RAF Typhoon’s First Air-To-Air Kill: Terrorist Drone Shot Down In Syria

A Typhoon FGR4 (Image credit: UK MOD/Crown Copyright)

A Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 has shot down a “small hostile drone” in Syria.

In what the UK Ministry of Defence called an “unprecedented event”, an RAF Typhoon conducted the type’s first ever operational air-to-air engagement in Syria on Dec. 14, 2021. The event marked also the first RAF air-to-air missile firing during Operation SHADER, the UK’s contribution to the military campaign against ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant),

The kill was carried out using an Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile (ASRAAM) that successfully hit and destroyed a small-sized drone.

“This strike is an impressive demonstration of the RAF’s ability to take out hostile targets in the air which pose a threat to our forces. We continue to do everything we can alongside our Coalition partners to stamp out the terrorist threat and protect our personnel and our partners,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

According to the few details released so far, the drone activity was detected above the Al Tanf Coalition base in Syria (note, the official UK MOD release referred to the base as “At Tanf” but it was probably Al-Tanf, also known as the Al-Tanf garrison, a United States military base within territory controlled by the Syrian opposition in Homs Governorate located 24 km west of the al-Tanf border crossing in the Syrian Desert). As the drone continued on its track, it became clear it posed a threat to Coalition forces.

RAF Typhoons conducting routine patrols (in swing role – carrying both air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons) in the area were tasked to investigate and, in the end, shot down the drone

Small (and larger) drones pose a constant threat to Al Tanf air base in southern Syria close to the Jordanian border that has served as a forward operating base for British and U.S. special operations teams in the region.

We will update this story as additional details emerge.

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.