Scrapping the Nimrod: A UK Capability Gap

By Defence Iq, PRNE
Thursday, February 17, 2011

LONDON, February 18, 2011 - Major Generals Blair Hansen (USAF) and Yvan Blondin (Canadian Air Force)
joined by Philippine General De La Cruz to head annual ASARC (Air
Surveillance & Reconnaissance) Event.

Just two years ago in Afghanistan there were 18,898 air surveillance
missions. Fast forward to September last year and in that month alone there
were 11,229. It is extremely difficult for forward air controllers to gain
artillery or precision weapon support without being absolutely sure what they
are targeting. Air surveillance provides the type of assurance a two star
needs to effectively place authority in the hands of either a FAC / JTAC or
commanders on the ground.

With the scrapping of the Nimrod, does this leave the UK with a
requirements gap? Possibly not like-for-like but the need for insurance
against collateral and political damage is still very much real and ever
present on the battlefield.

Anyone working in Air ISR, Surveillance and Reconnaissance will have to
look at the results from this year's annual event in London (22nd and 23rd

    - How can Air ISR platforms be integrated?
    - What can data fusion achieve for air surveillance and reconnaissance?
    - Which UAV capabilities are emerging and what does it mean for Air ISR?

These questions and more are central to this year's ASARC event and form
the basis of the panel discussions (led by Colonel John Fitzgerald & Wing
Commander Nuttall) and presentations. With the UK Nimrod programme scrapped,
there is now a large capability gap in UK warfighting capabilities. Whilst
this is not classed as a capability 'requirement' it is evident that other
platforms and technologies are going to be looked towards to provide
surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.


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