A Royal Air Force MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft has conducted an airstrike against a group of Islamic State terrorists north of Tikrit in Iraq.

The flight was part of Operation Shader.

The Ministry of Defence say that Iraqi security forces identified a number of Daesh terrorists attempting to re-establish a presence in an area to the north of Tikrit.

“A Royal Air Force Reaper remotely piloted aircraft joined coalition aircraft in supporting the Iraqi operation by tracking the group on Tuesday 14 June, and at an appropriate opportunity, when the terrorists were exposed in the open away from any civilians, conducted a successful attack alongside the other coalition aircraft; the RAF Reaper employed Hellfire missiles.

The group was reported to be destroyed as a result of this Iraqi-led operation, and the terrorists eliminated before they could mount an active threat to the Iraqi people.”

Last year, a Typhoon shot down a drone over Syria. On Tuesday the 14th of December 2021, hostile drone activity was detected around the At Tanf coalition base in Syria.

“A pair of Typhoon FGR4s from Royal Air Force Akrotiri were conducting one of their regular patrols over Syria and Iraq as part of the global coalition against Daesh, and were tasked to investigate. On arrival in the At Tanf area, the pilots were able to identify a small hostile drone, and despite the diminutive size of the target, succeeded in conducting an air to air engagement with an ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile) which eliminated the threat it posed to coalition forces.”

What is Operation Shader?

The air drops were ordered following the genocide of the Yazidi people and other ethnic minorities by Daesh in Northern Iraq, which had led to them fleeing onto the mountainside to escape Daesh. Following the conclusion of the aid drops, the operation quickly changed to become the UK element in the US-led coalition that began the campaign to destroy Daesh. Based out of Cyprus, the Royal Air Force continues to survey and strike targets in Iraq and Syria as part of the Global Coalition under the banner of Op SHADER.

Today, UK jets and drones fly frequent patrols but the reduced presence of Islamic State means fewer engagements.

You can read more about the operation here.

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. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Andrew Munro
Andrew Munro
1 month ago

Don’t typhoons have guns,would thatnotbeen cheaper to down an unarmed drone, or are we stilled run by sandy s men of the fifties no guns needed???

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Munro

An ASRAAM has a proximity fuse and fragmentation. It just needs to get near a target ( drone ) and explode and enough fragments to hit it to take it out. You have the problem of the fragments and drone falling from the sky that might cause collateral, but it’s minimised. Firing off hundreds of 27mm, that probably all of them will miss and carry on and hit the ground , messy if low level, quite messy at high level as they will still reach a terminal velocity of over 300mph. Getting hit by a 10oz lump of lead at… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Uninformed Civvy Lurker
simon alexander
simon alexander
30 days ago

a quick google, asraam possibly costs £200k per missile.

farouk
farouk
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Munro

There is that, but i think the speed overlap may have played a huge part in not using its gun. (The IDF used a Hellfire the other year to take one out) as for using Sandes, I think you will find they are a load of god botherers (Looks back to my NIRT cse in Ballykinler) and theres one at Pirbright

comment image

Last edited 1 month ago by farouk
BobA
BobA
1 month ago
Reply to  farouk

Great full English though – and that diabetes causing thing they called a ‘fifteen’

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Munro

Typhoon is equipped with a very capable 27mm Mauser cannon. The tactical situation required the use of a missile. As we are sat safe at home and not in a Typhoon, or any ISTAR asset over the Middle East, I’d trust the experts to select the appropriate munition for the job.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Munro

Blimey. You’ve got a memory Andrew or your well versed or both! 1957 I think. Missiles all the way. What a shambles. Mind you, here we are 65 years on and the politico’s still can’t make up their minds.

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
1 month ago

Makes you wonder if the MOD spotted the versatility of the Martlet missile early on when they changed the Starstreak funding to get Martlet into user hands earlier rather than later. It seems to be a very versatile weapon and ideal for anti drone use, being cheap enough, having sufficient range and sufficient speed to engage smaller targets.
It might be handy to see reapers armed with Martlet instead of Hellfire for these operations, after all, they are not shooting at tanks, or hard targets and in any case the Martlet has a limited anti-armour capability.
AA

Jon
Jon
1 month ago

That’s an interesting suggestion. I wonder, can it be integrated on Protector/Sea Guardian easily and without significant cost? I don’t think we’ll be using the old Reapers for many more years and it would be better to integrate with new Protectors while they are still with the manufacturer.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon
Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

Putting a rival U.K. weapon onto a US system I doubt they will make it cheap. Hopefully the U.K. can finally make there own drone. Protector is far to expensive to use in any contested situation. Ideally something under £1 million, able to carry brimstone, spear, martlet and target them. Or if smaller weapons are needed develop them. Like the Turkish bombs used in Ukraine.
Ideal first order could be gift Ukraine 100. Then U.K. buy a batch, then more to Ukraine. Use commercial drone controllers etc to keep it simple.

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
29 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

just seen a daily express headline on the news feed….”RAF left embarrassed as ‘futuristic and ambitious’ drone squadron has no aircraftOnce hailed by the head of the RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston as delivering “futuristic and ambitious” plans to harness drone swarms, the elite group has been revealed to consist of just four personnel. Furthermore, the crew have no aircraft to operate and has yet carried out no trials with any equipment.“So, we talk about would-like Martlet and so on, but the sad reality is….hot air (perhaps if we DID have a hot air balloon it would be… Read more »

dan
dan
1 month ago

Didn’t the Iraqis buy a bunch of Chicom UAVs for this sort of thing?