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.”

A Shadow R1 in flight.

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.”

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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. He also previously worked for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 days ago

First thing, why is something like this being publicised? It’s good that the RAF are being supportive but wouldn’t it be best to keep this type of surveillance quiet? You don’t need to tell everyone what you’re doing and especially surveillance ops over Gaza.

Last edited 2 days ago by Quentin D63
Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 day ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

“but wouldn’t it be best to keep this type of surveillance quiet?” “Intelligence and security committee has not met a prime minister since 2014 – report is “unacceptable” that a prime minister has not met with the Intelligence and Security Committee since 2014, its annual report has said. The parliamentary committee was established in 1994 to oversee the work of the UK intelligence community. The report says that for 20 years the committee “met annually with the prime minister to discuss its work, report on key issues and raise any concerns”. However, the ISC says there has been no such… Read more »

Challenger
Challenger
2 days ago

The exact role and capabilities of the Shadow have always been quite vague and far less commented on than Rivet Joint.

Quite Shadowy you might say!!!

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
1 day ago
Reply to  Challenger

It’s also quite innocuous being small and prop powered. The fuselage is full of bumps scoops and aerials so there’s a lot going on. AA

Donaldson
Donaldson
1 day ago

ZZ518 has just deployed from UK heading to Akrotiri, Unsure whether rotating with either ZZ507/ZZ416 or all 3 going to be active

Ian M.
Ian M.
1 day ago
Reply to  Donaldson

ZZ416 active off Gaza at 13:53

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
1 day ago

I hope Hamas does not have any Manpads, these aircraft look a bit vulnerable.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
1 day ago

No man pad is getting to 25,000 feet. These aircraft also have defensive aids fitted.