Royal Air Force Sentinel and Sentry for sale

The United Kingdom Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) has requested companies interested to bid on a tender to purchase former RAF Sentinel and Sentry aircraft to come forward.

The companies which react to this invite will receive an Invitation to Tender (ITT) to enter their actual bids. The aircraft involved are to be stripped of all reusable parts for potential resale, recycling or disposal. After that, the final dismantling and removal of the remaining platforms is also to be secured under the same bid. It was specifically mentioned by the DESA that none of the aircraft are for reuse.

Five Sentinel R1s are covered under this request, including a "significant number of associated inventory spares and ground support equipment". In addition, two Sentry AEW1s are also covered under this request for bid.

The message of the DESA also states that this work is to be conducted at RAF Waddington (United Kingdom) and other UK locations. This remark not only points to the spare parts which might be stored at different location(s), but also one of the Sentinel that is current stored with Raytheon at Hawarden. It is very well possible, that this mean that ZJ693 (the Sentinel in question) might undergo this treatment at that location. No dates were mentioned, but it is expected that the work will commence in 2021.

It is not known which Sentry's are involved in this tender, but both ZH102 (construction number 24110/996) and ZH107 (c/n 24499/1012) are likely candidates. These aircraft have been placed in storage at RAF Waddington pending disposal in 2019.

The situation for the Sentinel is more clear since the entire fleet of five aircraft is involved (serials ZJ690 to ZJ694). The Sentinel is based on the Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express corporate jet, but underwent modifications to serve as a long-range, wide-area battlefield surveillance platform for both intelligence gathering and target tracking duties.

The aircraft type entered service in 2008. At this time, it was already known that the mission systems on board required an extensive update around 2015. Even though no budget was made available for this, the 2015 Defence Review stated that the aircraft were to remain in service until March 2021.

The fleet was reduced to four active aircraft. Sentinel ZJ693 flew to Hawarden, where it was placed in flyable storage, on 23 May 2017.

Photo: Erik Jan Engelen

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