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RA1 Watchkeeper ASTOR/AEW

As austerity starts to bite, the Royal Air Force realise that it would be advantageous to combine roles and retire both the E3 and Sentinel aircraft. Their replacement - the Watchkeeper.

This aircraft is equipped with synthetic apperture radar, airborne surveillance radar and an advanced optics suite. It is flown by a crew of 6: 2 pilots, 1 mission commander (and optical systems operator), battlefield radar mapping officer, airborne radar operator, and signals intel/electronic warfare officer. The crew are seated in comfort in "assisted exit" seats and the aircraft has an endurance of up to 14 hours before refuelling (or 20 with ferry pods attached) and a cruising speed of 300kts. It is capable of carrying stores on external hardpoints including fuel, electronic warfare pods, or - for targets of opportunity, a small number of offensive stores including bombs and missiles. The aircraft features a large moving map and a multiple integrated sensor suite - allowing the mission commander to make real time decisions on the battlefield. This is a fully integrated and multi capable ISTAR asset, using the latest computing and radar technology - truly a leap forward.

The aircraft is expected to make its first flight late in 2013... Pictures of the prototype below....

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Needless to say - this is really a spares box raider!!! Lots of filler, lots of bits and bobs and a bit of experimentation. I've tried to be as realistic as possible - still, for example, have to sort some cooling intakes for the radar systems.. Quite a bit of filling and sanding still to do, and quite a few aerials still to add (similar to those on top of the P8 Poseidon). I've scribed a door behind the seats in the cockpit, and there are 4 remaining glazed windows for the crew. Unfortunately, I managed to sand across one of them - any advice on how to make it right again happily received!!!

It will be painted in a similar scheme to the RAF Sentinel, though I haven't decided what stores I'm going to place under the wings yet. It will use an F111 front gear, with a modified DO228 rear undercarriage with double wheels.

Hope to finish this soon, but with 2 young children, a wife, and a busy real life flying schedule - watch this space.....!! Any comments, criticisms, and advice will be most welcome!

Edited by VEE1-ROTATE

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Progress update on the RA1 Watchkeeper aircraft.

Lots of filing and sanding done! In mid paint at the moment, with various bits to do. The canopy fitted when I initially tested it - now it doesn't hence, more filling and more sanding before making a repair. Have fitted green tinged HUDs to both pilot stations. Once the first paint is nearly complete, I plan to apply toned down RAF decals and then (after more varnish..) apply some weathering to highlight panel lines etc. Lots of little details to add, but as my first kit bash, I'm pretty pleased with it (bearing in mind that I'm not even remotely on a par with most of the posters here!!!)

watchkeeper2.jpg

watchkeeper3.jpg

watchkeeper1.jpg

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It's great to see someone's imagination flow, all from a box of spares. It looks good and you're doing a great job! Any idea on paint scheme and squadron?

Marc

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Looks good, nice to be different. You realise it needs a ramp at the back of course so the politicians can get their money's worth, one aircraft six roles etc.

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Thanks for the positive comments! Marc - I think the paint scheme will be broadly as you see it - just with a few panels picked out etc. As for the decals.... I suppose I should make it 55Sqn as they currently operate the Watchkeeper's predecessor - the Sentinel. Depends on what I can find in my big book of spare decals though!! Not sure whether to put underwing stores (probably just fuel tanks inboard, and maybe some helfires in double racks outboard) or leave it clean - any suggestions?

PhildaGreek: not sure I should be going public with this - politicians might get ideas...!!

Here are a couple more updated photos - steady progress...(sorry for poor quality pics - used my mobile..)

watchkeeper7.jpg

watchkeeper4.jpg

watchkeeper6.jpg

watchkeeper5.jpg

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VEE1 -ROTATE,

:welcome:

And what a SPLENDID start..

Nice work Sir.

:worthy:

Edited by HOUSTON

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Great idea .....bonkers but brilliant.

Andy

Ps....thats a nice collection of Tornado ...any chance of Pming me some extra piccies :please:

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Thanks for the comments!

Hawkkeeper - oops! Typo (was replying on my laptop).. - was on a course recently with a bunch of Sentinel Captains - great guys. Most of them were on their way to civvy operators....don't think 5 sqn are going to have anyone left at this rate!!

AirfixAndy - really busy over this weekend (about to go to work now) - will pm you some pics as requested - eventually!!!

Finally - anyone have any advice on restoring some dodgy windows? I sanded them by accident as I was sorting out all the filler - at least one of them looks rubbish (the rest are OK)....

Thanks in advance!

Vee1-rotate!!!

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Here are some update pics of the RA1 Watchkeeper

I have used toned down RAF markings and a fake registration (actually for a BN Defender..but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it). I decided to not add any underwing stores - though I may change this. Had a bit of a paint disaster - the mat finish melted a couple of decals, which I then tried to remove... bad idea.. I also weathered the aircraft (badly) using pastels - again, probably a mistake. I'm wondering whether to strip all of the paint and re-paint in a 1980's RAF camouflage instead, and then load it up with tanks inboard, and helfires on double racks outboard - any opinions out there? There are a couple of touching up bits and bobs to do after the disasters, but this is where it is up to at present... I'll post it in ready for inspection once I've finally decided it is finished.. if ever...

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Hope you like it...!! I've been trying to capture the sneaky beaky Sentinel/Shadow appearance - I'm quite pleased with it, though I just wish I could have got a slightly better finish!

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Not a big fan of "What if?" but I feel strangely compelled to watch this one. And in the immortal words of Starship Enterprise's Chief Engineer Mongomery Scott, "It could just work".................Smudge

Welcome to BM as well, I didn't realise you had just joined, you seem to be fitting in very well........

Edited by swordfish fairey

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Nurse! The meds are wearing off.

Barking totally barking. I love it and makes me want to see what frankenplane I could do!

Welcome. I think you'll fit in quite well!

Trevor

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