UK Air Force Ends 18-Year Combat Mission in Gulf

7 June 2009 (Last Updated June 7th, 2009 18:30)

The last of the Royal Air Force's XIII Squadron Tornado GR4 aircraft from Iraq flew home recently to mark the end of UK's combat missions in the Gulf. The squadron, a part of the RAF's wider Tornado Force, has been involved in operations over Iraq since 1991. The aircraft had

The last of the Royal Air Force's XIII Squadron Tornado GR4 aircraft from Iraq flew home recently to mark the end of UK's combat missions in the Gulf.

The squadron, a part of the RAF's wider Tornado Force, has been involved in operations over Iraq since 1991.

The aircraft had carried out missions ranging from finding Scud missiles during the first Gulf War, to patrolling the no-fly-zones and supporting UK Army and coalition partners on the ground.

The Tornado GR4 missions in the Middle East included close air support, reconnaissance, airborne forward air control and strike coordination armed response.

A typical mission over Iraq lasted eight hours and involved loitering on station for up to six hours. This was supported by air-to-air refuelling provided by 101 Squadron VC10 tankers.

Further, during Operation Telic, the Tornados also supported the national and coalition forces through low-level shows of force, employing weapons to assist ground forces if necessary.