Tornado jets attacked two targets in and around Mosul, while other Tornados and Typhoons hit seven Islamic State positions in Raqqa.
A Tornado flight patrolled the Mosul area on Sunday 11 June, and conducted two attacks. During the first, a Paveway IV was used against a mortar position some 20 miles west of the city. A Brimstone was then used against a Islamic State firing point in western Mosul, close to the riverbank. A second Tornado flight, and two pairs of Typhoons, operated the same day over Raqqa. Paveway IVs accounted for four sniper positions and a Islamic State held building, while a simultaneous attack with two Brimstones eliminated two firing points in a building on the western edge of the city.
According to a Ministry of Defence press statement:
“The RAF is continuing to support Iraqi forces in their effort to liberate western Mosul. While the operating environment in the city is very challenging, particularly given the closely-packed buildings, very narrow streets, and the density of the urban population, our aircrew have continued to deliver precision strikes in close support of Iraqi troops on the ground.
Daesh’s current tactics, including the illegal use of civilians as human shields, and fighting from sites such as schools, hospitals, religious sites and civilian neighbourhoods, increases the risk to innocent life. While no military operations come without risk, particularly in dense urban environments and against such inhuman Daesh tactics, the RAF continues to take all steps necessary to minimise civilian casualties.”
What is the current status of the air campaign?
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).