Typhoon jets have hit two groups of Islamic State terrorists in caves in northern Iraq.

The Ministry of Defence say that on Sunday the 24th of January, a coalition surveillance aircraft located a number of Islamic State fighters based in two caves some ten miles north of Bayji, and two Typhoon FGR4s were tasked to strike them.

“Our aircraft conducted a careful check of the area around the caves, which were a mile and a half apart, for any signs of civilians who might be at risk, before conducting simultaneous attacks, using two Paveway IV guided bombs against each group. All four of the bombs struck their targets accurately and the strike was assessed to have been a success in eliminating the terrorist threat.”

The MoD also say that UK Armed Forces continue to “provide a significant contribution to the global coalition ensuring the Daesh terrorist group does not become resurgent in Syria and Iraq, with Royal Air Force aircraft flying daily armed reconnaissance patrols”.

“On Tuesday 6 October, a small group of Daesh extremists attacked Iraqi security forces in the desert of Anbar province, west of Baghdad. A coalition air strike provided immediate support to the Iraqi troops, and succeeded in destroying half the attacking Daesh group. An RAF Reaper was then tasked to deal with the remaining terrorists.

The crew of the Reaper successfully located them, and at an appropriate moment, with no sign of a strike posing any risks to friendly forces or any civilians, conducted a carefully planned attack with a GBU-12 guided bomb. The Iraqi forces subsequently reported that the threat had been eliminated.”

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john melling

Glad to hear an update on our efforts to attack ISIS 😉

Supportive Bloke

Whilst this has high training value, it does seem a bit mad using something of Typhoons sophistication and cost to bomb caves: albeit very precisely.


It minimises risk to human life though. Would you rather they send an overly capable aircraft, or your son?

Steve R

I think what Supportive Bloke means is that a cheaper aircraft could/should be used.

I agree with him, although we’ve scrapped all our cheaper aircraft now. We could do this with Protector strikes, I suppose. We should buy more Protectors, or keep the current MQ9 Reapers alongside the newer Protectors, and use them for this kind of operation, reduce the wear and tear on Typhoon airframes.


It’s what they were designed for, they’re a multi-role aircraft specifically with ground strike capability. You’re right in that drones are a perfectly good answer, but that doesn’t mean we don’t use typhoons for ground strikes just because they’re expensive, especially as the original comment noted the valuable experience for the air crews.

As for wear and tear, they are flown often and use up their fatigue life either way, better those takeoff cycles are occasionally used for live ops. It’s not like they’re sat in a hangar and won’t be used until they’re needed.


I frequent the ADSB plane tracking website and see the Typhoons and Voyager go up almost daily and sometimes 2-3 times a day from Akrotiri, From what I gather bombs are rarely dropped so are these Typhoons flying around in a CAP style cycle until friendlies call in for CAS? If so wouldn’t Reaper be far more cost effective for this type of job?


Steve R

I think so, yes. This is the problem with MoD thinking of all our combat aircraft being gold plated and top of the range; we end up using the £80 million Typhoons and £100 million F35s for bombing a handful of Jihadis in a cave, when cheaper aircraft could have done it. We got rid of our Harriers and Tornados so no chance of a hi/lo mix of manned combat aircraft for different duties. But you’re right; we have Reapers and should use these instead. We should get more UCAVs, really. I think we should keep the Reapers when we… Read more »