Royal Air Force fast jet and spyplane support UK’s Flood Relief Efforts

One Tornado and one Sentinel R1 provided valuable support to the flood relief operations across UK

Hi-tech equipment carried by two Royal Air Force aircraft was used in the last few days to provide detailed aerial imagery of the areas affected by the floods in the Thames Valley, UK.

A 31 Squadron Tornado GR4 from RAF Marham carrying the RAPTOR (Reconnaissance Air Pod for Tornado) gathered high-resolution imagery that was brought back to the base to be processed and assessed by RAF analysts before being passed to civilian authorities.

RAF Tornado

The optical imagery provided by the Tornado’s reconnaissance pod was complemented by the radar pictures taken by  a Sentinel R1 aircraft operated by the 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron from RAF Waddington airbase, which was launched on Feb 13 following the Tornado’s sortie.

Flood imagery

The Sentinel is a long-range ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) platform with extensive combat experience in Libya and Mali, equipped with an all-weather radar system and electro optical sensors that is capable to produce photo-like imagery of a large parts of the ground: these images are then used to map the areas hit by the devastating flooding and assist in the identification of those at a higher risk of further flooding.

Sentinel R1

Image credit: RAF / Crown Copyright

 

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About David Cenciotti 3634 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.