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Update: air strikes against Daesh

13 June 2016

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

Latest update

- Thursday 9 June – Tornados provided close air support to Iraqi forces in and around Fallujah.
- Friday 10 June – Tornados provided further support over Fallujah, whilst a Reaper and Typhoons prosecuted multiple Daesh targets in northern Iraq.
- Saturday 11 June – A Reaper attacked mortar and rocket teams near Qayyarah in northern Iraq.
- Sunday 12 June – Typhoons and a Reaper attacked further targets near Qayyarah and Mosul, Tornados provided close air support over Fallujah and destroyed a truck-bomb factory in northern Iraq.


Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s continued to provide close air support on Thursday 9 June to Iraqi ground forces fighting to liberate Fallujah. One Tornado flight conducted successful attacks using Paveway IV guided bombs against four Daesh-held buildings from which terrorists were directing machine-gun fire at the Iraqi forces. A second Tornado mission used a Paveway IV to destroy a building west of the city, within which a terrorist armed vehicle was reported by nearby Iraqi troops to be concealed.

On Friday 10 June, a Reaper worked in close conjunction with other coalition aircraft to engage Daesh rocket and mortar teams operating near Qayyarah. The Reaper provided support to two coalition strikes on rocket positions, then used its own Hellfire missiles and a GBU-12 guided bomb against a further set of rocket launchers and a mortar. A Typhoon FGR4 flight was also operating near Qayyarah, and they conducted attacks against five targets: three buildings where Daesh extremists had been spotted gathering and two more rocket launcher positions. North-east of Mosul, another pair of Typhoons destroyed a heavy machine-gun team with a Paveway IV. To the south, Tornados again provided close air support over Fallujah, using their Paveways against three strongpoints which housed two machine-gun teams and a group of terrorists armed with rocket-propelled grenades.

An RAF Reaper continued to hunt terrorist rocket and mortar teams around Qayyarah on Saturday 11 June, conducting three attacks with Hellfire missiles.

Another Reaper patrolled over Qayyarah on Sunday 13 June, and also fired three Hellfires, its targets were two terrorist vehicles and a group of Daesh fighters. Typhoons were also active nearby, and used Paveway IVs to attack two groups of terrorists caught in the open and two Daesh-held buildings. A Typhoon mission also joined Tornados operating over Fallujah; the Typhoons used one Paveway IV against a machine-gun position, whilst the Tornados delivered five very precise attacks in very demanding circumstances, with Iraqi troops extremely close to the terrorist targets. Paveway IVs were used to destroy a rocket team, an anti-tank gun, a heavily armed pick-up truck and a heavy machine-gun team, whilst a Brimstone missile silenced a light machine-gun.

During Sunday night, a pair of Tornados armed with 1000lb Enhanced Paveway II guided bombs conducted a carefully planned strike on a factory to the south-west of Qayyarah where truck-bombs were being built by Daesh. Four EPW IIs hit their targets accurately and initial reports suggest the mission was a success.

Previous air strikes

2 May: Typhoons provided further support to the Iraqi forces near Fallujah, striking a machine-gun team in a bunker and a 23mm anti-aircraft gun. In northern Iraq, Tornados used two Paveways to destroy a Daesh-held building and a nearby weapons store north of Mosul, then flew south to the Qayyarah region where Iraqi forces were engaged in a firefight with a group of terrorists manning a fortified position. Despite the close proximity of the friendly forces, very precise strikes with two Paveways and two Brimstones helped destroy the Daesh group.

3 May: An RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft conducting reconnaissance over the village of Batnay, north of Mosul. A truck-bomb was identified inside a compound and struck using a Hellfire missile, resulting in a very large explosion. The Reaper then provided targeting support to a successful strike by coalition fast jets against a group of Daesh fighters and their vehicle. Two Tornados were also tasked to operate over Batnay, and they successfully destroyed a further Daesh vehicle with a direct hit from a Brimstone. In western Iraq, Typhoons provided further close air support to Iraqi forces near Fallujah, striking a mortar team and their vehicle hidden under trees south of the city.

4 May: A Reaper identified a truck-bomb, concealed underneath a tarpaulin, next to a road in western Iraq. The crew checked that there were no civilians or friendly forces at immediate risk and used a Hellfire missile to score a direct hit on the vehicle, detonating the explosives safely. South of Fallujah, a pair of Typhoon FGR4s used a Paveway IV guided bomb to destroy a building where a group of extremists, armed with a heavy calibre automatic weapon. In the same area, a Tornado GR4 flight dropped four Paveways on a weapons stockpile, two Daesh-held buildings, and a tunnel entrance. RAF aircraft also supported Kurdish forces in the north of the country, where another Tornado flight bombed a group of Daesh fighters and a mortar team, the latter positioned in a small copse of trees.

5 May: Tornado missions in support of Iraqi and Kurdish operations demolished a terrorist position north-east of Mosul on around Mosul and Fallujah, while Typhoons bombed a tunnel and a mortar south-west of Fallujah.

6 May: Daesh terrorists were spotted unloading rockets and mortar projectiles from a number of small boats and a barge on the Euphrates in Anbar province. A Tornado reconnaissance patrol, armed with Brimstone missiles, was first on the scene and prevented the initial load of weapons from being driven away, hitting the terrorists' truck with a Brimstone while they were still loading it. A Paveway-armed flight of Typhoons then arrived and used its bombs to destroy the weapons on the shore, and sink the barge. The same Typhoon flight also attacked a mortar position south-west of Fallujah. A second Tornado flight destroyed two heavy machine-gun positions on the north bank of the Euphrates, downstream from the recently liberated town of Hit. In northern Iraq, Typhoons struck another mortar, north-west of Mosul.

8 May: Typhoons were active south of Fallujah, where a rocket launcher was identified in the open with three known caches of ammunition stored nearby. All four targets were struck with Paveway IV guided bombs and successfully destroyed.

9 May: RAF Typhoon FGR4s, armed with Paveway IV guided bombs, conducted successful attacks against a group of Daesh extremists hiding in a tunnel network dug into a riverbank north-west of Kirkuk and against two rocket launcher positions north of Mosul.

Other Typhoons, and Tornado GR4s provided close air support to the Iraqi troops operating in the Euphrates valley. The Typhoons struck a mortar position north of the Al Asad airbase, while the Tornados destroyed a terrorist command post situated nearby in a riverside building in the midst of a palm grove.

10 May: RAF Sentry airborne command and control platforms have also been playing their part in the overall direction of the air campaign against Daesh. A typical Sentry mission saw it controlling some 40 coalition aircraft operating over Syria and Iraq, including several RAF reconnaissance missions.

11 May: Tornados again assisted Iraqi ground forces in the Euphrates valley, when they came up against a heavily defended Daesh building, which was demolished with a Paveway.

12 May: A Typhoon flight used three Paveways to hit Daesh positions ahead of a Kurdish offensive to the south-west of Kirkuk.

13 May: Two RAF Reapers provided close air support to the peshmerga as they advanced, conducting a total of four attacks with three Hellfires and a GBU-12 guided bomb. They destroyed mortar teams and a Daesh supply truck, as well as providing surveillance support to a coalition air strike which destroyed a terrorist strongpoint. Tornados were meanwhile again assisting Iraqi ground forces in the Euphrates valley, and destroyed two Daesh-held buildings on the northern bank of the river.

15 May: A pair of Typhoons conducted successful simultaneous attacks north-west of Fallujah, which destroyed a bunker and an engineering vehicle.

16 May: RAF support to Iraqi ground forces along the Euphrates continued when Tornados used a Paveway bomb to destroy a small Daesh bunker containing ammunition supplies.

17 May: Tornados operated north of Mosul and conducted a successful attack with Paveways on a group of three buildings near Bashiqah, which housed weapon stockpiles. The same day, a Typhoon flight used a pair of Paveways to destroy two machine-gun positions which Daesh were attempting to establish on the northern bank of the Euphrates near Hit following their recent defeat by the Iraqis in the town.

18 May: Flights of Typhoons and Tornados both participated in a series of attacks on Daesh installations north of Tal Afar. The Typhoons employed eight Paveways to attack a cluster of buildings used by the terrorists for command and control, accommodation, and vehicle and weapon storage. The Tornados delivered four Paveways to destroy a further command post and three ammunition stockpiles.

19 May: Tornados from RAF Akrotiri patrolled the Mosul area. North of the city, they used a Paveway IV guided bomb to destroy a tunnel in which a group of Daesh extremists were based, then moved to the east of Mosul where 15 rocket launchers had been stored by the terrorists. Three Paveway IVs were used against ammunition stockpiles, before three Brimstone missiles were used to destroy the rocket launchers. The small warhead and high precision of the Brimstones avoided any structural damage being caused to the surrounding buildings.

Typhoons were also active over northern Iraq that day, operating north of Tall Afar where they employed a pair of Paveways to demolish a large weapons store, then two more Paveways against two other Daesh-held buildings.

20 May: Intelligence analysis pinpointed two Daesh headquarters in north-west Syria, located 10 and 25 miles respectively north of Aleppo near the fighting along the Mar'a Line. A pair of Tornado GR4s were tasked with their destruction. One of the command posts was in a very solidly constructed building, this was targeted with two Enhanced Paveway II 1000lb bombs. A pair of 500lb Paveway IVs were used against the second headquarters. Both targets were destroyed by direct hits.

With the Iraqi ground forces preparing to launch their offensive to liberate Fallujah, Typhoons provided close air support to their operations around the outskirts of the city. A stockpile of components for improvised explosive devices was destroyed with one Paveway and a terrorist strong-point with a second.

22 May: Further close air support was provided around Fallujah, when Tornados bombed a tunnel complex where weapons and ammunition were stored.

23 May: Tornados used a Brimstone missile against a further mortar team near Fallujah. Not far away, Iraqi ground forces were in close combat north of Habbaniyah assisted by a pair of RAF Typhoons that struck a mortar team and a rocket position with Paveways. In the north of the country two more Typhoons contributed to a coalition strike on Daesh installations west of Mosul, a workshop preparing truck-bombs was assigned as the RAF target and successfully demolished by a Paveway. Across the border, in eastern Syria, an RAF Reaper identified a terrorist checkpoint north-west of Dayr az Zawr and destroyed it with a Hellfire missile.

24 May: A Royal Air Force Reaper remotely piloted aircraft patrolled near Bayji, where Daesh terrorists were engaged in combat with Iraqi forces. The Reaper used one Hellfire missile to destroy an artillery gun that was firing on the Iraqi troops, it then used a second Hellfire to break up an attempted Daesh attack along a gully. In northern Iraq, Tornado GR4s attacked a Daesh-held building near Qayyarah with a Paveway IV guided bomb. With the Iraqi offensive to liberate Fallujah well under way, a pair of Paveway-armed Typhoons provided close air support west of the city, where they destroyed three stockpiles of terrorist weapons and ammunition.

25 May: Typhoon operations west of Fallujah continued, when they patrolled the area leading to Habbaniyah and on to the outskirts of Ramadi. They conducted a series of Paveway IV attacks, accounting for two Daesh positions, including a heavy machine-gun team, as well as an artillery piece and a bunker.

26 May: They returned to the same area the following day, hitting an ammunition cache that had been spotted near the destroyed bunker. They then struck a building north-east of Fallujah where a large group of terrorists had been reported massing for a counter-attack. In the north, Tornados bombed two terrorist-held buildings and a tunnel near Mosul. Later in the day, a Typhoon flight was tasked with eliminating a group of suicide bombers who had been spotted north of Baghdad, preparing for an attempted diversionary attack on the security cordon around the city; a Paveway IV demolished the building in which they were hiding.

27 May: Intensive air operations along the Euphrates valley around Fallujah and the wider area continued. Typhoons silenced two sniper teams with Paveway strikes, then intervened in a closely fought combat between Iraqi troops and Daesh near Habbaniyah; particular care and precision was needed to avoid causing casualties to the Iraqi forces, but three successful Paveway attacks were accomplished. A second Typhoon flight destroyed a light anti-aircraft gun that was firing on Iraqi personnel near Hit, whilst a pair of Tornados used a Brimstone missile to destroy a truck-bomb in the same area. A Reaper was also active over the Euphrates, using a Hellfire to destroy a vehicle-mounted terrorist team, armed with rocket-propelled grenades, on the outskirts of Fallujah.

29 May: Despite these efforts around Fallujah, the Kurdish forces in the north were not neglected: Tornados bombed a mortar position near Mosul. There were two further attacks near Mosul on Sunday 29 May, conducted by Typhoons against another mortar position and a large truck-bomb that was being prepared for use. In the south, near Hit, a Tornado patrol destroyed a Daesh vehicle with a Brimstone missile.

30 May: Intelligence work had identified two factory sites in northern Syria, between Al Bab and Manbij, producing improvised explosive devices. A pair of Tornados, armed with 1,000lb Enhanced Paveway II bombs, conducted a deliberate strike on the two sites. A Tornado reconnaissance patrol near Mosul used a Paveway to attack a group of terrorists, and a Brimstone to destroy their support vehicle. Typhoons also destroyed three weapon stockpiles to the east of Mosul. Another Typhoon mission maintained a close air support presence over Fallujah, and, working very closely with a coalition surveillance aircraft, used Paveway IVs to attack an armed truck and a Daesh fighting position.

31 May: Tornados used Paveway IV guided bombs to destroy two heavy machine-guns that were threatening the advancing Iraqi forces; one, mounted on a truck concealed in a palm grove north of Fallujah, the second in a building on the southern outskirts of the city. In northern Iraq, a Typhoon and a Reaper provided assistance to the Kurdish peshmerga and Iraqi forces.

The Typhoons destroyed the headquarters of a local Daesh commander to the south-east of Mosul, using Paveway IVs, while the Reaper assisted a coalition aircraft in targeting an engineering vehicle used for constructing defences near Qayyarah, then used its own Hellfire missiles against two terrorist mortar teams. Both the Typhoons and the Reaper then flew south to add their weight to air operations over Fallujah. The Typhoons successfully attacked a third heavy machine-gun position. The Reaper kept close watch on a group of terrorists test-firing and loading weapons, including a heavy machine gun, onto a supply truck. The reaper then destroyed the truck with a direct hit from a Hellfire missile.

Further west, along the Euphrates, near the recently liberated town of Hit, a second Reaper provided support to Iraqi forces consolidating the security of the surrounding area. The Reaper destroyed both a machine-gun team and a vehicle carrying a recoilless anti-tank gun with its Hellfires.

1 June: Reapers were in action again, one patrolled the skies above Qayyarah, where a camouflaged set of loaded rocket launch rails were spotted and destroyed with a Hellfire missile. A second Reaper patrolled over eastern Syria and western Iraq, and located a terrorist check-point on the Iraqi side of the border, west of Al Qa'im, which was stopping the free movement of traffic. Again, a Hellfire missile was employed and the check-point successfully attacked.

Two Tornado missions provided reconnaissance and close air support to Iraqi forces around Fallujah. One pair of Tornados used Paveway IVs to conduct simultaneous attacks on two Daesh-held buildings close to a canal to the south of the city; one building housed a terrorist sniper team, the other a recoilless anti-tank artillery piece. Both targets were destroyed by direct hits. The second Tornado flight successfully silenced a heavy-machine-gun positioned in a third Daesh strongpoint after it opened fire on the advancing Iraqi troops.

2 June: Three successive flights of Tornado GR4s and Typhoon FGR4s provided close air support to Iraqi units on the southern outskirts of the city. One Tornado flight conducted four attacks with Paveway IV guided bombs, striking a bunker and three teams of terrorists armed with an anti-tank gun, rocket-propelled grenades and a heavy machine-gun. A second Tornado mission delivered simultaneous attacks on two Daesh-held buildings, then a third bombing attack on a heavy machine-gun position that had opened fire on Iraqi troops. The Typhoon flight dealt with a further artillery piece, using a Paveway IV.

In northern Iraq, another pair of Typhoons struck a group of terrorists spotted advancing towards peshmerga positions near Kisik, then headed to an area south-east of Mosul where they used three Paveways to attack more extremists mustering in and around a large warehouse.

3 June: Operations over southern Fallujah continued when a pair of Typhoons conducted Paveway attacks on two Daesh strongpoints which had opened fire on Iraqi forces with machine-guns and other weapons. Two Reaper remotely piloted aircraft patrolled over the city the following day, exploiting their long endurance and excellent surveillance capabilities to provide persistent overwatch for the Iraqi troops on the ground.

During the course of Saturday, the Reapers delivered five attacks, using two GBU-12 guided bombs and three Hellfire missiles, against two machine-gun teams, two Daesh firing positions and a tunnel network. They also provided assistance to five other air strikes conducted by coalition fast jets on terrorist positions.

5 June: Tornados were again in action over southern Fallujah. A factory producing improvised truck-bombs was struck with a pair of Paveway IVs, destroying two vehicles that were being prepared for use, and two further attacks with Paveways accounted for two anti-tank weapons.

6 June: Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s continued to provide close air support to the Iraqi operation to liberate Fallujah. A coalition surveillance aircraft spotted a group of Daesh terrorists taking up position in a building to the west of the city, allowing them to be quickly targeted by the Typhoons using a Paveway IV guided bomb. In northern Iraq, intelligence had located a large truck-bomb factory near Mosul and two RAF Tornado GR4s armed with 1000lb Enhanced Paveway II guided bombs were tasked with its destruction. A single EPW II destroyed the factory.

7 June: Operations around Fallujah continued when Tornados successfully attacked a weapons and ammunition stockpile hidden to the south-east of the city.

8 June: Tornados conducted three attacks to support Iraqi ground forces engaged in firefights with terrorists inside Fallujah. Despite the close proximity of the Iraqi forces, the GR4s were able to deliver simultaneous attacks with Paveway IVs against two strongpoints housing Daesh machine-gun and artillery teams. They then struck a further machine-gun position when it also opened fire on the Iraqis.

Typhoons also contributed to the Fallujah operations, using Paveway IVs against two groups of Daesh extremists armed with a light machine-gun and rocket-propelled grenades. In northern Iraq, another Typhoon mission successfully attacked a Daesh-held building east of Mosul, whilst a Reaper used a GBU-12 bomb to demolish a building where another coalition surveillance aircraft had observed terrorists unloading supplies. A second Reaper patrolled over Syria and employed a Hellfire missile to destroy a Daesh truck travelling at speed on the open road south of Raqqa.

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