LATEST: air strikes in Iraq
6 January 2015
British forces have continued to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.
At the request of the Iraqi government, British forces have taken further action against ISIL terrorist targets.
In the early hours of 2 January, a Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 armed reconnaissance patrol located an ISIL armoured personnel carrier to the east of Al Qaim, and conducted a successful strike with a Brimstone missile. Later that day, a coalition surveillance aircraft observed ISIL positions concealed within woods north-west of Ramadi and another Tornado mounted an attack with two Paveway IV precision guided bombs.
On 4 January, an RAF Reaper, working in support of Iraqi army units, identified an ISIL vehicle and engaged it with a Hellfire missile. Shortly afterwards, the Reaper discovered an ISIL position close by, and attacked this with another Hellfire.
Reaper and Tornado missions were also flown on the morning of 5 January. Tornados again patrolled the Al Qaim area, where they destroyed an ISIL excavator vehicle, used to construct fortified positions, with a Brimstone, while a Reaper, scouting ahead of Iraqi troops, spotted an armoured vehicle being moved by ISIL on a heavy equipment transporter. A Hellfire missile scored a direct hit on the armoured vehicle, another Hellfire destroyed the transporter itself, and a third missile struck an ISIL position nearby.
On 23 December, Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s, operating out of RAF Akrotiri, conducted an armed reconnaissance mission near Al Qaim, close to the border between Syria and Iraq. 4 ISIL armed pick-up trucks were identified, widely dispersed, near a quarry. They were successfully engaged using a combination of Brimstone missiles and Paveway IV guided bombs. Wednesday saw both Tornados and Reaper aircraft providing support to the Kurdish peshmerga, as they consolidated their recent victories over ISIL. A Tornado patrol identified an ISIL armed vehicle at a large former Iraqi military compound, and attacked it with a Brimstone missile. Meanwhile, a Reaper provided overwatch to a US air strike that destroyed a truck which had been converted into a large suicide bomb vehicle, then fired a Hellfire missile at a pick-up truck being used by ISIL to build a road-block of burning tyres.
On Christmas Day, a Tornado patrol returned to the Al Qaim area, tasked with investigating a checkpoint used by ISIL to stop the local civilian population from moving around freely. 2 Brimstone missiles were used to attack a fortified position and a shipping container which had been converted into a guard room. A second pair of GR4s operated further east, and located two armed ISIL vehicles concealed amidst trees on farmland close to the Euphrates, south of the Hadithah Dam. Both vehicles were struck with Brimstones. On 28 December, an RAF Reaper again provided support to the Kurdish peshmerga in the north of the country. Having conducted overwatch for a coalition air strike on 3 ISIL buildings known to have been fortified as heavy machine-gun positions, the Reaper then mounted 2 strikes of its own using Hellfire missiles against enemy fighting positions.
These air operations have been supported throughout by an RAF Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker, whilst a British Army training team has continued its work, alongside coalition partners, to provide infantry training to the peshmerga volunteers.
23 December: The ISIL terrorist organisation has suffered further losses in Iraq thanks to Royal Air Force air strikes delivered at the request of the Iraqi Government. In Anbar province, where the Iraqi army is conducting a number of offensive operations, RAF Tornados GR4s on an armed reconnaissance mission were tasked to investigate a group of vehicles near Ar Rutbah in the early hours of Saturday morning. Four ISIL armoured personnel carriers were identified and successfully attacked with Brimstone missiles.
19 December: Remotely piloted Reapers flew armed reconnaissance missions over Iraq in support of both the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish peshmerga. One Reaper patrol was tasked to locate a group of ISIL terrorists who had fired on advancing Iraqi troops. The Reaper spotted the terrorists planting a number of improvised explosive devices and successfully attacked with a Hellfire missile. In northern Iraq, the Kurdish peshmerga, trained and equipped by a British Army training team, have had notable success in a major offensive across a wide swathe of territory. They are reported to have broken ISIL's long-running siege of Yazidi minorities on Mount Sinjar.
18 December: In recent weeks, Iraqi ground forces have made a number of successful advances against ISIL. The Kurdish peshmerga, trained, equipped and supported from the air by the international coalition, has liberated several key towns, including Rabiyah on the Syrian border, and Zumar. On Friday, 2 RAF Tornados used Paveway IV precision guided bombs to attack a fortified ISIL compound. The early hours of Wednesday morning saw UK Tornados join other coalition aircraft as the peshmerga mounted a further offensive. The same Tornado patrol then flew 150 miles south to provide support for an additional offensive against ISIL in Anbar province. sts to deny local people any freedom of movement along a major road.
12 December: RAF aircraft operating in support of Iraqi ground forces have seen further action against the ISIL terrorist network. A RAF Reaper conducted armed reconnaissance in northern Iraq, where ISIL are facing increasing pressure from the Kurdish peshmerga. The Reaper's mission focused on engineering equipment being used by the terrorists to construct defensive positions to hold up peshmerga advances. The remotely piloted aircraft was able to locate 2 of these engineer vehicles, and attacked them with Hellfire missiles. Further south, another Reaper identified an ISIL armed pick-up truck and engaged it with a Hellfire missile. RAF Tornado GR4s were also providing surveillance for the Iraqi army in Anbar province, and were able to assist Iraqi soldiers engaged in a firefight with terrorists near Ramadi. Paveway precision guided bombs and Brimstone missiles were used to deal with ISIL fighting positions and 3 vehicles, including 2 armoured personnel carriers.
10 December: Iraqi troops fighting the ISIL terrorist organisation have received further air support from the international coalition, including the RAF. Early on Wednesday RAF Tornado GR4s attacked an ISIL storage compound near Rawah in Anbar province with a Paveway IV precision guided bomb. In northern Iraq, a British Army team, working with other coalition partners, continues to provide infantry training to the Kurdish peshmerga, who have already succeeded in liberating a number of areas from ISIL's control, including the towns of Rabiyah and Zumar.
9 December: Military support to the Iraqi government in their fight against ISIL continues, with RAF aircraft conducting further strikes overnight. In the north-west of the country, a patrol of RAF Tornado GR4s was tasked by coalition air controllers to investigate an ISIL site near Mount Sinjar. The aircraft identified an observation tower and guard room in use by the terrorists at a checkpoint controlling a road junction. These were being used to deny the local population any freedom of movement and both were attacked with Brimstone missiles. Elsewhere in Iraq, a RAF Reaper providing surveillance for Iraqi ground forces observed a hostile armoured personnel carrier and successfully attacked it with a Hellfire missile.
8 December: RAF Tornado GR4s have struck further ISIL targets over the weekend while flying in support of Iraqi ground forces. On Friday, an armed reconnaissance patrol of GR4s investigated a reported ISIL position near Rawa in western Iraq. An observation tower and nearby equipment were located and attacked with Paveway IV guided bombs. In the early hours of Saturday morning, a further GR4 patrol in the same area also successfully attacked an ISIL armoured personnel carrier using a Brimstone missile. On Sunday, 2 Tornados were on reconnaissance when Iraqi troops reported coming under fire from terrorists in the vicinity of Bayji. The RAF aircraft responded rapidly, and when they arrived on the scene were able to spot the ISIL position. Since the target was in a built-up area, a very careful assessment was made in cooperation with another coalition surveillance aircraft, and the aircrew used the small and extremely precise Brimstone missile to carry out a successful attack which struck the enemy position. Early this morning, a fourth Tornado patrol operating in north-western Iraq, around Mount Sinjar, located 2 ISIL armoured personnel carriers and hit them with Brimstone missiles.
3 December: RAF aircraft struck a large concentration of ISIL vehicles last night as the UK continued its work as part of an international coalition in the fight against terrorism. Two RAF Tornado GR4s were tasked to investigate reported ISIL activity near Fallujah. A group of ISIL vehicles, including armed pick-up trucks and lorries, was identified and, having confirmed that there were no civilians or friendly forces in close proximity, the jets dropped a cluster of Paveway IV precision guided bombs on the vehicle group. A single truck appeared to survive the initial strike, but was accounted for by a Brimstone missile. A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft also saw action over Iraq, attacking an ISIL vehicle with a Hellfire missile. Combined with the targeted military action in northern Iraq, a British Army training team continues to provide infantry training to Kurdish peshmerga.
1 December: A Tornado GR4 patrol investigated a reported ISIL compound near Tal Afar in north-western Iraq and found a group of armoured personnel carriers. These were successfully attacked using Brimstone missiles. A further pair of Tornado GR4s came to the support of Iraqi forces engaged in a major firefight with ISIL near Tikrit. Two terrorist positions were identified and the precision of the Brimstone missile system allowed both targets to be engaged without risk to friendly forces. Meanwhile, an RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft on a separate patrol was able to attack 3 ISIL positions with Hellfire missiles. Another Reaper conducted a reconnaissance patrol in northern Iraq. Two ISIL positions and a vehicle were located by the Reaper's crew, allowing coalition fast jets to conduct strikes on each in turn. The Reaper then identified a further ISIL position and engaged it with 1 of its own Hellfire missiles.
27 November: British forces have conducted further air missions to assist the Iraqi government's military operations against the ISIL terrorist organisation. RAF Tornado GR4s, working in close conjunction with RAF Reaper aircraft, flew over northern Iraq in support of Kurdish peshmerga who have made several advances against ISIL in recent days. The initial target for the Tornados was an ISIL fighting position, which was struck with Paveway IV guided bombs. The GR4s then joined the Reaper in a combined attack on a group of 9 ISIL vehicles; a mixture of armoured personnel carriers and armed pick-up trucks. The group was struck with a combination of Brimstone and Hellfire missiles, and Paveway IV bombs. During the afternoon of 26 November, another RAF Reaper operating elsewhere in the country was able to assist Iraqi soldiers who were under fire from an ISIL position on top of a building; the Reaper's crew fired a single Hellfire missile. A British Army training team, as part of the international coalition's wider efforts to assist Iraqi forces, continues to run a series of training courses in northern Iraq for Kurdish peshmerga and military personnel are scoping options for future advice and assistance packages for Iraqi security force headquarters. RAF transport aircraft also continue to make substantial deliveries of supplies to the area, including large consignments of military equipment donated by other partners in the coalition. A British Army training team, as part of the international coalition's wider efforts to assist Iraqi forces, continues to run a series of training courses in northern Iraq for Kurdish peshmerga. Military personnel are scoping options for future advice and assistance packages for Iraqi security force headquarters. RAF transport aircraft also continue to make substantial deliveries of supplies to the area, including large consignments of military equipment donated by other partners in the coalition.
20 November: RAF aircraft help Iraqi ground forces counter ISIL activity in the vicinity of the Bayji oil refinery. The refinery, north of Baghdad, has been a focus of ISIL activity for several months. An RAF Tornado GR4 patrol flew in support of the Iraqi forces in the area, and was tasked to engage ISIL terrorists occupying 3 buildings within a compound. Each of these positions was struck with a Paveway IV precision guided bomb. RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft were also in action over Iraq, carrying out armed reconnaissance missions.
19 November: RAF aircraft contributed to a major coalition air strike on an extensive ISIL complex of bunkers and tunnels. Aircraft from seven coalition nations conducted a comprehensive and closely coordinated attack on complex early on Wednesday. RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft, carrying Paveway IV precision guided bombs, formed the UK element. Separately, an RAF Reaper remotely piloted air system (RPAS) was tasked to investigate ISIL activity elsewhere in Iraq. The Reaper's operators were able to locate a bulldozer which coalition forces confirmed was being used to prepare fighting positions to hold up Iraqi advances. A Hellfire missile was used to attack the bulldozer, which initial reports indicate was destroyed.
17 November: RAF Tornados and Reapers conducted further strikes against ISIL. On Thursday evening, Kurdish peshmerga reported coming under fire from a dug-in machine-gun position. An RAF Reaper RPAS succeeded in locating the ISIL position, and attacked it with a Hellfire missile. Before the end of its patrol, the Reaper crew used another Hellfire to engage an ISIL checkpoint set up to control a road. Elsewhere in Iraq, another Reaper, investigating reported ISIL activity in response to advancing Iraqi forces, identified terrorists boarding a truck. Despite the vehicle moving off at high speed, the Reaper crew were able to hit it with a Hellfire. And on Saturday night, Tornado GR4s conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol over western and northern Iraq, supported by a Voyager refuelling tanker. In the western desert, they were tasked to strike an ISIL communications vehicle, which coalition forces had previously identified. A single Brimstone missile was used to conduct an attack.
Later in the patrol, the Tornados were called north to the Mosul area to support Kurdish peshmerga who were under fire from ISIL heavy weapons. Paveway precision guided bombs were used to hit a mortar and firing positions, as well as a bulldozer which the terrorists were using to construct defences against the peshmerga's advance. In northern Iraq, a British army team continues to provide training to the peshmerga as part of a wider programme of training and assistance provided by the international community to both the Iraqi and Kurdish armed forces. RAF transport aircraft provide logistic support, having delivered numerous deliveries of humanitarian aid and military equipment from both the UK and on behalf of other Coalition partners.
13 November: last night a RAF Reaper RPAS was involved in a coalition air strike in the Kirkuk region. The Reaper had been tasked to conduct reconnaissance in an area where Iraqi forces had encountered ISIL fighters. The operators were able to use the Reaper's advanced systems to identify a number of ISIL positions, enabling another coalition aircraft to attack a command post, bunker, observation post and 2 armed pick-up trucks. They then identified a further 3 positions, and, having carefully checked the area, conducted attacks using the Reaper's own Hellfire missiles. Initial analysis indicates that the attacks were successful. Other RAF aircraft also continue to fly missions over Iraq, including Tornado GR4s in the armed reconnaissance role, and surveillance, tanker and transport aircraft. A British Army team remains in Erbil, providing training assistance requested by the Kurdish peshmerga.
10 November: saw the first air strike by a RAF Reaper RPAS. A series of coalition missions were conducted near Bayji, north of Baghdad, where ISIL terrorists were laying improvised explosive devices. The Reaper, using procedures identical to those of manned aircraft, successfully attacked the terrorists using a Hellfire missile. In addition, 2 RAF Tornado GR4s used a Brimstone missile to successfully destroy a shipping container used by the terrorists to store equipment near Al Anbar, west of Baghdad.
4 November: saw further action from RAF aircraft as they continue to assist the Iraqi government in their fight against ISIL. Two Tornado GR4s, flying in support of Iraqi army units in the area surrounding Bayji north of Baghdad, used a Brimstone precision guided missile to successfully destroy an ISIL armed pick-up truck. Other RAF aircraft, including tankers, transport and surveillance platforms also continue to support coalition air operations.
3 November: over the weekend, 2 RAF Tornado GR4s were tasked to investigate ISIL activity near the scene of an earlier successful coalition air strike at Al Qaim, north-west of Baghdad. The aircraft, as part of the international coalition supporting the Iraqi government, identified and destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle using a single Brimstone missile. RAF Tornados were involved in further attacks this morning as a Brimstone missile was again used to attack a heavily armed ISIL pick up truck.
24 October: 2 RAF Tornado GR4s participated in a coordinated coalition air strike overnight (Thursday) at Jar Silah, west of Kirkuk. The aircraft, at the request of the Iraqi government, used Paveway IV precision guided bombs to successfully attack a former Iraqi military base which ISIL were using as a logistics hub for operations in the area. Other RAF aircraft, including Voyager refuelling tankers, and Rivet Joint and Reaper surveillance platforms, also continue to support coalition air operations.
20 October: early last week, 2 Tornado GR4s, while on an armed reconnaissance patrol, were tasked to attack an ISIL main battle tank which coalition forces had been tracking near Ramadi. Following extensive surveillance to ensure that there were no civilians nearby the tank was destroyed in a precision attack using a Brimstone missile.
19 October: RAF Tornados were involved in further successful airstrikes on ISIL terrorists who had attacked an Iraqi military convoy south of Fallujah. Brimstone missiles were used to hit the ISIL forces, including 2 trucks, ahead of additional attacks by other coalition forces in the area which were supported by UK Tornados. Video footage of the Ramadi mission is available on the Defence Imagery website
8 October 2014: Tornado GR4 aircraft completed another round of air strikes in Iraq overnight. The RAF aircraft flew further missions to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.
7 October 2014: 2 Tornado GR4s were tasked to support the Iraqi Army. Brimstone missiles and Paveway IV guided bombs were used to conduct a successful precision attack on ISIL terrorists who were firing on Iraqi troops from a stronghold near Ramadi.
6 October 2014: Tornado GR4s, flying from RAF Akrotiri, have continued their patrols over Iraq as part of the international coalition against ISIL.
5 October 2014: 2 of our aircraft, flying in support of Iraqi security forces, successfully used Paveway IV precision-guided bombs to attack ISIL terrorists, fortified in a building near Ramadi, who were firing on Iraqi soldiers.
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