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Military

Update: air strikes against Daesh

1 March 2016

British forces have continued to conduct air operations in the fight against Daesh

Latest update

Royal Air Force aircraft have inflicted further losses on Daesh terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

  • Wednesday 24 February – Tornados destroyed a terrorist weapons factory in Mosul.
  • Thursday 25 February – Tornados and Typhoons conducted five attacks in Iraq and Syria, silencing mortar and machine-gun positions, and destroying bunkers.
  • Friday 26 February – Tornados and Typhoons conducted three attacks in northern Iraq against Daesh mortar and rocket teams, and a checkpoint.
  • Sunday 28 February – Tornados and Typhoons conducted three attacks in northern Iraq against mortar and sniper teams; a Reaper conducted five attacks in northern Syria.

Detail

RAF Tornado GR4s, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, successfully bombed a Daesh weapons factory in Mosul on Wednesday 24 February.

The following day, Typhoon FGR4s patrolled the area north-west of Mosul, and assisted Kurdish peshmerga forces who had come under fire from a terrorist mortar position, destroying it with a Paveway IV guided bomb. A second Typhoon mission, near Tall Afar, used a Paveway to eliminate a machine-gun team that was also firing on Iraqi forces. Further south, Tornados operated near Fallujah, where they delivered two successful Paveway attacks on two groups of terrorists entrenched in a network of bunkers. In eastern Syria, a Tornado patrol supported Syrian Democratic Forces as they mounted an offensive against Daesh near As Shadadi; our aircraft destroyed a terrorist mortar position with a Paveway IV.

On Friday 26 February, Tornados and Typhoons flew missions over northern Iraq. Typhoons bombed a Daesh mortar team that was firing on Kurdish troops near Kisik, while a pair of Tornados used a Brimstone missile to attack a checkpoint east of Bayji. They then headed north to the Mosul area where they used a Paveway against a rocket-launcher position.

Typhoons and Tornados were active again over northern Iraq on Sunday 28 February: a Typhoon flight struck two mortar positions with Paveways and Tornados also used a Paveway IV to demolish a large isolated building from which a terrorist sniper was engaging Kurdish forces south of Sinjar. Across the border in northern Syria, an RAF Reaper conducted five attacks with Hellfire missiles and a GBU-12 guided bomb against Daesh extremists, including an armed team in a truck, near Tell Dehlis.

In addition to these strikes, the Tornados, Typhoons and Reapers undertook extensive reconnaissance activity, complemented by the strategic surveillance capabilities of the RAF's Sentinel aircraft. On the ground, British military instructors continue to play a major role in the coalition programme to help train and equip the Iraqi security forces. The equipment and training provided by the UK to help counter the threat from improvised explosive devices is proving of particular importance as the Iraqis work to clear the streets of Ramadi of thousands of booby-traps left behind by the defeated terrorists in an attempt to prevent the civilian population from returning.

Previous air strikes

1 February: Two Tornados flew reconnaissance and close air support for the Kurdish peshmerga in northern Iraq. Near Kisik Junction, they used a Brimstone missile and three Paveways to attack three rocket launchers and a Daesh vehicle, then over Qayyarah, a further Brimstone and Paveway destroyed an ammunition truck and a mortar position. Typhoons operated in the area of Ramadi, where they conducted successful attacks on three terrorist strongpoints.

2 February: Typhoons worked closely with other coalition aircraft to target a group of terrorists manoeuvring in the open near Ramadi, hitting them with a Paveway IV guided bomb. The Typhoons then flew to the area north of Habbaniyah, where they conducted a Paveway attack on a terrorist-held building. Further north, a pair of Tornado GR4s bombed a Daesh mortar team that was firing on Iraqi troops near Bayji.

3 February: Typhoons and Tornados providing close air support to Iraqi forces clearing Daesh positions in the area around Ramadi. The Typhoons destroyed a terrorist building with a Paveway, then used two more Paveways to engage a pair of Daesh groups, armed with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, which were engaged in close combat with Iraqi troops. Despite the proximity of the friendly forces, the precision of the Paveways and careful planning by the aircrew allowed both targets to be struck successfully. The Tornados similarly had to attack a series of Daesh positions close to Iraqi forces, and these were also highly successful: Paveway attacks accounted for four groups of terrorist fighters, including one heavy machine-gun and two mortar teams, and when machine-gunners opened fire on the Iraqis from the windows of a single storey building, the Tornados launched a pair of Brimstone missiles which accurately struck both windows.

Later in the day, Typhoons used a Paveway to destroy a mechanical excavator which had been converted into a large booby-trap, positioned amongst trees next to a road east of Ramadi.

4 February: RAF patrols over the countryside around Ramadi and Fallujah. Typhoons bombed three Daesh positions, as well as a group of terrorists caught moving in the open, whilst Tornado GR4s again attacked extremists engaged in very close combat with Iraqi forces; Paveways were used to destroy a heavy machine-gun team and a strongpoint, but in one instance, the terrorists were so close to the Iraqi troops that even a Paveway could not be used safely. Fortunately, the Brimstone missile's precision and small warhead allowed one to be fired into the midst of the Daesh fighters to significant effect. The following day, Typhoons operated around Habbaniyah and Ramadi, using eight Paveways to destroy an armed truck, a recoilless gun, two Daesh-held buildings, a command and control position, two weapons caches and a workshop producing truck-bombs.

7 February: Tornados used a Brimstone missile to destroy a truck-bomb near Habbaniyah, while Typhoon missions near Ramadi successfully attacked a garage containing an armed pick-up truck which was firing through the doorway at advancing Iraqi soldiers, and a terrorist-held building. Throughout all these missions, the Typhoons and Tornados were supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, with Sentinel aircraft providing essential strategic surveillance support to the coalition.

9 February: A pair of Typhoon FGR4s, supported by an RAF Voyager air refuelling tanker, destroyed an armoured vehicle, converted into a large truck-bomb, blocking a road with a Paveway IV guided bomb south-west of Kirkuk.10 February: Typhoons provided close air support to Iraqi troops engaged in close combat with Daesh extremists north of Habbaniyah. The Typhoons struck the terrorists with a pair of Paveway IVs.

11 February: As Iraqi ground forces clear the remaining pockets of Daesh within Ramadi city they are also turning their efforts to Daesh strongpoints to the north and east of the city, supported by coalition aircraft. A pair of Typhoons, working in close cooperation with a coalition surveillance aircraft, successfully conducted two Paveway attacks on groups of terrorist fighters. Later that day, a second Typhoon mission over the area used Paveways to destroy a heavy machine-gun position and an accommodation block used by Daesh.

12 February: Typhoons were also active east of Ramadi, bombing two groups of terrorists, as well as a team planting improvised explosive devices.

14 February: A Tornado mission successfully targeted a compound north of Habbaniyah, where around 16 Daesh extremists had been observed, striking it with a pair of Paveway IVs.

15 February: Two Tornado GR4s conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol over northern Iraq in support of Kurdish security forces. A group of Daesh extremists were identified in a pair of buildings south-west of Kirkuk and were able to attack both at the same time with Paveway IV bombs. A Brimstone missile destroyed a terrorist vehicle and before the Tornados returned to base a Paveway was used to attack a weapons cache.Meanwhile, RAF Typhoons alongside other coalition aircraft conducted a series of coordinated attacks on Daesh facilities. The targets included a large weapons store at Abu Kamal, on the Syrian bank of the Euphrates which was destroyed with four Paveway IVs. An RAF Reaper provided surveillance support to several of the other coalition attacks.

16 February: Tornados patrolled over northern Iraq and came to the assistance of advancing Kurdish forces who were under fire from Daesh heavy machine-gun and mortar teams south-east of Mosul. Paveway attacks successfully dealt with the threat.

17 February: A Tornado mission interrupted a Daesh team preparing to fire nine artillery rockets, hitting them with Paveway to impact the middle of the line of launch rails.

18 February: RAF Tornado GR4s and a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft conducted counter-Daesh missions over Syria. North of Abu Kamal, a Tornado patrol used a pair of Brimstone missiles to strike a large engineering vehicle being used for wellhead repair and maintenance in a Daesh-controlled oilfield. Meanwhile, north-west of Raqqa, a Reaper worked closely with coalition jets to prosecute a group of Daesh extremists who were attacking members of the moderate Syrian armed opposition. The Reaper provided targeting and surveillance support to three successful coalition air attacks, then conducted a fourth attack using its own Hellfire missile. Over Iraq, other Tornados continued to support Iraqi army operations around Ramadi, in the course of which they used Paveway IVs to bomb three Daesh-held buildings.

19 February: Typhoon FGR4s and Tornados patrolled over western Iraq. North-east of Ramadi, an Iraqi helicopter reported coming under fire from an anti-aircraft gun concealed beneath a carport. A Paveway IV delivered by a Typhoon removed the threat. The Typhoons then dropped two Paveways on a large building where a group of terrorists, armed with rocket-propelled grenades, were holding out against the advancing Iraqi troops. North-east of Al Asad airbase, a coalition surveillance aircraft identified a set of five rocket launchers and an ammunition stockpile set up in a palm grove, and was able to guide in a Tornado flight which destroyed both targets with Paveways, then used a third Paveway to eliminate a group of terrorists caught in the open. Later in the day, a second Tornado patrol used Paveways to destroy four Daesh-held buildings north-east of Ramadi, including two used to prepare truck-bombs. In northern Iraq, a Typhoon mission operated north-east of Mosul, supporting the Kurdish peshmerga, and destroyed two buildings from which the terrorists had been fighting. Over Syria, a Reaper and other coalition aircraft supported moderate Syrian opposition forces north-west of Raqqa; our Reaper assisted in one coalition air strike, then used a Hellfire to destroy an Daesh improvised armoured vehicle.

20 February: RAF Reapers in action over both Syria and Iraq again. North-west of Raqqa, a Reaper tracked a Daesh machine-gun team that had been firing on Syrian opposition fighters. The terrorists retreated to a small building, where they were joined by other extremists. The Reaper then successfully attacked the group with a Hellfire missile. In Iraq, again north-east of Ramadi, another Reaper worked closely with another coalition remotely piloted aircraft to provide close air support to the Iraqi ground forces. The Reaper assisted its coalition partner in an attack, then conducted two attacks with its own Hellfires on two Daesh groups engaged in close combat with the Iraqi troops.

22 February: A Typhoon flight patrolled east of Mosul and was able to identify a Daesh team that was planting improvised explosive devices, they hit with a Paveway.



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