17.11.2015 Minister of Defence
Royal Air Force aircraft have maintained intensive air operations against ISIL terrorists in Iraq.
On Friday 13 November, Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri, supported by a Voyager air tanker, provided close air support to Iraqi troops fighting in the area around Ramadi. Our aircraft conducted four successful attacks on a set of Da’ish terrorist positions, using a combination of Paveway IV guided bombs and Brimstone missiles. A second Tornado patrol continued to support the Iraqi forces during the night, and destroyed a terrorist armoured personnel carrier with a direct hits from a Brimstone missile. Meanwhile, further north an RAF Reaper assisted an Iraqi unit which reported that, following a firefight, a group of Da’ish terrorists had taken shelter in a derelict industrial site, hiding under an oil tank. Despite the close proximity of the Iraqi soldiers, the Reaper’s crew were able to direct a GBU-12 guided bomb onto the terrorist position and destroy it, without risk to the friendly forces.
As Kurdish troops continued on Sunday 15 November their successful offensive in northern Iraq, an RAF Reaper flew overwatch, destroying a terrorist vehicle with a Hellfire missile. The Reaper then crossed into Syrian airspace where it conducted routine intelligence collection against ISIL and provided surveillance support to the major French air strike on a large terrorist facility near Raqqa. On Monday 16 November, two successive Tornado patrols extended the support to the Kurdish offensive. The first flight used a Paveway bomb to destroy a mortar position which had opened fire on the Kurds. The following mission destroyed a heavy machine-gun near Mosul with a Paveway IV, then proceeded west towards Sinjar. There was heavy cloud, which may have encouraged the terrorists to assume that they were safe from air attack, but working very closely with the Kurdish forces, the GR4s were able to guide a Paveway onto a large group of over 30 Da’ish terrorists who were massing for a counter-attack; the Kurdish unit subsequently reported that the air strike had been highly effective. The Tornado patrol then destroyed another ISIL mortar position south-west of Sinjar.