5 (AC) Sqn
Number V (Army Cooperation) Squadron
Number V (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 Squadron. The squadron’s role is to operate the Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) System, which consists of five modified Bombardier Global Express aircraft. In RAF service, the aircraft type is known as the Sentinel R Mk 1, with the R acknowledging its Reconnaissance pedigree, which made its maiden flight in May 2004. The system officially entered service on 1st December 2008.
The Squadron currently has a complement of approximately 150 personnel and is commanded by the Officer Commanding, Wg Cdr Chris Melville MBE. At it’s greatest strength, the Squadron had over 300 personnel split between all 3 services. Currently the majority of the 150 personnel are made up by the RAF with a small number from the Royal Navy and Army.
Training and Logistic support is also through a unique arrangement , provided mostly by a commercial contractor in Raytheon Systems Limited.
However, perhaps the most particular aspect of the Squadron is its mission, as this relatively 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.
Past and Present
No V Squadron Royal Flying Corps was formed at Farnborough on 26th Jul 1913.
The ISR role is the highest priority for modern commanders and is pivotal in today’s ‘asymmetric-warfare’ challenge in the global war on terrorism, where the enemy is elusive and the Battlespace has no boundary. For V (AC) Squadron, although it has been operating proudly as a fighter Squadron for the past 50 years, the switch to ISR is most apt, as it takes the Squadron back to its roots. V (AC) Sqn celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013. The Squadron has been employed in various operations around the world, including Op ELLAMY, Op NEWCOMBE, OP TURUS and flew 1400 missions and over 16,000 hours in support of Op HERRICK between November 2008 and November 2014. The Squadron currently provides an enduring capability in support of Op SHADER.
Crest and Motto
The Squadron formed a close association with the Canadian Corps during June 1917, remaining with them after the Armistice as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. Given this association, in June 1937 MH King George VI approved a Squadron crest featuring a green maple leaf set on a white background.
Frangas non flectas - “Thou mayst break but shall not bend me”, encapsulates the struggle often encountered in military operations between physical fragility and moral fortitude