Despite an initial lack of combat activity for British Tornado GR4 jets deployed over Iraq, numerous GR4 strikes have been reported over the last few days. Last night, two Tornados provided support to Kurdish ground forces combating Islamic State (IS). The two GR4s aided Peshmerga forces advancing on an IS position, destroying a vehicle with a Paveway IV guided bomb.
Previously, two Tornado aircraft had been tasked to examine a suspected IS command and control position. The MoD reports that they uncovered IS activity and 2 vehicles, one of which was an armed pick up truck. Four Brimstone missiles were used successfully to destroy the vehicles.
As this article is being written, US and Arab jets continue bombing Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria. French Rafale jets also recently struck an Islamic State target in Iraq. The French Rafales hit “a logistics depot” near the city of Mosul. The mission lasted five hours, and included three aerial refuellings from French KC-135 tankers. A previous mission which took place earlier last week involved two Dassault Rafale fighter jets from No 3/30 squadron “Lorrain”, flying intelligence gathering missions carrying the RecoNG recce pod.
Denmark is to contribute seven fighter planes to the international coalition against IS while Belgium has offered six F-16s.
A number of British Tornado GR4 aircraft, accompanied by a Voyager refuelling tanker had been flying reconnaissance missions over northern Iraq since they were deployed to the base at RAF Akrotiri a month ago, prior to the authorisation given by parliament to conduct combat operations.
A Rivet Joint SIGINT aircraft has also been flying missions from al-Udeid air base in Qatar to eavesdrop on IS communications.