The flights, being undertaken off the coast rather than over Gaza and at 25,000ft, are solely to locate hostages.
The aircraft have been conducting operations over the last few days.
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.”
The RAF describes the aircraft on their website as follows:
“Through a combination of sensors, Shadow contributes to the comprehensive intelligence gathering of the RAFs ISTAR Force. Its output is particularly valuable to ground commanders. The Shadow’s high definition electro-optical and electronic sensors complements other platforms and capabilities, helping analysts prepare comprehensive intelligence products. Satellite communications links enable information to be downloaded and off-boarded during a mission and the aircraft is also fitted with a defensive aids suite. The existing Shadow fleet is being upgraded and further expanded to eight aircraft under the Shadow Mk2 Upgrade Programme.”