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Sentinel Deployed to Mali

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Sentinel Deployed to Mali

Old 26th Jan 2013, 11:49
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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I'm waiting for "the decision to axe Harrier was bonkers".
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 11:50
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Has anyone mentioned Nimrod yet?

Good luck the Sentinel chaps, hope the PM's comment of this taking "decades" doesn't come true!
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 12:07
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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France didn't send its (only) carrier. OK, it's under (light) maintenance
As I recall its almost allways under some form of maintence as the thing hardly ever works. Was very poor design and build.
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 12:20
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Smile

OK - Stop Stop Stop........

Sincere apologies guys, I hadn't visited prune for some time and, because I was bored this morning, thought I'd re-evaluate the bite reflex. It seems to be depressingly active unfortunately.

P.S. Thought I'd left a bit of a hint for seasoned posters by mis-spelling the ac name (the usual preserve of those with no experience of the platform or, indeed, ISTAR).

Sorry once again - I'm back off to Mumsnet.............
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 12:25
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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The last time I checked 100% of the plant is still covered by air.
Probably have to land at some point though.
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 12:27
  #26 (permalink)  
I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
 
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What are the hotels like?

How long do you have to spend in theatre before you can buy a new BMW?

Maybe the Swiss navy could help?

Last edited by Pontius Navigator; 26th Jan 2013 at 12:54.
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 13:06
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Harmattan

Is Sentinel SAR degraded significantly by dust? Harmattan must be in full swing down there and it is impressively dense when at its worst. It is not unusual to have RVRs of 750m and vertical vis of 100ft.
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 13:42
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Maybe the Swiss Navy will deploy some of its SSNs?

Last edited by Biggus; 26th Jan 2013 at 14:10.
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 14:34
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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How much use is it going to be?

Just because the Sentinel has been sent to Mali, that does not automatically follow that it will be of any real use.
Many have been 'taken in' by the story that it saved the day in Libya, where is the evidence?
It remains now what it always has been an aircraft with no real current role looking to preserve its future.

Ask yourself these questions,

"If we did not have a synthetic aperture radar reconnaissance aircraft would we go out and buy one?"

"What exactly would we use it for - and where?"

"What questions does the information gained by this sensor provide that can not be acquired by other sources?"

Don't be fooled guys ...
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 15:00
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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I think HAS59 was offered some sweets by a Sentinel and didn't enjoy what happened next.

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Old 26th Jan 2013, 15:00
  #31 (permalink)  
I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
 
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Originally Posted by HAS59 View Post
"If we did not have a synthetic aperture radar reconnaissance aircraft would we go out and buy one?"
Er without knowing the answers to the questions below how can anyone not in the know make an informed answer?

"What exactly would we use it for - and where?"

"What questions does the information gained by this sensor provide that can not be acquired by other sources?"

Don't be fooled guys ...
Now if it does actually work, which is more cost effective, an aircraft you have or an aircraft you want? Unless, that is, that you happen to own two types. Then perhaps you views may be coloured if you job relies on the one rather than the other.

Last edited by Pontius Navigator; 26th Jan 2013 at 15:35.
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 15:26
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Now that's some top trolling!
I have to ask (and solely out of a morbid curiosity) but which wonder platform are you touting instead?
(oh god it's going to be a UAV isn't it?)
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 15:35
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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I think he will be struggling to think of any other wide-area sensor over Mali right now.
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 15:45
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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It's going to be the whole "but platform X has a dinky little radar so it must be just as good as the chuffing massive radar in Sentinel" thing. I just know it.
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 15:56
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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You are probably right and then someone will question why the USAF has the ASARS-2 on the U2 or why the J-STARS fleet exists. Clearly driving driving a UAV to 40km or some of the more advanced FJ radars to within 40nm of a target makes so much more sense when trying to answer RFIs in an area the size of Spain.

Still, it will be giggle as the ill-informed argue amongst themselves whilst the Treasury reaches for the Sentinel-shaped knives.
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 22:20
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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What does it do then?

Oh dear…
I’m retired now, thankfully; however I worked on CASTOR I know where this thing came from and why, and what it can and can’t do. What do you think a SAR/GMTI image on its own actually shows? I am also very aware of the strong PR job being done on its behalf, which is understandable but questionable.

Mr BlackadderIA - I’m not suggesting a UAV can do the job that the Sentinel does.

I am suggesting that the only job that the Sentinel can do is unnecessary now that the original (Cold War) role does not exist. There are far more, better capable 24/7 space-based sensors available to the French military for wide area coverage. I question its use in the UK Military at all. We have it so we are trying to justify its existence to avoid the embarrassment of spending so much for so long to get so little.

I find it interesting that the USAF U-2 with its very fine ASARS-2 and the E-8C J-STARS have both been quiet in recent military actions.

Did you know that we were offered into the U-2 programme in the 80’s by the US when all the inter-service squabbling took place? We told them that ‘we could come up with something better.’ J-STARS is in a different league, I doubt if we will ever need to see ‘that big a picture’ ever again.

My feeling here is that the good people operating and supporting the Sentinel (whom I support unreservedly) are being used for PR reasons. The UK will look good supporting our ally (nothing wrong with that). I seriously question whether there will ever be any real significant military contribution from this platform.

Yes there are more cuts coming, and we have all seen too many. But don’t shed a tear when Sentinel goes, we will lose a sensor we currently do not need that is all. A wide spectrum of information gathering will still continue (it only becomes ‘intelligence’ when it is acted upon correctly).

Sweets? Nobody offered me sweets…
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 23:24
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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"Oh dear" is right, HAS59 - it's a while since I saw a post so completely and fundamentally wrong.

You worked on CASTOR? That makes your experience nearly 3 decades out of date - it's a bit like saying you flew Lightnings so you completely understand Typhoon's capabilities. Just because the Cold War is over doesn't mean that we no longer have an interest in SAR and GMTI products. "Far more" and "better" space based sensors? Name one. And when you've done that, explain to me how it can stare, for many hours, at the same piece of land in Mali, or anywhere else come to that.

U-2 and JSTARS quiet in recent military actions? Plain wrong - what they do just doesn't make the press.

Do you think that the "good people operating and supporting the Sentinel" are just doing it for a laugh? By your understanding they're using a crap capability to collect information that nobody needs anymore (and anyway is apparently available 24/7 from space) to provide a big picture that nobody wants.

BlackadderIA - I am suggesting a UAV can do the job - NATO certainly think so with NAGS. UAVs rock....

DuaneDibley - you're a very naughty boy - you know retired people aren't supposed to express opinions on this site....
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 23:42
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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HAS59

I agree and this has been the way ahead for the US for some time

Discoverer II (DII)

Sentinel was almost obsolete before ISD! 30cm resolution spot SAR is quoted in the above which is pretty damn good.

I will also mention Predators and Reapers - they give some significant advantages over Sentinel's one big trick of wide area SAR in that:

1. They have a better SAR resolution capability.
2. They are able to ID with other sensors (like their EO/IR ball).
3. Having achieved positive ID they can finish a confirmed hostile target.
4. They can loiter longer.
5. They have the ability to carry wide area sensors like GORGON STARE, DB-110 and also maritime RADAR at the expense of the weapon fit.

I'm not saying UAV is the be all and end all, but when we are money constrained I would rather take this capability that can deliver 5 things over Sentinel's 1.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Sentinel is a one-trick pony that at times has been almost lame due to its poor datalinks, lack of endurance and other significant issues with some of its systems that still don't work. We, the UK military, can't afford it and so come 2015 it should be time for the knackers yard!

No sweeties for me either!

LJ
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 23:49
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Dysonsphere View Post
France didn't send its (only) carrier. OK, it's under (light) maintenance
As I recall its almost allways under some form of maintence as the thing hardly ever works. Was very poor design and build.
Well, Sir, maybe you should review your recollections.
Unless I'm very much mistaken, she participated to operations in Indian Ocean, Gulf (waving the flag, Afghan ops), Arabian Sea (counter piracy) in recent years. In 2011, just after being back from a several months deployment, she was able to sail off again to join the ops off the costs of Libya.

Admitedly, being more or less a prototype, she had her share of issues, most were light, some were serious. Admitedly, being the sole French carrier, when she's off, French carrier capability is off.
Now, perhaps we should compare with other european navies? How did France's neighbours "things" recently?
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Old 26th Jan 2013, 23:54
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Sargs

I agree "UAVs rock" and come 2015 they will be calling on this to augment overhead SAR/GMTI NATO - Topic: Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS)

They've even got a Global Hawk AAR demonstration trial that is ongoing, and as I understand, is going well.

We do have some Brits and a small amount of cash going into NATO AGS but just like the NATO AEW program the Brits and French have not fully committed and may want to contribute "in kind" with nationally owned assets. I guess this will depend on what 'dog's dinner' the UK and France come up with for Project SCAVENGER - with BAE and Dassault still jostling for position with nothing much to offer at this time.

I suspect this ISTAR report is going to be key.

iRaven
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