The decision to scrap the Sentinel spy plane under defense cuts is to be reviewed. According RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, during the six month Libyan campaign the aircraft has played a ‘pivotal’ role in spotting and identifying Colonel Gaddafi’s forces. Dalton insists the Sentinel R1 should be retained within his air forces’ force structure.
Under the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), all five Sentinels have been listed for withdrawal from service by 2015.
“The value of Sentinel and the value of the picture it provided was so critical that I think we will need to have another look and see what way we can provide that capability in the future.” Dalton said during an interview with BBC4.
“Sentinel was pivotal to be able to provide the picture – the picture in electronic terms, the picture in imagery terms – so that our intelligence was well-placed therefore to identify those targets and to precisely target against them,” he said. “It was also important because we were able to demonstrate that to lawyers, to the targeteers, to the politicians, that we could see what was going on, we could identify them moving as well as the static, and we could therefore focus on what was important to achieve the overall effect.”