1 October 2015 Ministry of Defence
A series of air strikes by Royal Air Force aircraft have helped Iraqi troops maintain relentless pressure on the ISIL terrorist network over recent days. RAF Tornado GR4 and Reaper aircraft have flown daily armed reconnaissance missions as part of the coalition air campaign to support the Iraqi units fighting the terrorists in the front line.
On Sunday 27 September, an RAF Reaper on a surveillance mission over northern Iraq observed a number of armed terrorists as they moved between buildings in a pair of compounds and successfully attacked three terrorist positions, using Hellfire missiles.
On Tuesday 29 September, again in northern Iraq, a Reaper tracked a car carrying a number of ISIL extremists to a building, which was destroyed with a Hellfire. The Reaper was also able to support two other coalition air strikes in the immediate area, which destroyed a vehicle and a fighting position.
The following day, Wednesday 30 September, two Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri, supported by a Voyager refuelling tanker, provided close air support to Kurdish peshmerga advancing west of Kirkuk, who had come under fire from two ISIL heavy machine-gun positions. Both positions were successfully hit using Paveway IVs, removing the threat posed to the Kurdish troops.
Previous air strikes
1 September: A Reaper patrolling in western Iraq, where it spotted a vehicle check-point close to the Syrian border being used by the terrorists to prevent the movement of traffic. The Reaper’s crew conducted a successful strike with a Hellfire.
2 September: Another Reaper provided air support to Iraqi army units operating in western Iraq. The aircraft conducted four successful attacks on terrorist targets. With the ISIL in Ramadi increasingly cut-off and isolated by the Iraqi security forces, terrorists were spotted loading hundreds of mortar and rocket rounds onto a boat, which then attempted to smuggle the ammunition down the Euphrates river. A direct hit by one of the Reaper’s Hellfires sank the boat and its cargo.
The Reaper then destroyed three vehicles – two armoured trucks and a bull-dozer - using a pair of Hellfire missiles and a Paveway guided bomb, with significant secondary explosions confirming large quantities of explosives. Elsewhere in Iraq, a second Reaper successfully attacked a terrorist position with a Hellfire, whilst GR4s located an enemy engineering vehicle near Mosul, constructing a fortified position, and destroyed it with a Paveway.
3 September: A Reaper observed another load of mortar and rocket ammunition being prepared for transport and destroyed it with a Hellfire.
4 September: A Reaper patrol supported two coalition air strikes on terrorist positions, then conducted its own attack on an ISIL team armed with rocket-propelled grenades, after they had fired on Iraqi forces.
6 September: Two Tornado GR4s conducted four Paveway strikes on a series of machine-gun nests near Sinjar, neutralising the threat these presented to the Kurds.
7 September: A Reaper destroyed an ammunition truck, whilst the reconnaissance work of another Reaper discovered a large terrorist network of bunkers and trenches: our aircraft provided targeting support to three successful attacks by coalition fast and conducted five attacks with its own weapons. Near Bayji, a pair of Tornado GR4s flew close air support for Iraqi troops, and used Paveway IVs to destroy three buildings held by terrorist teams.
8 September: A Reaper patrolling over western Iraq discovered several large stockpiles of explosives close to the Euphrates River. It destroyed one of the stockpiles with its own Hellfire missile – a skiff waiting to transport the explosives was sunk in the blast - and helped coalition fast jets target three more. The Reaper’s crew also provided support to successful air strikes on a terrorist-held compound and a fighting position.
9 September: A Reaper used Hellfires to destroy two vehicles being prepared as car-bombs.
10 September: Another Reaper patrol identified a group of heavily armed ISIL fighters gathering in a building. Both the building and a vehicle used by the terrorists were destroyed with Hellfires, and the Reaper also assisted coalition aircraft in 13 successful attacks on further terrorist positions nearby. Elsewhere in the country, a second Reaper conducted two attacks on extremists attempting to attack Iraqi troops, whilst in northern Iraq, a pair of Tornado GR4s used a Paveway IV precision guided bomb to destroy a building from which the terrorists had been firing a heavy weapon at the Kurdish peshmerga.
11 September: A Reaper supported a Kurdish offensive operation to clear an ISIL-held village, in the course of which it engaged a defensive position with a Hellfire.
13 September: Again in northern Iraq, near to Sinjar, a Paveway from a Tornado mission destroyed a terrorist group, armed with rocket-propelled grenades.
14 September: The Tornado GR4s patrolling near Mosul, where they attacked a rocket-firing position, while a Reaper operating over Anbar province, struck a pair of terrorists who had been spotted preparing a booby-trap, then supported two further coalition air strikes in the area.
15 September: A Reaper assisted coalition strikes on ISIL rocket launchers in western Iraq, then used Hellfires to attack an ISIL team as they attempted to arm a “daisy-chain” of linked improvised explosive devices and a GBU-12 guided bomb against a hostile fighting position.
16 September: GR4s bombed two terrorist positions, including a heavy-machine gun, which were firing on Kurdish troops and in western Iraq a Reaper destroyed an engineering vehicle and a large car-bomb which ISIL were positioning to attempt to hold up Iraqi advances.
19 September: Tornado GR4s, supported by a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker, provided close air support to Kurdish peshmerga as they conducted offensive operations. Near Sinjar, the peshmerga came under fire from a heavy machine-gun positioned in a building. This was destroyed by our aircraft using a Paveway IV precision guided bomb. The GR4s then flew east to the area around Mosul, where another Kurdish unit was being engaged by a terrorist mortar team; this too was neutralised by a Paveway IV.
20 September: An RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft on patrol over western Iraq launched a Hellfire missile which destroyed a stockpile of explosives.
21 September: Another Reaper, operating over north-west Iraq, identified two vehicles carrying ISIL terrorists which were successfully tracked and destroyed with Hellfire missiles.
24 September: Tornado GR4s were again on patrol near Mosul when they were called upon to assist a Kurdish unit under fire from an ISIL mortar; the terrorist position was hit in a Paveway strike.
Details of previous airstrikes can be found here.
For more information see ISIL: UK government response page on GOV.UK