Sentinel R.1 Flies Following Completion in UK

A FURTHER milestone in the Ministry of Defence’s Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) programme was reached on July 25 when ZJ691(c/n 9123), the first Sentinel R.l to be completed at Hawarden Airfield, Broughton, North Wales, made its first flight. An extensively modified Bombardier Global Express business jet, it was crewed by Peter Collins, Head of Flying at Raytheon Broughton and Raytheon UK ASTOR Project Test Pilot, and Sqn Ldr Tim Butler, the RAF ASTOR Project Test Pilot. During the four-hour flight the aircraft climbed to an altitude of 17,000ft (5,200m) and reached an indicated airspeed of 320kts (593km/ h). Following further tests over the coming weeks, it will be painted before returning to the hangar for further test and integration of the ASTOR system.

Prime contractor Raytheon Systems Ltd is undertaking most of the major modification and integration work on the ASTOR system at Broughton, where all but the first of the five Sentinels are being completed. The first aircraft, ZJ690, was modified and flown at Raytheon’s Greenville, Texas facility. Conversion of aircraft ZJ692 and ZJ693 is now well advanced, with the final example (ZJ694) due to enter the conversion process later this year. The aircraft are due to enter operational service with the RAF’s V(AC) Squadron at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire.

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