54 (R) Sqn
Welcome to Number 54 (Reserve) Squadron
On 5 September 2005, 54(R) Squadron officially reformed with a new role, 3 aircraft types, and a great deal more people than it has ever had in its long and distinguished history.
Aircraft wearing the 54 Sqn colours first flew in 1916 when, as part of the Royal Flying Corps, they carried out bomber escort and balloon attack duties in France. For many current members of the RAF, 54 Squadron will forever be associated with the Jaguar, an aircraft that they received in 1974. However, that is now in the past and as part of the draw down of the Jaguar Force and RAF Coltishall, No 54(F) Sqn disbanded on the 11 Mar 2005.
Seven months after disbanding as a Jaguar unit at Coltishall, 54(F) Squadron has re-formed as 54(R) Squadron at Waddington as the Intelligence Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) Operational Conversion Unit to train aircrews from the ISTAR platforms E-3D Sentry and Sentinel R1.
The Present and Future
The present role for 54 Squadron reflects the changes taking place within the RAF as a whole. As a training unit, 54 Squadron is designated 54(Reserve) Squadron, on reformation, instructional staff from the 23 Squadron Sentry Training Flight,51 Squadron, 5 (Army Co-operation) Squadron and the existing Mission Simulator Flight amalgamated to form the new Squadron, thus enabling 54(R) to train personnel to operate 3 of the ISTAR platforms currently based at RAF Waddington.
Students are trained to Limited Combat Ready (LCR) status before being posted to 5(AC), 8 or 51 Squadrons. Furthermore,the instructional staffs maintain their Combat Ready categories and regularly undertake deployments to operational theatres to augment the front-line Squadrons.
The RAF Waddington Standardisation Unit is another key element of 54(R) Sqn; undertaking evaluation of the standard of operation of all ISTAR platforms,including the REAPER Remotely Piloted Air System currently based at Creech AFB, USA. The standarisation role is vital to both the safe operation and the tactical employment of these assets.
54(R) Sqn instructors also deliver the Qualified Weapons Instructor Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (QWI ISR) course. A recent initiative which takes specialists from the broad spectrum of ISR platforms and the Direct Process and Disseminate arena;and trains them to operate as ISR Subject Matter Experts for the Operational Theatre and training of their peers.
54(R) Sqn is now looking to the future to continue to train and evaluate cross platform, whilst looking forward to the development of training for new platforms, such as the UK RC-135 V/W 'Rivet Joint'