RAF aircraft have carried out a major offensive in support of Iraqi ground troops in an operation lasting 10 days.
The Royal Air Force say that throughout the 10 day operation in the Makhmur mountains, the RAF used 42 Paveway IV bombs and 10 Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
“The operation builds on the success of recent years and represents a significant increase in activity from previous months. This was the first operational use of the Storm Shadow cruise missile from a Typhoon FGR4 aircraft.”
A Royal Air Force statement reads:
“The operation began when Daesh extremists were confirmed to be based in a network of caves in the Makhmur mountains and concluded on 22 March. Since the caves were assessed to be a particularly challenging target, three Typhoon FGR4s were tasked to conduct an attack using Storm Shadow missiles, the remote area having first been checked to ensure that no civilians would be placed at risk. The strike on the Daesh targets was assessed by subsequent surveillance to have been a success.
Operation Shader is essential to dismantling Daesh’s networks and reducing the terrorist group’s global ambitions. Though Daesh has been territorially defeated, it is estimated there are approximately 10,000 Daesh terrorists still at large across Syria and Iraq. The UK, together with 82 partner nations of the Global Coalition, therefore remains committed to working with Iraq to not only degrade and ultimately defeat Daesh but to also enhance its security.”
Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace was quoted as saying:
“The British Armed Forces, alongside our Iraqi and Coalition partners, continue to root out Daesh terrorists from where they hide. The UK is committed to defeating Daesh. This operation will prevent the terrorist group and its toxic ideology from regaining a foothold in Iraq and reduce its capability to coordinate attacks around the world.”
In addition to air strikes the RAF is also carrying out Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance; Air to Air Refuelling and Air Transport sorties using Reaper, Voyager, C-130 and A400M aircraft.
What is Operation Shader?
Operation Shader began on the 9th of August 2014, when the Royal Air Force began a series of humanitarian air aid drops onto Mount Sinjar in Northern Iraq.
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.
You can read more about the operation here.