RAF Tornado crews have recently launched strikes against Taliban bombers.
A Tornado GR4 crew from 12 (Bomber) Squadron unleashed a Brimstone missile attack on an insurgent attempting to lay a number of improvised explosive devices in the ground in Kandahar. He was killed instantly and a search of the area discovered four trip-wire bombs and another with a pressure plate.
The attack was called in by an ISAF Forward Air Controller who spotted the man burying the devices near a convoy route in the area.
In a separate attack during the same mission, another 12 Squadron Tornado tracked and destroyed a suspect vehicle carrying explosives used to manufacture the deadly devices.
The crew were forced to abandon a planned missile attack and opened fire with a 27mm cannon to minimise the threat to civilians, bringing the vehicle to a standstill.
The vehicle was destroyed as the explosives detonated. One of the RAF pilots involved in the attack said:
It is satisfying to know that we are able to protect the troops on the ground without endangering local civilians, while at the same time stopping the insurgents from carrying out another major attack.
The Tornado attacks came in the last week of 12 Squadron’s tour and have been seen as a major blow against the IED menace which is the biggest killer of ISAF personnel in Afghanistan.
Wing Commander Jim Frampton, Officer Commanding 12 (Bomber) Squadron, said:
It’s been really busy for us providing close air support. We’ve flown 50 per cent more missions than normal.
The successful engagement of this vehicle put another consignment of homemade explosives, destined for use in IEDs against British and coalition ground forces, out of reach of the insurgents.
RAF Tornados play a major role in the fight against the Taliban’s IED terror campaign. The aircraft are fitted with RAPTOR and Litening III surveillance pods capable of transmitting high-resolution, real-time video and imagery to commanders on the ground.
Last month II Squadron RAF Regiment and US Marines were involved in a major assault on a Taliban bomb-making factory, destroying a large cache of explosives and heroin.