A Reaper unmanned aircraft conducted three precision attacks using Hellfire missiles against small groups of terrorists spotted firing at Iraqi troops.
Most districts of Mosul east of the Tigris, according to the Iraqi commander, have been liberated. Operations by Iraqi units now focus on clearing remaining pockets of resistance in the north of the city.
According to a press release, during operations on Friday 20 January:
“A Reaper identified a Daesh observation team at work, which enabled an attack by a coalition aircraft. The Reaper also provided surveillance support to two other successful coalition air attacks, before using one of its own Hellfires to destroy an armed truck which Daesh had attempted to conceal under a vehicle shelter.”
After the Iraqi victory in eastern Mosul, reconnaissance patrols were conducted over both Syria and Iraq, not only by Tornados, Typhoons and Reapers, but also the highly capable Sentinel surveillance aircraft.
In December 2016, it was reported that the Royal Air Force is operating at its most intense for 25 years in a single theatre of operation which far outstripped the UK involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan – RAF jets have dropped 11 times more bombs (1,276 strikes) on Syria and Iraq in the preceding 12 months than they had in the busiest year of action in Afghanistan a decade previously.
The cost of the operations against Islamic State and other details of the campaign were revealed in a briefing paper. In March 2015 the MoD confirmed that the net additional costs of the military air operation would be met from the Treasury Special Reserve; while the costs of training and equipping the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, and the provision of key enablers, would be met from the MOD’s Deployed Military Activity Pool (DMAP).
In answer to a parliamentary question in September 2016 the MoD set the costs of the operation, between August 2014 and the 31st of March 2016, at £265 million (£45 million in the 2014-15 financial year, and £220 million in the 2015-16 financial year).