The MQ-9A Reaper, supported the operations by supplying real-time imagery of the evacuation areas in Sudan to HMS Lancaster and the teams from the UK Armed Forces, FCDO and Border Force in Port Sudan, processing people for safe onward travel.
The RAF’s MQ-9A Reaper, an uncrewed aircraft that is designed for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions has been supporting by providing up to date imagery of the port, airfield and ground environment. This includes highlighting unsafe and potentially dangerous areas to troops on the ground. It has also allowed for identification of buildings which would be suitable for temporary shelter, medical facilities, or locations to process passengers.
The MQ09A Reaper was operated by XIII Squadron based at RAF Waddington. The Squadron Executive Officer said: “For XIII Squadron to operate the RAF Reaper over two separate continents on two different missions, having eyes on the ground in Africa and the Middle East simultaneously shows the flexibility of the aircraft and our people, a remarkable effort from all the Squadron”.
The high-definition imagery and video feed has been used to assist with patterns of life and threat assessments, supporting the crew of HMS Lancaster which is alongside in Port Sudan, as well as those on the ground.
“The last Royal Navy ship to come here was HMS Galetea, almost 40 years ago which means our knowledge of this port is somewhat out-of-date. For me as the Captain, to have that knowledge provided by Reaper and imagery of the surrounding area has allowed us to plan our force protection and situational awareness,” said Commander Tom Johnson, Commaning Officer, HMS Lancaster. “It has been important to understand the route between where my ship is and the Coral Hotel, where all the affected persons are currently being administered prior to evacuation.”
The Coral Hotel has been the location from which UK Border Force, FCDO and UK military are processing people from the UK and US for safe onward travel.