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Early on Monday, Tornado GR4s provided close air support to Iraqi army operations approximately 70 kilometres north west of Baghdad, and dropped 2 Paveway IVs on ISIL positions engaged in a firefight with the Iraqi troops.
In the afternoon, a pair of RAF Tornado GR4s conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol to assist the Iraqi armed forces in their offensive operations against ISIL around Bayji. Two ISIL armoured vehicles were identified in a building and were attacked with 2 Paveway IV precision guided bombs, scoring direct hits.
In the morning an RAF Tornado GR4 patrol worked closely with a coalition surveillance platform to provide overwatch for Kurdish peshmerga, who were engaged in close combat with ISIL, also known as Da’ish, terrorists near Mosul. When an ISIL mortar position opened fire on the pehsmerga, the GR4s were able to respond with a Brimstone missile which scored a direct hit.
Early on Saturday morning, another Tornado pair patrolled western Iraq, near Al Qa’im, close to the Syrian border. Two heavily armed ISIL trucks were identified and attacked with Brimstone missiles. The GR4s also located an ISIL armoured personnel carrier and conducted a further Brimstone attack; initial analysis indicates that all three vehicles were destroyed.
An armed reconnaissance patrol by a Reaper over western Iraq spotted a checkpoint manned by ISIL, denying the local population any freedom of movement. Having checked the area for any risk to civilians, the Reaper’s crew attacked the checkpoint with a Hellfire missile.
One of our Reapers provided close air support to an Iraqi unit in combat with ISIL terrorists in Diyala province. The Reaper spotted a machine-gun team firing on the Iraqi troops, and conducted a successful attack with a Hellfire missile. A second machine gun then opened fire on the Iraqis, and the Reaper conducted a further strike with another Hellfire.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, 2 RAF Tornado GR4s were conducting an armed reconnaissance patrol in western Iraq when they were tasked to investigate suspected ISIL engineering work near an oil installation. The GR4s located a bulldozer being used by the terrorists and destroyed it with a Paveway IV precision guided bomb. An armed pick-up truck was also identified and this was also successfully struck with a Paveway. The GR4s were as usual supported by an RAF Voyager tanker, whilst Sentry surveillance and control aircraft help coordinate the international coalition’s air campaign to support the Iraqi forces.
On the afternoon of Wednesday 18 February, 2 RAF Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri conducted an armed reconnaissance mission over northern Iraq to provide close air support to the Kurdish peshmerga, who have conducted a series of successful offensives to liberate their countrymen from the terrorists. The Kurds reported coming under rocket fire, and after an intensive search the GR4s were able to locate an ISIL truck-mounted rocket launcher, and attacked it, scoring a direct hit with a Brimstone missile. The Kurdish peshmerga are also receiving infantry training from a team of coalition instructors, including British military personnel.
RAF Tornado GR4s provided close air support to peshmerga units in the front line against ISIL. A terrorist position was identified in north-western Iraq, on the banks of the River Tigris, and attacked with a Paveway IV precision guided bomb.
A Tornado patrol operating in the far west of Iraq, conducted an armed reconnaissance mission searching for terrorist movement across the open desert. An ISIL armed vehicle was detected, and attacked with a Brimstone missile. RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft have also continued to provide overwatch to Iraqi ground forces, and the Tornado patrols are routinely supported by Voyager air-to-air refuelling tankers, with RAF Sentry command and surveillance aircraft playing a key role in the coordination and control of the coalition’s overall air campaign. At sea, HMS Dauntless is operating as part of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group, while HMS Kent is escorting the French Charles de Gaulle carrier group; both groups are currently committed to air operations over Iraq.
Tornado GR4s, based at RAF Akrotiri, provided close air support to Iraqi ground forces engaged in close combat with ISIL in Anbar province. A large building being used as a stronghold by the terrorist organisation was identified and a precision attack was conducted with a Paveway IV bomb which demolished the building without endangering friendly forces.
A Reaper used Hellfire missiles to engage two more ISIL positions which were firing on Iraqi soldiers.
Military support is just one part of the UK government’s contribution to the global coalition strategy to defeat ISIL, we are also taking action to counter the terrorist network’s finances, are restricting the flow of foreign fighters and have provided vital humanitarian relief to help those affected by ISIL’s brutality. The RAF contribution includes Reaper remotely piloted aircraft, which, like the Tornados, provide reconnaissance and close air support to the Iraqi ground forces; a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker; a Sentry airborne surveillance and command aircraft; and air transport aircraft as necessary. British military training teams continue to teach infantry and first aid skills to the Kurdish peshmerga, and liaison teams are embedded within Iraqi and coalition headquarters. Having previously provided military equipment to the Iraqi forces, Britain plans to gift improvised explosive device (IED) detectors to help the Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers protect themselves against the numerous improvised explosive devices on which ISIL are increasingly relying as they are forced back by successful offensives. In the Gulf, the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless is operating in direct support of the US Navy’s aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, which provides a significant part of the coalition’s air effort.
An RAF Reaper provided close air support to Iraqi soldiers engaged in close combat with ISIL in the west of the country. The Reaper used Hellfire missiles to attack a group of terrorists and a heavy machine-gun position. The aircraft then supported coalition fast jets striking additional terrorist positions nearby. A second Reaper also ensured that Iraqi soldiers received air support into the night, identifying two more ISIL positions, which were struck by coalition jets. The Reaper then spotted another terrorist position, firing on the Iraqi troops, and intervened with a successful Hellfire strike.
In the early hours of Friday morning, an RAF Tornado GR4 patrol conducted reconnaissance to the north-west of Haditha. An ISIL armoured personnel carrier was located, and destroyed with a Brimstone missile. Later on Friday, a Reaper was called in by Iraqi forces to deal with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. The vehicle was successfully destroyed with Hellfire.