Commander’s Update Briefing ISTAR

Airborne ISTAR assets serve as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the modern military, providing commanders with critical information about activity on the ground, in the air and at sea. Air Marshal (ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB CBE, President of the Air Power Association, outlines a key element of contemporary warfare.


RAF Sentinel R1 ZJ692 of No 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron at an airfield in the Middle East. Air Cdre Johnny Stringer – UK Air Component Commander from October 2016 until October 2017 – described the type’s service in Operation Shader as “phenomenal”. Data gathered has been a starting point for more focused intelligence collection, which is so important in this type of conflict.
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An RAF Typhoon FGR4 in No XI (Fighter) Squadron markings takes off for Libya from Gioia del Colle, southern Italy, during Operation Ellamy. While it carries ASRAAMs on the outer wing stations and Paveway II guided bombs under the wings, the Litening pod below the fuselage provides an ISTAR capability.
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The acronym ISTAR stands for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance, and is sometimes shortened to ISR – target acquisition is often omitted either as superfluous or perhaps to avoid any association with direct weapon employment.

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