15 Feb 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 9 Feb 16 two Typhoon FRG4, supported by a Voyager, destroyed an armoured vehicle converted into a truck-bomb South West of Kirkuk. Typhoons provided close air support to Iraqi troops North of Habbaniyah on 10 Feb 16. A pair of Typhoons conducted two Paveway attacks on terrorists on 11 Feb 16; later in the day a second Typhoon mission destroyed a machine gun position and an accommodation block used by Daesh. Typhoons were also active East of Ramadi on 12 Feb 16. A Tornado mission successfully targeted a compound North of Habbaniyah on 14 Feb 16. Reaper remotely piloted aircraft and Sentinel strategic surveillance aircraft conducted extensive reconnaissance missions across Daesh-held areas. (MoD,15 Feb 16.)
On 15 Feb 16 two Tornados conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol over Northern Iraq in support of Kurdish security forces. Also on 15 Feb 16, Typhoons alongside other coalition aircraft conducted a series of co-ordinated attacks on Daesh facilities. Tornados patrolling on 16 Feb 16 came to the assistance of Kurdish forces with Paveway attacks. On 17 Feb 16 a Tornado mission interrupted a Daesh team preparing to fire artillery rockets. (MoD, 19 Feb 16.)
“We are playing a crucial role in a campaign that will take time and patience. Using the right weapon for each scenario, RAF jets have struck Daesh almost 600 times.” (MoD, 19 Feb 16.)
Comment: The Foreign Secretary called (16 Feb 16) “on all parties to commit to making rapid progress towards a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access and negotiations towards a political transition” as agreed at the meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Munich [on 11 Feb 16]. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/08, 22 Feb 16)
18 Feb 16. Russian Aircraft: Just Visiting. An RAF spokesman said (18 Feb 16): “We can confirm that Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby have intercepted two Russian Blackjack bombers [on 17 Feb 16] and escorted them while they were in the UK area of interest. At no point did the Russian aircraft enter UK territorial airspace.”
Comment: Russian military aviation has never entered British Airspace without permission. However, Russian military flights can present a safety concern because of their custom of not communicating with air traffic control agencies, not filing a flight plan nor transmitting a recognisable secondary surveillance radar transponder code. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/08, 22 Feb 16)
17 Feb 16. Falkland Islands: Visit by Defence Secretary. The Defence Secretary visited the Falklands (17 Feb 16), spending time with Islanders and MoD personnel at various sites. The Minister witnessed some of the construction work which is taking place as part of a
£180m, 10-year commitment to modernise the defensive infrastructure of the Islands. The upgrade package includes £60m to improve the power station at Mount Pleasant Camp, £22m to improve harbour berths and £20m on accommodation. A £60m contract for a new power station at Mount Pleasant is due to be awarded in May 2016.
Comment: There are currently some 1,200 military and civilian personnel based in the Falklands; supporting naval, land and air assets. The 1,200 personnel are in addition to the normal resident population on the Islands, which totals about 3,000. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/08, 22 Feb 16)
16 Feb 16. Kenya and Somalia: Ministerial Visit. The MoD advised (16 Feb 16) that the Armed Forces‟ Minister has visited Kenya and Somalia. In Kenya the Minister met personnel from the High Commission Defence Section, the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) and the British Peace Support Team East Africa. The Minister also met with the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Defence, in order to discuss the Defence relationship between the two Countries.
During the Somali part of her visit the Minister announced an additional contribution of over £3