Page 5 - issue17.05.2019
P. 5

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 17, 2019 P5


       RAF game changer

       to hunt extremists

                                     Typhoon takes on surveillance role in

       l Continued from front:
         The RAF crews have switched
       from  precision  bombing  raids   Iraq and Syria to safeguard UK streets
       following the collapse of Daesh’s
       self-styled caliphate, operations
       have focused on halting efforts
       by hard-line jihadis who fled to
       regroup and mount more terror
       attacks in the region and coalition
         Gp   Capt  Jonny  Moreton,
       Commanding Officer of 903
       Expeditionary Air Wing, said: “We
       are non-kinetic but maintaining a
       steady rate of operations.
         “What we’re doing at the
       moment is understanding the pitch
       on the ground in better detail to
       understand where we go next.
         “Daesh do not have any territory
       per se any more. Clearly there are
       small groups throughout Iraq and
       Syria that we are interested in and
       we are supporting the effort to
       understand what that picture looks
       like on the ground.
         “From a territorial perspective
       there  is  no  one  place  you  can  say
       that  actually  is  now  the  home  of
         Gp Capt Moreton oversees
       the current detachment of six
       Typhoons, equipped with Paveway
       IV guided bombs, Brimstone and
       Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
         The swing role fighter is
       spearheading  operations  from
       Akrotiri following the retirement
       of the veteran Tornado earlier this
         Gp Capt  Moreton added:
       “Tornado was the backbone of
       combat for the UK for a good 25
       years, we are now in a position
       where Typhoon has become that
       backbone of UK combat air power.   SWING ROLE FIGHTER: Typhoon prepares for mission from Akrotiri. PHOTO CPL TIM LAURENCE
       Typhoon is now delivering and
       she’s doing well.”
         He added: “It would be difficult
       for us to say that we have defeated
       some of the abhorrent things they  Estonia joins Mali fight
       their ideology, but in terms of
       were doing previously we are in a
       position now where we can say that
       it’s job done.                 CHINOOK crews have teamed  called upon. They seemed to
         “Where we are at the moment   up with Estonian soldiers in the  find it a very  valuable training
       is pretty much the status quo for   battle  against jihadist  groups  in  experience.”
       a while. We’re not as kinetic as we   west Africa.             1310   Flight  is  deployed
       have been previously because the   Odiham-based 1310 Flight  on   Operation  NEWCOMBE
       targets  just  aren’t  there,  we have   have been conducting exercises  in support of the French-led
       very much gone into the overwatch   with their Eastern European  Operation BARKHANE which
       role.                          allies in Mali.               targets Islamist extremists in
         “The job here is the de-escalation   The Estonian Army Force  Mali, Chad and Niger.
       effect, most of the time our mere   Protection platoon based at Goa   The  Estonian  platoon
       presence is enough to de-escalate   airfield provides part of the guard  commander said:  “We  aim  to
       the situation.                 force for the French airfield.  train as we would fight so this   While British aircrews are in  27 Squadron assumed command
         “We’re still flying at the same   Chinook pilot Flt Lt Andy  is  an  excellent  opportunity  to  a non-combat role they take the  of 1310 Flight in April, having
       rate so for those personnel on the   Donovan said: “They were  practice what we could be called  terrorist threat very seriously as  taken over the detachment
       ground supporting  operations  it’s   highly professional and seized  upon to do.”         they are required to fly over and  from Chinook crews of 18(B)
       pretty much been the same , it’s just   the opportunity to board and   The UK has contributed three  land in combatant-controlled  Squadron. The rest of the Flight
       the fact that most of the time now   disembark aggressively, as they  Chinook helicopters to support  territory to assist allied troops  personnel are from  other RAF,
       the aircraft aren’t actually dropping   would in the field if they were  the French in the region.  on the ground. Odiham-based  Army and Royal Navy units.
       on targets.”
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