RAF WADDINGTON CIS improvement project begins 07022022 Credit MOD
The first stage of work has begun at RAF Waddington in preparation for the arrival of Protector (Picture: MOD).
Technology

RAF Waddington upgrades for next-generation Protector force

The works will fortify the air station's place as the UK's busiest airborne intelligence and aircraft systems hub.

RAF WADDINGTON CIS improvement project begins 07022022 Credit MOD
The first stage of work has begun at RAF Waddington in preparation for the arrival of Protector (Picture: MOD).

Construction work has started at RAF Waddington in preparation for the arrival of Protector.

Protector is the RAF's and world's first certified remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS), which will enter service in 2024, and is capable of strike missions anywhere in the world.

MOD improvement works at the air station in Lincolnshire, costing £94m, will expand and upgrade the existing communication infrastructure to accommodate the next-generation Protector.

Station commander Group Captain Mark Lorriman-Hughes said the infrastructure systems upgrade will be "paving the way for us to safely operate the Protector Air System, further fortifying RAF Waddington's place as the UK's intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance ISTAR hub". 

The upgrades will include a high-capacity fibre-optic communications ring that will benefit all squadrons, the Air Space Warfare Centre and the incoming Red Arrows, who will arrive at the end of 2022.

The work, announced by UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace in September 2021, heralds the beginning of a busy upgrade and construction programme that will continue throughout 2022, 2023 and into 2024.

RAF Waddington is the main operating base of the airborne intelligence aircraft systems and one of the Royal Air Force's busiest stations.