News story: LATEST: air strikes in Iraq

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  1. Updated: Operation update


    Royal Air Force 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.

    RAF Tornado strike against an ISIL vehicle

    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.

    Video footage of the Al Qaim mission

    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.

    For more information see ISIL: UK government response page on GOV.UK

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