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Old 26th Jan 2013, 22:58   #41 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Secret Lincolnshire Airbase
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You can see no requirement in a rapidly changing battle like Lybia/Mali for a wide area battlefield surveillance radar? Really?

I know it's very difficult to discuss capabilities on a public forum but I'd love to know what space-based sensor available to the French military can find a small group of technicals in a vast area, track that group and then cue on fast air - all in real time? I wouldn't mind knowing which space-based systems are 24/7 too - surely the French Helios EO birds are sun-synchronous?
GMTI is a much sought after capability nowadays and Sentinel, JSTARS and later the SKASaC were heavily used in Libya. The U2 boys might also be a little hurt that you think they haven't been involved recently.
It's certainly no odd publicity myth that Sentinel did well in Libya - tracking enemy vehicles over large areas was what it was designed for in the Cold War so it's no surprise it performed well.
It's all academic as it's a capability that will almost certainly get the chop in the next few years, but to say we didn't need it seems very short sighted. Only the big boys get to play wide-area persistent GMTI and we've got it for comparatively peanuts (the bid from Boeing to provide JSTARS instead was ten times the price).
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 23:02   #42 (permalink)
 
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Courtney

The decision to shelve Harriers was bonkers.

We could have used the Harrier from land bases like we did for Op HERRICK, Op BOLTON, Op ALLIED FORCE and Op TELIC instead of using faster jets, with longer legs and with bigger SCLs from the very same land bases...

Oh, the irony...

The B Word
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 23:06   #43 (permalink)
 
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BIA

Using your cost analogy, then this should have been procured instead as it would be 10 times cheaper...



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Old 26th Jan 2013, 23:40   #44 (permalink)
 
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Nothing like enough pie-lifting capacity though. Also a distinct lack of future employment prospects flying VVIPs compared to the GLEX.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 00:16   #45 (permalink)
 
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Old kit in a shiny jet = what exactly?

Sargs:- Though I did work on CASTOR (and the Phantom with its SLAR before it), I only retired from the military last September and have a fair idea and experience of the subject. And … I said the U-2 and J-STARS were quiet, not absent – read the words. If you want to stare for hours on end at the desert looking for dots that might be hooligans be my guest. If you want to know about French strategic reconnaissance assets ask a French analyst, this is not the place for these details.
I respect your point of view, a point of view can be different but still not wrong.

BlackadderIA:- A wide area Battlefield Surveillance System would be a wonderful thing to have but we have Sentinel instead. Maybe one day many years from now we will get what we need and not what we inherit. You know that the radar can, at best find possible (occasionally probable) targets for someone else with a proper sensor to look at and positively identify, (which is all that it did in Libya). And obviously GMTI only works if your ‘target’ is moving. Let us not pretend that Sentinel can do things that it cannot. It is fine for finding ‘what might be a target’ I’ll give you that, but it’s not the only system ‘looking’ at the problem.
I like the SKASaC solution a lot better, shame it too is for the heave-ho soon. I would like to see the French getting their Horizon equipped Pumas out there into what is after all their problem.

Leon said it well, from his UAV dugout, other more modern systems have better resolution and a sensor on board that can actually see the target and not just its radar return.

In the Cold War the CASTOR would have worked closely alongside many other assets to identify the targets, Sentinel is no different in this respect many decades later no matter how much the press and the MOD decide ‘sex it up’.

No one would go out and buy a system with this limited capability today – it should go when the money runs out. The unit is a high profile easy to impress outfit trying to be a success with an outdated piece of kit and a concept that relies too heavily on others. It’s not their fault and I wish them every success, I am not knocking the operators they are good people.

Maybe they should keep the jet but update it with modern multi-spectral (lighter weight) sensors, build on the operational experience gained and…Oh what’s that? No money … Oh dear …

Last edited by HAS59; 27th Jan 2013 at 03:57.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 16:18   #46 (permalink)
 
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Instead of sending Sentinel to Mali could we not just have photocopied a road map of the place and then put two way arrows up and down all the major routes? Scan it, put it on powerpoint, stick on a statement of the bleeding obvious such as 'most traffic following the main MSRs'. Call it the ISTAR slide for the day and show it at the daily 'CAOC ain't we ace brief'. Add a degree of authenticity by making sure that traffic stops in both directions somewhere in the vicinity of the frontline.

Voila. A product as useful as the daily Sentinel slide.

Alternatively just blow up a grainy x-ray of your right knee or eldest child's twelve week scan - and tell the big cheese that it clearly shows the baddies on the move.

Fly safely ISTAR chaps.

(For those a little slow - first few bits 'banter' - last four words 'serious'.)
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 21:56   #47 (permalink)
 
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Finding what 'might be a target' is exactly what sentinel does? As is working with other assets for PID. It is effectively son of CASTOR after all.
Why waste many hours searching a large area with the high-res UAV camera when you can instead discount 98% of it with Sentinel and key the FMV onto the moving vehicles/static vehicles that have arrived since yesterday instead?

I'm not sure what you mean by preferring the Sea King model? Surely it's the same model as Sentinel but just no SAR? The SKASaCs mission kit is world class but it's unfortunately tied to a poor radar on the wrong platform. If the navy ever get the funding to fit the mission kit to Merlin with a modern radar then they will have a truly fantastic system.

Raytheon may have screwed to contractor support element but El Segundo managed to build a bloody good radar in the Sentinel DMRS. It easily outperforms ASARS-2 and JSTARS, so much so the US chose a slightly modified version for the P3 LSRS. It had its teething troubles but what platform doesn't? Why it seems to have acquired this name for itself within certain part of the int world as useless is beyond me? Like I said though, academic as there's no money. We can continue the debate at Cosford or Hendon (or more likely Bravebridge Scrappy).

Orca - you missed adding other top-level intelligence calls such as 'activty reduced during the hours of darkness'. My favorite in the CAOC was a SAR of Misratah (or some other port) with a huge ship-shaped return in the middle of the docks labelled 'UI Object Arrived at Port Since Previous Image. IA Comment: Possible Ship'. Balls on the line analysis reminiscent of Arnhem there!
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 22:29   #48 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackadderIA View Post
Why waste many hours searching a large area with the high-res UAV camera when you can instead discount 98% of it with Sentinel and key the FMV onto the moving vehicles/static vehicles that have arrived since yesterday instead?
We should be able to do both. I hear Atlantique (ATL2s) are extensively used. I'm not sure they got a SAR per se as of today, but they combine an AtoG radar and FLIR/optical sensors, plus an interesting loitering capability (even if less than a classic MALE UAV).
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 22:43   #49 (permalink)
 
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A couple of Toll Gates....and not only do you get your intel....but you turn a profit to boot!
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 19:58   #50 (permalink)
 
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BIA

Quote:
Why waste many hours searching a large area with the high-res UAV camera when you can instead discount 98% of it with Sentinel and key the FMV onto the moving vehicles/static vehicles that have arrived since yesterday instead?
The UAV/RPAS carries its own SAR/GMTI with less range than sentinel (about 1/4) but a better resolution (about 3 times) so it can do lots of wide area discrimination.

LJ
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Old 28th Jan 2013, 20:07   #51 (permalink)
 
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Your ratio of range is a little off as Sentinel is better in range than x4. The effective resolution has moved on since you last saw it too.
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Old 29th Jan 2013, 07:41   #52 (permalink)
 
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What about GR4 with RAPTOR????? Any thoughts???
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Old 29th Jan 2013, 07:55   #53 (permalink)
 
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Like the US Army - The B Word :)

I agree with B Word that We should've had / bought CASTOR back in the good ol days of the Cold War and some EW / ELINT strength akin to what the 1st MIB had under V Corps and V II Corps as well as other assets not including the RC-12 and RU-21 at the time. I found it odd as the AAc and the British Army at that who are/were the best alongside the USAREUR wouldn't have had airborne battlefield EW assets.

Now suddenly we've bought Shadow in last few years of which the likes of the US Army has had SEMA assets for over four if not five decades though granted the USAF has only had MC-12W Liberty in the last decade of so operating out East so guess we're not so behind

Good luck to Sentinel and hope this is a stay of execution post 2015

Oh and surprisingly the French don't have much EW / battlefield assets so what's happen to 'Horizon' - AS-532UL then?

Cheers
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Old 29th Jan 2013, 09:46   #54 (permalink)
 
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Mission creep?

BBC News - Mali crisis: UK troops set to join EU training forces
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Old 29th Jan 2013, 15:20   #55 (permalink)
 
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Usual journalistic standards


Quote:
The 330 military personnel comprises of 200 to West African nations, 40 military advisers to Mali, 70 on a RAF Sentinel surveillance aircraft and 20 on a C17 transport plane.
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Old 29th Jan 2013, 15:46   #56 (permalink)
 
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sturb199 What about GR4 with RAPTOR????? Any thoughts???

Yes.... No.
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Old 29th Jan 2013, 16:19   #57 (permalink)
 
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Everyone is worrying too much . . . we can trust our politicians to tell us the truth and not allow ratings, popularity etc to influence their decisions.

I'm so glad that the PM and his ministers come from such trustworthy stock . . . they'll stop us getting embroiled in yet another sandy war.



Blimey, these are good tablets
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Old 29th Jan 2013, 17:23   #58 (permalink)
 
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DD are yours the same as mine

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Old 29th Jan 2013, 17:30   #59 (permalink)
 
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"Why the hell didn't I take the blue pill?"

Oh, and thank you, B Word. It had to come.
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Old 29th Jan 2013, 18:43   #60 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Quote:
"Why the hell didn't I take the blue pill?"
Cos F4 Pilots stay up longer?
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