RAF Typhoon FGR4s Carry Out Air Strike On Daesh In Iraq Using Storm Shadow Cruise Missiles For The First Time

A RAF Typhoon FGR4 departs with 2x Storm Shadows. (Image credit: UK MoD/Crown Copyright)

The Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s launched the Storm Shadow cruise missiles on Daesh terrorist targets for the first time last week.

On Mar. 10, 2021, RAF Typhoon FGR4s supporting Operation Shader, the UK’s contribution to the military campaign against ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), struck Daesh terrorists based inside caves in northern Iraq.

The two aircraft, used Storm Shadow missiles to attack their targets. It was the very first time the Typhoons employed the cruise missiles in combat.

“The Iraqi forces recently identified a significant number of Daesh fighters using cave complexes south-west of Erbil,” an official UK MOD statement says. “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 10 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.”

RAF Typhoons supporting Op Shader operate from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, as part of 903 EAW (Expeditionary Air Wing). They are regularly supported by RAF Voyager tankers and can be tracked on their way to the operational area and back, every now and then, on flight tracking websites, thanks to their Mode-S transponders.

The MBDA Storm Shadow missile is a conventional, stealthy, 1,300 kg standoff weapon (over 5-mt long), designed for use against very high value hardened targets in all-weather conditions without exposing aircraft and crews to high threat levels. The missile had its baptism of fire with the RAF (and Italian) Tornados, which extensively used the Storm Shadow in combat during Libya Air War in 2011. Beginning in 2013, it was integrated with the Typhoon, to further enhance the swing role capabilities of the Eurofighter. At the moment, the Italian Air Force, that still operates the Tornado IDS (the original cruise missile carrier) has not integrated the Storm Shadow with the F-2000.

Another image of a RAF Typhoon with Storm Shadows cruise missiles. (Image credit: UK MoD/Crown Copyright)
About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.