Typhoons struck Daesh terrorists based inside caves in northern Iraq on Wednesday, returning again the next day to conduct further attacks.

British Armed Forces are deployed to the Middle East to support counter Daesh operations as part of the 83-member strong Global Coalition.

According to the Royal Air Force:

“The Royal Air Force is continuing to conduct air strikes as required to assist the highly capable Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces to prevent Daesh from re-establishing a meaningful presence in Iraq.”

According to the Ministry of Defence, Iraqi forces recently identified a significant number of Daesh fighters using cave complexes south-west of Erbil.

“The caves identified were assessed to be particularly difficult targets and two RAF Typhoon FGR4s were therefore tasked to conduct strikes in support of ground forces from the highly-capable Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service.”

On Wednesday the 10th of March they conducted surveillance of the area to confirm that there were no signs of civilians who might be placed at risk, before conducting the first attack using Storm Shadow missiles, which had been selected as “the most appropriate weapon for the task”. Following the mission, the Typhoon’s weapons were confirmed to have struck their targets precisely, say the MoD.

Further surveillance efforts confirmed two additional locations in the same area were also occupied by Daesh. Two Typhoons then conducted precision attacks on the extremists at both locations on Thursday 11 March, using six Paveway IV guided bombs.

Storm Shadow is an air-launched cruise missile designed by British, French and Italian companies. The system is manufactured by MBDA at a cost of £790,000 per missile.

You can read more about Storm Shadow at the link below.

The Storm Shadow Cruise Missile

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Must have been close to the Use by date!

They must have really needed the BROACH warhead.

Supportive Bloke

Well it is better training than the range…..but it does seem somewhat ironic bombing caves with our best weapons systems….

Martyn Parker

Seems to be a very expensive way of disposing of a few Jihadis


Agreed, a gravity bomb would seem to be more than enough. Probably the missile was getting close to its expiration date

Peter S

We now have 3 options for air strike.: Typhoon,F35 or in due course Protector. All 3 are extremely expensive high end equipment. Using Typhoon for operations like this will wear out the airframe.
Could we not acquire some new advanced Hawks to carry out these low end missions in permissive environments?

Philip s

Totally agree with you there!


As SB said (above), it’s live training. And for, perhaps, new-ish pilots. I don’t think Hawks could do the precision strikes, like Typhoon. When you need to destroy or seal a cave entrance it has to be spot on. Hawks can’t carry the Paveway or Storm Shadow. Otherwise, there might be some missions the Hawk could carry out…?


You forgot the Reaper, out there doing the job alongside Typhoon. If there’s are concern over Typhoon flight hours (I’ve not heard it) then buying additional Reapers and expanding the number of Squadrons would be more economical or waiting a couple of years and expand on the Protector fleet. Buying Hawks would be hugely expensive. Are Hawks adapted for and cleared for A2A refuelling? Are they operational with targeting pods? What self protection do they have, if any? Even for a token effort number of deployed aircraft (3-4) you would need a full, almost certainly enlarged, squadron of Hawks. That… Read more »


I’m no expert, but I can’t imagine that flying in this uncontested environment has any significant impact on the airframes that is not allowed for within the aircraft’s life expectancy.


It burns hours as the sorties are so long. Those hours are needed to get to the out of service date. Burning through them means expensive depth maintenances come up more frequently and so a larger depth organisation is needed further bumping up costs. You can rotate airframes etc but all that is doing is spreading the pain a bit wider but thinner. It also burns consumables and spare parts, replacement/repair costs for which are eye watering. A dedicated Hawk wouldnt be an option, too short ranged, lacks AAR, lacks integration with targeting pod and the weapons and with those… Read more »

Nigel Collins

First time outing!

“The Eurofighter Typhoon has launched an MBDA Storm Shadow for the first time on operations, with the announcement on 15 March that the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) had used the cruise missile against the Islamic State in Iraq.”



£80m+ jets used to bomb caves.


Modern warfare is using an £80 million jet to launch a £790,000 missile against a man with a £700 gun