Tag Archives: RAF Akrotiri

Video shows Brimstone anti-armour missile fired by RAF Tornado destroy ISIS armed pick-up in Iraq

Here’s the effect of the first British air strike on ISIS in Iraq.

On Sept. 30, RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft from RAF Akrotiri airbase, Cyprus, attacked ISIS positions in northwestern Iraq.

The two planes, were flying an armed reconnaissance mission when they were tasked to support Kurdish troops who were under attack from ISIS terrorists.

During the second strike, the British “Tonkas” destroyed a “technical” (armed pick-up truck) with a Brimstone missile.

The Brimstone, is a fire-and-forget anti-armour missile, first fielded during 2008 after an urgent operational requirement, used on the RAF’s Harriers during operations over Afghanistan, that became the RAF weapons of choice during  in the Air War over Libya.

The Tornado GR4, that didnt’ carry the Brimstone on their very first armed patrol over Iraq, carry a mixed load out with a single rack of three Brimstones and two Paveway IV 226kg bombs along with the Rafael Litening III targeting pod.

Optimized for use against fast moving platforms, these small guided missiles feature a warhead of 9 kg and have a range of 7.5 miles. They use a millimeter wave (mmW) radar seeker with a semi-active laser (SAL) that enables final guidance to the target by either the launching platform or another plane, and are perfect to destroy a vehicle with very low collateral damage risk, and an accuracy of about 1 – 2 meters.

Brimstone is an extensive redevelopment of the AGM-114 Hellfire and can be used on fast jets, helicopters and UAVs.


RAF Tornado GR4 attack planes perform first strike mission in Iraq (but don’t drop any bomb on ISIS)

Two Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s performed a mission over Iraq. Although they carried some Laser Guided Bombs, the two British attack planes didn’t use them, as they did not find suitable targets.

On Sept. 27, two RAF Tornado GR4s, deployed at Akrotiri airbase, in Cyprus, performed an armed reconnaissance mission in company with other planes from the international coalition, over Iraq.

Tornado Shader

Although the British Parliament has approved an attack role for the 6 “Tonkas” currently committed to Operation Shader and limited until yesterday to the reconnaissance role, the two attack jets which flew over Iraq earlier today did not drop any bomb on ground targets, as no “appropriate target” was identified.

The RAF Tornado jets, supported by a Voyager tanker, carried three Paveway IV LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs) and a Litening III pod that enabled the aircraft to gather intelligence that, according to the UK MoD “will be invaluable to the Iraqi authorities and their coalition partners in developing the best possible understanding of ISIL’s disposition and help acquire potential targets for future operations, either by aircraft or Iraqi ground forces.”

Tornado Shader Paveway

Image credit: RAF / Crown Copyright, Corporal Mike Jones/MOD


Assad launched two Syrian Air Force Su-24 attack planes towards Cyprus to probe British airbase’s air defenses

Last week we reported the news that, on Sept. 2, the RAF Typhoons based in Cyprus, to provide the air defense of the island following the Syrian crisis, were scrambled from the British base at Akrotiri whereas two Turkish Air Force took off from Incirlik airbase and headed towards the island.

In the following days, more details about the Cyprus incident emerged.

Journalist Andrew Potter talked to the British MoD spokeperson who said: “The MOD can confirm that Typhoon Air Defence Aircraft were launched from RAF Akrotiri yesterday to  investigate unidentified aircraft over the Eastern Mediterranean; the aircraft were flying legally in international airspace; no intercept was required.”

On Sept. 8, The Sunday People / Sunday Mirror revealed that Syrian Su-24 Fencers were actually involved.

“RAF Typhoon fighters won a mid-air showdown with two Syrian warplanes heading towards Britain’s main base in Cyprus, the Sunday People can ­reveal. The dramatic confrontation came after President Bashar al-Assad’s air chiefs sent two Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24s to probe our air defences. The Syrian bombers refused to respond to repeated attempts by the control tower at the UK’s Akrotiri air base to contact them.”

RAF Typhoons from the XI Sqn in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duty on the island, were scrambled before the Su-24s, that were flying in international airspace and were spotted by a flying E-3D AWACS could enter the 14-mile air exclusion zone. Otherwise, they would have been intercepted and identificated, and eventually escorted out of the restricted airspace.

Buzzing the enemy airspace to test its reaction time or actively disturbing the enemy training activities is not rare.

For instance, the Turkish RF-4E Phantom shot down by Syria in 2012 was probably violating the Syrian airspace to probe Damascus’s air defense readiness.

H/T to TJ for the heads-up

Image credit: SANA/Reuters


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Royal Saudi Air Force Typhoon fighter jets stopover at Malta International Airport

Two Typhoon fighter jets on delivery to the Royal Saudi Air Force made a quick stopover in Malta International Airport.

The pair of two-seater aircraft, carrying both the Saudi codes “319” and “320” and the UK ones “ZK088” and “ZK089” arrived at Luqa on Sept. 5 and departed on Sept. 6 for Akrotiri, Cyprus (where probably someone may have mistaken them for British Typhoons deploying to the the island strategically located about 200 km off Syria to strengthen the RAF presence there).

RSAF Typhoons

The images of the two brand new planes arriving and departing from Malta were taken by The Aviationist’s contributor, photographer Estelle Calleja.

RSAF Typhoons 1

Image credit: Estelle Calleja


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France deploys spyplanes to Cyprus to monitor Assad’s next move

As happened in 2011, in the weeks that preceded the kick off of Operation Odyssey Dawn against Gaddafi, airborne surveillance platforms are amassing around Syria.

According to Air Cosmos, two French Navy Atlantique II aircraft were moved to RAF Akrotiri, in Cyprus, where they have joined the two E-3D AWACS and the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets that London has detached in the Eastern Mediterranean sea to provide the air defense of the small island located just 200 km off the Syrian coasts.

The Atlantique maritime patrol aircraft are SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) assets that have been extensively used in Mali, during Operation Serval operating from Dakar, in Senegal. They will be used to eavesdrop Syrian communications and signals to have a better understanding of what is happening in the country.

U-2S aside, the U.S. has moved some Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and Special Ops C-130s to Souda Bay, Crete. The aircraft were monitored by aircraft spotters as they flew eastbound via Lajes, Azores. It’s not clear whether they deployed to the Mediterranean Sea following the Syrian crisis or they were involved in a preplanned overseas deployment.

For sure they could be useful to perform Combat SAR and Personnel Recovery missions in case of attack with some manned aircraft. As B-2s or B-52 bombers.

In the meanwhile USS Nimitz is heading towards the Red Sea.

By the way, on Sept. 2, the WC-135 Constant Phoenix sniffer monitored as it flew eastward on Aug. 28, was heard flying back to the U.S. via the Mediterranean Sea and Malta. Was it used to collect evidence of the Syrian chemical attack?

 Image credit: French MoD

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