February 26, 2021 11.36 am This story is over 7 months old

RAF Waddington Sentinel R1 completes final operational flight

Retirement of an iconic aircraft

The Royal Air Force Sentinel R1 aircraft has completed its last operational flight from RAF Waddington after 14 years of service.

The aircraft was commissioned through engineering firm Raytheon UK in response to an Urgent Operational Requirement during Operation Herrick in 2008, for an Airborne Stand-off Radar.

Five aircraft were acquired and V (Army Corporation) Squadron, which is based at RAF Waddington, was reformed to operate the aircraft. It has flown around 32,300 hours and conducted approximately 4,870 sorties during its service life.

The Royal Air Force Sentinel R1 aircraft has flown circa 32,300 hours. | Photo: SAC Shauna Martin/MOD © Crown Copyright 2021

Sentinel’s longest flight of 12 hours and 30 minutes was achieved on March 30, 2011 during Operation Ellamy in Libya. Its final flight was carried out on Thursday, February 25 this year.

The withdrawal from service was first announced as part of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review

The surveillance role of the Sentinel will now be carried out by other aircraft in RAF service, including the newly introduced Poseidon and forthcoming Protector amongst others.

The Sentinel R1 aircraft of V (Army Cooperation) Squadron, which is based at RAF Waddington. | Photo: SAC Shauna Martin/MOD © Crown Copyright 2021

The Sentinel has been involved in multiple operations. | Photo: SAC Shauna Martin/MOD © Crown Copyright 2021

Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Dominic ‘Dutch’ 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.”

The Royal Air Force Sentinel R1 aircraft carried out its last operational flight in February 2021. | Photo: SAC Shauna Martin/MOD © Crown Copyright 2021

The Sentinel has been involved in multiple operations including Op Herrick (Afghanistan), Op Telic (Iraq), Op Shader (Iraq/Syria), Op Turus (West Africa), Op Ellamy (Libya), Op Newcombe (North Africa), Op Pitchpole (UK Floods), and Op Kipion (Middle East).

On the squadrons recent return from Op Shader, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Kay, the UK Commander of Joint Operations, 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.”

Spotted an error? Please notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.