The Ministry of Defence has clarified the role of British surveillance aircraft in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Defence, British surveillance are being tasked solely to locate hostages.

The Ministry of Defence said:

“Since the terrorist attacks against Israel of 7 October 2023, the UK government has been working with partners across the region to secure the release of hostages, including British nationals, who have been kidnapped. The safety of British nationals is our utmost priority. In support of the ongoing hostage rescue activity, the UK Ministry of Defence will conduct surveillance flights over the Eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza.

Surveillance aircraft will be unarmed, do not have a combat role, and will be tasked solely to locate hostages. Only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities responsible for hostage rescue.”

British surveillance aircraft operating near Israel

 

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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simon alexander
simon alexander
4 months ago

agree with return of hostages, however will shadow R1 be able to locate them or is this political move? Shadow R1 | Royal Air Force (mod.uk)

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 months ago

Is this because Hamas have lost track of some of the hostages?

Or because of a need to verify that they are alive?

Presumably because of a specific comms style that Hamas + are using?

Jim
Jim
4 months ago

If only Rishi had not felt the need to fly in to Israel for some US PR we could be performing our traditional role of honest broker to both sides instead of US lap dog.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

It’s a rock and a hard place Political conundrum. To go and express support and sympathy for the Hamas atrocity against Israeli citizens or just sit back wait for Macron to display French bluster. Either way you get Political Flak and at that point Israel hadn’t gone into Gaza. Rule of thumb is IMHO if Germany is dithering, Russia is saying very little and the French are going then we go as well but get there first. As for honest broker, please be serious Netanyahu hates us and Hamas / Iran blame us for most of the territorial disputes in… Read more »

Jim
Jim
4 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

In terms of honest broker in the region I’m not looking at the crazy’s in Iran, Israel or Palestine but the actual Allie’s with money who buy stuff from us and host bases, Saudi, Gulf sates, Oman and Jordan.

Being Allie’s with Israel is a waste of time, they bring nothing but cost and hassle. Iran much the same.

Jon
Jon
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

So in a war between Israel and Hamas, you think we can be an honest broker by talking to neither side, instead chatting to other countries who might buy stuff from us, possibly because they are rattled by war in the region? Wouldn’t that be profiteering rather than brokering?

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

A waste of time ? Supporting the only truly democratic country in the Middle East.
Glad that mentality wasn’t around in 1939 🤨

Oh and you may want to consider that Israeli Defence industry supply kit and own subsidiary companies that have toes in all sorts of U.K. defence equipment.

Jim
Jim
4 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Is that the same democratic country that run by an increasingly extremist minority and just abolished its Supreme Court and denies voting rights to nearly half the people living with in its territorial confines.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Yep Jim and I don’t like it either, but that was the result of a free election. Horrid things happen in elections sometimes total idiots get elected such as Hitler, Trump, Biden and BoJo. The odd thing is that the level of protests and particularly in the IDF was heading towards forcing Netanyahu out and another election. Then the attack happened and he got a “get out of jail” card for a while. Which I find a wee bit odd, where were the IDF ? I was listening to R4 the morning after the terrorist attack and the IDF spokesman… Read more »

Jon
Jon
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Please show the slightest bit of evidence that Israel has abolished its Supreme Court! It’s absolute BS. The Supreme Court can no longer strike down government legislation on the grounds that it’s “unreasonable”. It now has to show legal cause. That’s far from abolition in any normal use of the term.

Last I heard the Supreme Court was debating whether the new legislation was in fact unreasonable.

Last edited 3 months ago by Jon
David Barry
David Barry
4 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Er no. The ultra orthodox jews have their hands all over the American State; we don’t need the same here.

Neither do we need other faiths leveraging influence, we need to move away from Religion.

America must allow the UO Jews to fight their wars by themselves, We should stand aside; it is these people that killed multiple CMP in their sleeping quarters back in the late 40s.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
4 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Kindly don’t get me wrong I am not defending the acts of Lunatic UO Zionists. But I’d repeat my question have you read the Hamas Charter ?
It really is a conflict of 2 opposing viewpoints both of which have an extremism element that are completely irreconcilable with any sane, peaceful solution.
If you have actually read it I’d be surprised if you don’t come to the same conclusion.
So have you read it ? And if not why not ?

klonkie
klonkie
3 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

preaching to the choir my friend! I don’t particularly like the way Israel treats its “neighbours” and don’t endorse the settlement expansion. However, I tell folks “you don’t know what you don’t know”. People do not understand nor comprehend the experience to living with the Hammas/ Hezbollah threat. The tragedy of 7 October being the apex. Can we blame the Israelis for their reaction? , Its a long shot- but I feel the Arab Islamic nations need to step up and take a Palestinian refugee quota. Then again no one wants them, ask Jordan and Lebanon about their experiences with… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

No brokering can be done until all sides are ready to deal. Some innocent lives can be saved mainly by comvincing the israelis to take a more measured approach. This is a time for diplomacy not politics anything else is not helping.

Jim
Jim
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

Loads of brokering can be done just not with the Israelis and Palestinians. Neither side has anything to offer both want to keep killing each other and their is nothing we can do about that. Our job is to show support for the position of our actual allies in the region and show them we can be a moderating force on Israel by way of our relationship with the USA. This has been British Middle East policy since 1971 and had resulted in tens of billions of pounds of arm sales to the region not to mention a hotline to… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Israel are, I’m sure, resigned to the fact that peace with their neighbours is the only way forward for all sides. Some nations are intent on destabilising the region whilst the vast majority want and need stability. I am sure there will be much diplomacy going on with not only our allies but also with nations which might have had much cooler relations with the UK in the past. In essence this may well cement new relationships to add to those we already have.

klonkie
klonkie
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

what might a “measured “approach look like Mark?

Mark B
Mark B
3 months ago
Reply to  klonkie

Sticking to military targets, giving civilians safe areas and attempting to usher civilians away from the fighting. Whilst I think there will be many civilian casualties the world will ask if it was absolutely necessary to attack sites where there were human shields. I hope the israelis are meticulously documenting their battle plan and the mitigation they put in place – the world is watching.

Klonkie
Klonkie
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

Thank you for your reply. It is challenging to define a military target in this context. Hammas use civil buildings as shelters, use ambulance to transport munitions and are adapt to melting away into the civil populace if required. It saddens me to say it, but I cannot see another way to stop them.

Mark B
Mark B
3 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Yes the responsibilities of modern democracies in armed conflict with terrorist entities mean that they have to set themselves up to a far higher standard than their enemies even if that increases the risks to their own forces. Every effort needs to be made to save civilian lives. Most countries feel that effort is worth it at the end of the day.

Chris
Chris
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

An honest broker between a terrorist organization and religious state. No such thing.

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim

I don’t agree Jim, you can’t play honest broker with a death cult, did anyone try when ISIS took hostages?

I don’t see any difference between Hamas and ISIS, both insane genocide worshipping cults, we helped mallet them into the stone age didn’t we.

We should be assisting Israel with targeting intelligence to drop the hammer, I certainly hope we are.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago

Pretty much confirms some of the suspected capabilities of these secretive assets.

They were once complemented by Islander aircraft, until they were quietly scrapped with little publicity. ( Northolt Station Flight especially )

Shadow now seems to have taken their role, and can be seen circling British cities and towns on flight tracking sites.

As always, same or more commitments with less.

Enobob
Enobob
4 months ago

Thy weren’t scrapped. They were just privatised and the exact same capability is now operating from Northolt in civil registered Islanders.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  Enobob

They were cut from the military, so my terminology is off.

Islanders? I thought the PC that now has the role was using Piper Navajos?

Interestingly the met police also have some aircraft.

Simon
Simon
4 months ago

Can these aircraft find the hostages? UK must walk a careful path as Israel has no workable plan as much as we may all hate hamas.

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago

This is a good use of UK capabilities which will strengthen the hand of those in Israel ( the majority ?) who want Netanyahu to prioritise rescuing the hostages over eliminating Hamas; not forgetting that UK citizens are among the hostages. It should also help minimise Palestinian civilian casualties.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
4 months ago

I thought all the hostages had been released/exchanged now? I guess it’s a more what’s been happening.
I assume the picture of the shadow aircraft means it was involved. The RAF has quite a few of them and what they do is a mystery to me.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

That info is hinted at in various places online mate.

simon alexander
simon alexander
3 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

too cynical guys, pose an idea there are no hostages left in gaza so what are UK planes flying over gaza for?

Ryan
Ryan
3 months ago

What can Shadow R1 planes actually do here? I doubt Hamas is parading the hostages in the open, so is it ELINT type surveillance being conducted?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Ryan

Look at all the bumps and warts.