Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has praised the decisive difference made by the RAF in the liberation of Fallujah.
Speaking at the Royal United Service Institute’s (RUSI) annual airpower conference in London, Mr Fallon said the RAF had not operated at such a sustained operational tempo in a single conflict for a quarter of a century.
The RAF had concentrated air operations in the vicinity of Fallujah, assisting Iraqi forces in their battle for the city.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said at the time:
“We are playing a major supporting role in the operations to retake Fallujah. Since the start of the Iraqi operation, the RAF have attacked 51 targets in the area – destroying bunkers, tunnels, weapons factories, ammunition dumps, sniper teams and artillery. RAF E3D Sentry aircraft are helping coordinate the coalition aircraft over the operational area and our intelligence and surveillance gathering assets are identifying and tracking the enemy, enabling RAF Tornados, Typhoons and Reapers to help clear a path for the brave Iraqi troops.
All this whilst continuing to conduct strikes against other Daesh targets in Syria and elsewhere in Iraq.”
British forces have concentrated air operations in the vicinity of Fallujah, assisting Iraqi forces in their battle for the city.
RAF pilots have now flown more than 2800 missions in Iraq and Syria, striking 865 times in Iraq and over 50 times in Syria.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“The RAF has not operated at this sustained operational tempo in a single theatre of conflict for a quarter of a century.
Our tempo and commitment to the operation – our precision targeting, our Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and our overall support to the coalition – shows no sign of abating.
Our aircraft played a key role in the liberation of Fallujah. I pay tribute to the outstanding work of all RAF personnel involved.”
Last week also saw the first use of the Storm Shadow missile in Iraq. Speaking at the conference, Mr Fallon announced a £28 million contract to maintain the missile.
“Today I can announce a contract worth approximately £28 million to maintain our state of the art Storm Shadow missile for the next year five years.
This long range precision cruise missile is able to target everything from buildings and missile sites to bunkers.
Last week it was deployed for the first time in the current conflict, destroying a bunker containing a Daesh ammunition dump.”
Storm Shadow is already a combat-proven missile system, deployed in previous campaigns in Iraq and Libya and operated by some of our close NATO allies. This new contract will ensure the RAF can continue to deploy the missile in the fight against Daesh, giving them vital deep-strike capability and allowing them to hit ground targets at long range.
The MOD has committed £95 million to support Storm Shadow since it was brought into service in 2003. This latest support contract with MBDA will sustain 15 jobs in the company’s Bristol and Stevenage facilities, in a variety of roles including software and systems engineering.