On Mar. 10, 2021, Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s used storm shadow cruise missiles to carry out an airstrike on Daesh In Iraq for the first time.
The UK Ministry of Defense confirmed the Typhoon airstrike against the cave complexes southwest of Erbil. While the weapon was previously used in combat by the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) now-retired Tornado GR4 strike aircraft, this is the first use by the RAF Typhoon.
“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.
For the mission in question, which took place on March 11, the Storm Shadow was selected as “the most appropriate weapon for the task.
There were also follow-up attacks made on March 11, in the same remote, mountainous area, this time with two RAF Typhoons employing six 500-pound Paveway IV dual-mode precision-guided bombs against ISIS fighters at two other locations.
A different group of caves then came under attack on March 12, with Typhoons employing eight Paveway IVs, and again two days later, using six of the same weapons.
“On each occasion, our aircrew have exercised their utmost care in checking there were no signs of civilians in the area before conducting the strikes and subsequent surveillance to ensure their successful completion,” the defense ministry said.
MBDA Storm Shadow Cruise Missiles
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 the Libya Air War in 2011.
Beginning in 2013, it was integrated with the Typhoon, to further enhance the swing-role capabilities of the