Sentinel

5 Squadron

V(AC) Squadron

5 Sqn Crest

Badge:

A maple leaf - approved by HM King George VI in June 1937. It commemorates the Squadron's close links with the Canadian Corps during WWI.

Motto:

Frangas non flectas - Thou mayst break but shall not bend me.




Key Dates:

  • 1913 - Formed at Farnborough.
  • 1931 - Last frontline unit to retire the WW1 Bristol Fighter.
  • 1990 - V and 29 Sqn were the first RAF units to deploy to the Gulf.

Current Aircraft and Location:

Current Aircraft: Astor (Sentinel R1)

Current Location: RAF Waddington

Battle Honours:

Western Front 1914-1918, Mons*, Neuve Chappelle, Ypres 1915*, Loos*, Arras*, Somme 1918*, Amiens*, Hindenburg Line, Waziristan 1920-1925, MOhmand 1927, North West Frontier 1930-1931, North West Frontier 1935-1939, Arakan 1942-1944*, Manipur 1944, Burma 1944-1945*.

(Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)

History of V(AC) Squadron:

Formed at Farnborough on 26 July 1913, the Squadron went to France to provide reconnaissance for the BEF in August 1914. The Squadron had the distinction of recording the RFCs first war casualties when an aircraft was hit by rifle fire on 22 August 1914. The Squadron then took a leading role in the development of aerial photography and wireless telephony during the early days of the War. Artillery observation was the main task with BE2Cs and in 1917 the Squadron formed a close association with the Canadian Corps, remaining with them after the Armistice as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. In 1920 the Squadron reformed at Quetta, India for army co-operation work on the North West Frontier. Its venerable Bristol Fighters remained with them for 11 years until replaced in 1931 by Wapitis. These outdated biplanes unbelievably remained until 1940 when they where replaced by equally ancient Harts!

In 1942 Mohawk fighters arrived and the aircraft moved to Assam and escorted Blenheims attacking targets in North West Burma. Subsequent types flown included Hurricanes and Thunderbolts before, in 1947 the Squadron was disbanded. On 11 February 1949, it was reformed at Pembrey in South Wales on mundane target-towing duties. In September 1951, No 5 Sqn moved to Germany and flew Vampires and Venom fighter bombers before succumbing to defence cuts in 1957. During 1959 it was reborn as part of the all-weather fighter force in Germany, flying Javelins, and moved to Binbrook in 1965 with the all-new Lightning F6. These remained the Squadrons mount until 1987, when these were replaced by the Tornado F3, and it moved to Coningsby. A combined 5/29 Squadron was the first RAF component to arrive in Saudi Arabia in August 1990 after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In 2003 V Squadron disbanded at RAF Coningsby.

Number 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron was reformed on 1st April 2004 at RAF Waddington, marking the beginning of a new era in the world of military Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) for the Squad-ron. The new role for '5' is to operate the Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) System, which consists of five modified Bombardier Global Express long-range business jets and eight Ground Stations. In RAF service, the aircraft type will be known as the Sentinel R Mk 1, with the R acknowledging its Reconnaissance pedigree.

It is a truly jointly manned RAF Squadron and the Officer Commanding, Wg Cdr Allan Marshall, has a current complement of approximately 250 personnel, split between RAF and Army. When at full strength, the Squadron will have over 300 RAF, Army and civilian personnel, making No 5 (AC) Sqn the largest flying Sqn in the RAF by some margin. The composition of the Sqn is like no other, as it requires RAF from all walks of life and eight different Army cap badges to deliver this hugely diverse military capability.

Training and Logistic support is also very different, in that it is provided mostly, by a Contractor; Raytheon Systems Limited.

However, perhaps the most particular aspect of the Squadron is its mission, as this new type of surveillance system is at the cutting edge of technology and military capability. The UK has never possessed such a formidable capability in the past and, even globally, it is difficult to draw parallels in terms of Squadron construct, system flexibility and overall performance.

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