RAF Sentinel Departed for Mali MissionPublished: Sat January 26th, 2013 via: Royal Air Force (UK)
A Sentinel aircraft from No 5(AC) Squadron deployed today from RAF Waddington to an airbase in Africa, in support of French military operations in Mali.
The squadron, which has both RAF and Army personnel, operates the ASTOR radar surveillance system on the Sentinel R1 aircraft.
Defence Secretary 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.
“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.”
The RAF operates five Sentinels, which carry both Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI), providing vital information to military and government decision makers.
Officer Commanding 5 (AC) 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.”
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