ASTOR Enters Service

#1
One little snippet of news which barely warranted a mention on the MoD website was that the UK’s Airborne Stand Off Radar (ASTOR) system has formerly been accepted into service.

Having been involved in the Project, it’s been at times a troubled gestation. However, I think it deserves flagging up as one very good piece of news amongst the oft highlighted procurement gloom. Although the website inevitably focuses on the airborne ‘segment’ of ASTOR, 5(AC) Sqn is of course a Joint RAF and Army unit (with a smattering of RN types for good measure).

ASTOR has excellent potential and introduces an entirely new dimension to the UK’s Battlespace awareness. Feedback from the customer so far has been excellent so well done to all for their efforts.

More information here.



Regards,
MM
 
#3
It's a few years late from the originally stated date but is not overbudget.
 
#5
Any AAR Capability...........

And why this with rivet joint????
 
#6
Few years or decades late? A bit out of touch but isnt this CASTOR from the 1 (BR) Corps days - I seem to remember it was due in the late 80s.

I am sure MM will educate me
RC
 
#7
Technically I believe that it may just be under budget yes.

As far as AAR goes, unfortunately not. It was removed to reduce weight at a time when the Sentinel was struggling to stay under Max All Up Weight. Falure to achieve that would have had significant implications for certification (which was accomplished on the back of the civilian aircraft on which it is based, the Global Express) and therefore costs.

To be honest, I think that the lack of AAR is manageable (if not ideal) as the aircraft has fantastic engines and an exceptional performance due to its supercritical wing. It has a very creditable endurance at a pretty high level and its operating altitude improves the sensor grazing angle (and therefore line of sight range and Synthetic Aperture Radar image quality) in comparison to the 707 based E-8C JSTARS.

Regards,
MM
 
#8
9 Hrs Airborne I understand..

How about at high altitude in afghan.

How does this compare to the R1/MR2
 
#9
Not a wah, but was is the airframe?
 
#10
#12
It's likely to be a success so the papers don't care and the RAF doesn't need to unleash its feeble publicity machine and the world's shortest 4* to tell everyone how great it is. Just like Nimrod R1 it will do its job well and it will do it quietly unless, heaven forbid, something goes wrong.
 
#13
It's likely to be a success so the papers don't care and the RAF doesn't need to unleash its feeble publicity machine and the world's shortest 4* to tell everyone how great it is. Just like Nimrod R1 it will do its job well and it will do it quietly unless, heaven forbid, something goes wrong.
Like XV230
 
#14
Indeed, a genuine success story if with some big bumps along the way

Hopefully as the weight of the sensors and computers come down as they inevitably will do it will be able to get the refueling system.

Are there any plans to put the ground station capability into any RN ships?

I also think it would be ideal Canberra PR9 replacement, take out the radar/mission systems and the weight and space saved could be used for optics, other sensors and communications equipment.

Do the Swedes have a SIGINT version. would that be of any use?
 
#15
So when will the IAs necessary to analyse the take should it be used be trained ? It's not as if we have them standing around idle these days. Indeed, is the plan still to rely on reservists ? It might be an idea to train a few if it is, although probably best to start by letting them know it's on their To-Do list.

The cynic might define "into service" in this case as the provision of airframes and qualification for flying pay; not as the provision of a capability.
 
#16
The cynic might define "into service" in this case as the provision of airframes and qualification for flying pay; not as the provision of a capability.
The Sun says THIS!

I don't think anyone has told the Tri-service IA's they haven't been trained yet. Maybe someone should stick it on their to do list?
 
#17
meridian said:
I also think it would be ideal Canberra PR9 replacement, take out the radar/mission systems and the weight and space saved could be used for optics, other sensors and communications equipment.
Arguably Sentinel’s SAR/GMTI already partially offsets the capability lost with the demise of the PR9. However, the pure EO capabilities offered by the Canberra are now primarily being offset by the Tornado GR4 RAPTOR pod (which the Spams are immensely impressed with). In the open press, there have also been some trials conducted with the very similar DB-110 sensor pod mounted on an MQ-9 Reaper by the UK Air Warfare Centre.

More gouge here.

meridian said:
Are there any plans to put the ground station capability into any RN ships?
The RN are now showing more interest in ASTOR and the first dark blue personnel have recently joined 5 Sqn. Technically, there should be no significant technical reason why an ASTOR ground station could not be deployed onto a ship.

meridian said:
Do the Swedes have a SIGINT version.
The Swedes have a SIGINT variant of the Gulfstream G450 in use in the SIGINT role.

One_of_the_strange said:
So when will the IAs necessary to analyse the take should it be used be trained?
Err, they already have been oots!!! :?

5(AC) Sqn consists of both the ground and airborne segments and all manning required to operate the entire ASTOR system independently. Both the Airborne IAs (a combination of RAF IAs, RAF SNCO aircrew who have completed IA training, and Int Corps IAs) for the Sentinel and Ground Station IAs (a combination of Int Corps and RAF IAs) are established, funded and operational right now.

One_of_the_strange said:
Indeed, is the plan still to rely on reservists?
The plan has never been to use reservists as ASTOR IAs.

One_of_the_strange said:
The cynic might define "into service" in this case as the provision of airframes and qualification for flying pay; not as the provision of a capability.
You are very mis-informed oots. The entire end-end ASTOR capability is already in place and performing.

Regards,
MM
 
#18
MM, what's the latest on the Nimrod MRA4? Three prototypes are flying and the last I heard over a year ago the first three production aircraft were getting there. Any recent news? ISD?
 
#19
This is possibly not the best forum to talk about what I believe the exact numbers are or are not capable of white.

However, ASTOR undoubtedly provides the UK with an extremely capable and independant SAR/GMTI capability. As it matures, that capability will grow still further and it will complement coalition assets such as JSTARS very nicely.

Regards,
MM
 
#20
parapauk said:
MM, what's the latest on the Nimrod MRA4? Three prototypes are flying and the last I heard over a year ago the first three production aircraft were getting there. Any recent news? ISD?
ISD for the Nimrod MRA4 is scheduled for 2010.
 

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