customers.
This contract was required to deliver on the decision in the 2015 SDSR to extend this key airborne surveillance platform, and I am delighted with the speed that the DE&S delivery team have worked with industry to negotiate this new contract, which is a testament to their drive, professionalism and delivery focus.
The RAF operates a six-strong fleet of Sentinel R1 ‘eye in the sky’ jets which provide airborne battlefield and ground surveillance.
Based on the Bombardier Global Express business jet airframe, they bristle with the latest hi-tech enemy snooping equipment and is ‘kitted out’ at the Raytheon special missions aircraft facility in Broughton.
The aircraft uses air to ground search capabilities, by scanning areas from a safe distance to protect the Armed Forces in delivering actionable, accurate information.
The aircraft have served on numerous operations, including Afghanistan and as part NATO operations in Libya in 2011.
Raytheon Sentinel R1 is based on the Bombardier Global Express business jet.
The Sentinel (originally known as ASTOR, or Airborne STand-Off Radar) came about after the first Gulf War, which proved that effective aerial surveillance was an important part of winning modern battles.
Raytheon’s design to meet this standard was approved for production in December, 1999, with the aircraft first flying on May 26, 2004.
The Sentinel R1 entered service in 2008, and a total of 5 have been built.
These have been used in support of operations in Afghanistan and Libya, as well as in support of French troops in Mali.
The UK’s Strategic Defense and Security Review plans to retire the aircraft after their involvement in Afghanistan no longer requires it, and is planning to offer them to the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance programme.
Powerplant: two Rolls-Royce BR710 engines
Top speed: 570.9 mph
Range: 5,800 miles
Ceiling: 49,000 ft
Empty weight: 54,000 lbs
Length: 99 feet 5 inches
Height: 27 feet
Wingspan: 93 feet 6 inches
[graphiq id=”37Uhe94UWbP” title=”Bombardier Global Express” width=”700″ height=”584″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/37Uhe94UWbP” link=”https://www.graphiq.com” link_text=”Visualization by Graphiq” ]
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