News story: RAF Sentinel aircraft deploys to Africa

Ministry of Defence said:
The Sentinel deployed today from RAF Waddington to an air base in Africa in support of French military operations in Mali.
No 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron is manned by both Army and RAF personnel who operate the ASTOR radar surveillance system and fly the Sentinel R1 aircraft.
The Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said:
As the Prime Minister has made clear, the UK supports France’s decision to provide military support to the Malian Government. The National Security Council agreed on Tuesday to look at further French requests for additional logistical and surveillance support for this operation over and above our C-17 commitment.

A No 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron Sentinel aircraft departs from RAF Waddington for Africa [Picture: Sergeant Si Pugsley, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013]
Following discussions with the French, we have now decided to deploy Sentinel, a surveillance capability that has proved its worth in Libya and on an ongoing basis for counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan.
We have also agreed to continue to make available a C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft which has already provided important logistical support over recent days.
Officer Commanding No 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron, Wing Commander Al Marshall, said:
Sentinel is deploying to provide a unique intelligence capability in support of French operations within Mali. We look forward to working closely with our French allies, building upon the working relationships established during training and previous operations such as Op Ellamy over Libya in 2011.

Just you watch, we'll have a few battalions there soon.

Well, we did sign a treaty with the Frencies over this kind of thing recently.
Damn, beat me to it.

however, I agree ... Watch this space. And be very afraid.
Keep in mind that OC 5 (AC) Sqn will have been on the blower to PJHQ/MB/No 10 saying that it'd be no problem and they have loads of aircraft spare.
Is that because they're useless, and therefore not required for any UK operations?
Wanna bet that they get past the 2015 OSD given in SDSR?
I've probably got this wrong but it seems that the French have started a war and now need our help to finish it.
I'm sure that I'm wrong. But wasn't the lack of good air support (transport in this case) a major factor in a defeat which we won't mention (being good Europeans) but that worried Johnson in case it was repeated.
We are now good friends with the French. Good chaps, fine wine and cheese, and stalwart members of NATO: huzzah.

As a result, despite their inability or disinclination to provide their Armed Forces with any decent long-haul/heavy-lift AT capability, we are providing assistance. Shame they never envisaged the need, but there we are. Help a mate, and all that.

I have no doubt they will reciprocate by letting us use an aircraft carrier, at some indeterminate moment in the future.
They will also have the A400M to play with... at some indeterminate moment in the future.


Oh Dear. Will us Reserves get our SLRs and puttees before we deploy or in theatre? Will there be R&R?
First A400M to be delivered to the FRA AF (Orléans Bricy air base) in March 2013, to become operational in 2014....
And remind the assembled audience how many years late La Euroturkey is?
I seem to recall it was originally supposed to be flying majestically across the skies with the Armée de l'Air in 2009.

Good job we bought those C-17's over a decade ago to loan out, eh?^_~

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