Country Risk

Counter-Islamic State air campaign shifts emphasis and tempo

28 September 2018

UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 and Panavia Tornado GR4 combat aircraft are increasingly flying ‘armed overwatch’ missions as the Islamic State is ‘degraded’ and driven from the territory that it previously held.

Operation ‘Shader’, as the UK calls its participation in the multinational counter-Islamic State campaign, has unfolded in distinct phases, with the enemy being cleared from particular areas. As the Islamic State has been driven from those spaces, the coalition has undertaken stabilisation, security, and counter-insurgency efforts before moving on to drive the group from other areas.

Speaking at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, the hub of the UK’s counter-Islamic State operations, Group Captain Chas Dickens, commanding officer of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing and responsible for the RAF’s ‘Shader’ fast jet and air mobility assets, told Jane’s , “The operation is going in phases, and when we’re clearing [Islamic State] out of an area we will use more weapons.”

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