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Update: air strikes in Iraq

2 November 2015

British forces have continued to conduct air operations to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIL.

Latest update

Royal Air Force and other coalition aircraft have provided intensive air support for Iraqi ground forces as they continue to close in on ISIL terrorists occupying Ramadi.

A key requirement for the Iraqi units around Ramadi and in Anbar province is accurate intelligence on terrorist movements. RAF Tornado GR4, Sentinel and Reaper aircraft are playing a significant role in providing this with their combination of advanced surveillance sensors and precision-guided weaponry.

On Wednesday 21 October, two Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri identified a group of armed ISIL terrorists in Ramadi and successfully engaged them with a Paveway IV guided bomb.

On Friday 23 October, the crew of a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft identified an ISIL armoured personnel carrier, concealed under a large building. Despite the difficulty this target posed, the crew were able to position to destroy the vehicle with a Hellfire missile. The Reaper then supported another coalition aircraft in a successful strike on a second terrorist vehicle which had been identified nearby.

On Saturday 24 October, another Reaper worked closely with coalition jets to carry out a series of precision attacks on terrorist positions. The Reaper identified two terrorist sniper positions, which were struck by guided bombs from a coalition aircraft. Advancing Iraqi troops then came into close combat with a group of terrorists; the Reaper maintained close observation on the firefight, and was able to eliminate one terrorist team, without endangering the Iraqi soldiers, using a Hellfire missile. When the terrorists retreated to positions in a trench and a culvert, the Reaper provided surveillance support to a coalition air strike which destroyed the trench, and conducted a second Hellfire strike itself on the extremists.

The following day, Sunday 25 October, an RAF Reaper again joined forces with coalition fast jets to help them target two terrorist-held buildings which were successfully attacked, then mounted two strikes with Hellfire missiles on ISIL terrorists as they attempted to reposition themselves.

Previous air strikes

1 October: An RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft patrolled ahead of Kurdish peshmerga as they conducted their latest offensive against the ISIL terror network in northern Iraq. The Reaper's crew identified a team of armed terrorists moving on foot and successfully engaged them with a Hellfire missile. The Reaper then provided support to a coalition air strike on an ISIL facility, where car-bombs were being assembled; our aircraft used its sensors to sweep the surrounding area, ensuring there was no risk to civilians, before the air strike went ahead and destroyed the target.

2 October: Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri also provided close air support to the peshmerga, south-west of Kirkuk. ISIL extremists were spotted and were struck by a Paveway IV guided bomb. Meanwhile, further south and west, a Reaper provided surveillance support to a coalition air strike on an ISIL-held building, then used one of its Hellfires to destroy an armoured truck. The Reaper then provided targeting support to another coalition aircraft as it engaged a terrorist heavy machine-gun concealed under trees.

4 October: RAF GR4s patrolling over western Iraq, where they destroyed an anti-aircraft gun position with a Paveway IV. A Reaper was also operating over Anbar province, and it supported coalition air attacks on two Da'ish buildings and a heavy machine-gun.

5 October: A Reaper, again operating over the west of the country, identified a terrorist team as they planted an improvised explosive device, and successfully attacked them with a Hellfire.

7 October: A pair of Tornados assisted Kurdish security forces when an advance west of Kirkuk came under fire from an ISIL mortar. The terrorist heavy weapon was struck by a Paveway IV precision guided bomb.

8 October: A Reaper located an ISIL check-point, used to prevent local civilians from enjoying any freedom of movement. The Reaper's crew were able to conduct a successful attack using a Hellfire missile.

11 October: Tornado GR4s again provided close air support to the Kurdish forces, on this occasion north of Mosul. As with the incident earlier in the week, a terrorist mortar opened fire on the peshmerga, but was silenced by a Paveway IV strike.

16 October: GR4s used a Paveway to destroy an ISIL heavy machine-gun position.

18 October: A Reaper patrolling ahead of Iraqi troops identified two large truck-bombs and successfully attacked them with Hellfire missiles.



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