RAF Increases Pressure on ISIS in Mosul
Tornados, Typhoons and Reapers Destroy ISIS Targets
The Royal Air Force is keeping the pressure on Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) with airstrikes against mortar positions, a bomb factory and an explosives stockpile in and around western Mosul, Iraq, from April 6 over the weekend to April 9. RAF Typhoons also provided air support to Syrian Democratic Forces in their efforts to re-take Raqqa.
RAF Deliver Precision Strikes in Difficult Urban Battlefield
The RAF is continuing to support Iraqi forces in their effort to liberate western Mosul. While the operating environment in the city is very challenging, particularly given the closely-packed buildings, very narrow streets, and the density of the urban population, RAF aircrew have continued to deliver precision strikes in close support of Iraqi troops on the ground. Islamic State’s current tactics, including the illegal use of civilians as human shields, and fighting from sites such as schools, hospitals, religious sites and civilian neighbourhoods, increases the risk to innocent life. While no military operations come without risk, particularly in dense urban environments and against such inhuman Islamic State tactics, the RAF continues to take all steps necessary to minimise civilian causalities.
Typhoons Support SDF at Tabqa Dam, Raqqa
Royal Air Force Typhoons provided close air support to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Wednesday 5 April, as they consolidated their hold on the huge Tabqa Dam, recently seized from Islamic State’s control, to the west of Raqqa. Islamic State had tried, in their desperation, to counter-attack with suicide truck-bombs, so the Typhoons conducted an air strike to cut the approach road to the SDF positions and make any further truck-bomb attacks much more difficult. Given attempts by both Islamic State and Russia to claim falsely that Coalition air attacks have been directed at the dam itself, it is important to emphasise that the Typhoons’ target was two miles to the south-east and posed no threat whatsoever to the dam’s structural integrity.
Tornados Engage ISIS in Western Mosul and Near Al Qaim
Also on Wednesday, 5 April, a pair of Tornados supported the Iraqi forces driving Islamic State out of western Mosul, and used a Paveway IV guided bomb to engage a mortar position. The Tornados then flew down to Iraq’s western desert, where other Iraqi troops were operating against Islamic State to the south of Al Qaim. A Brimstone missile was used to destroy a motorcycle combination carrying three terrorists at speed over the desert and a second Brimstone eliminated a light machine-gun position.
A Tornado and a Typhoon flew as a pair on Thursday, 6 April, armed with Paveway IV and Brimstone missiles. Over north-western Mosul, they engaged an Islamic State mortar team who were moving to a new position on a truck. A number of unidentified individuals were seen on foot nearby. The RAF fighter aircraft waited patiently until they had moved away from the immediate proximity of the vehicle, before a Brimstone missile, which has a smaller warhead than a Paveway, was used to destroy the target.
Patrol Over Kirkuk Takes Out IED Planters
The RAF flight then patrolled an area some 25 miles west of Kirkuk, where they were able to track a truck carrying a terrorist team who had been planting booby traps, scoring a direct hit on the moving vehicle with another Brimstone missile.
Reaper Drone Strikes ISIS Mortar Teams with Hellfire
On Friday, 7 April, a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft flew overwatch for Iraqi troops in west Mosul. Coalition surveillance aircraft identified two Islamic State mortar teams: one firing from the doorway of a building, the other from a small courtyard. The Reaper’s crew were able to conduct successful attacks with Hellfire missiles which accounted for both teams.
Truck-Bomb Factory in Mosul Reduced to Dust
The following day, a Tornado and Typhoon pair used two Paveway IVs to strike an Islamic State truck-bomb factory in Mosul.
Tornado Patrol Bombs Explosives Stockpile Near Al Qaim
On Sunday, 9 April, two Tornados patrolled the Iraqi border with Syria, where they bombed an Islamic State stockpile of home-made explosives near Al Qaim.
Source: Ministry of Defence.
Photo: RAF Tornado GR4, IX (Bomber) Squadron based at RAF Marham, arriving at United States Air Force Base Nellis in Nevada for Ex Red Flag 2014, by Sgt Paul Oldfield (Crown Copyright, 2014).