The UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF) IX bomber squadron handed over duties to Number II (army cooperation) squadron in Afghanistan on 13 April 2010.
The IX (B) squadron, based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, has been operating Tornado GR4s from Kandahar Airfield (KAF) in Afghanistan for the past three months.
During this period, the squadron has achieved nearly 1,600 flying hours and launched over 450 aircraft to support ground troops.
The squadron has carried out 40 ground close air support (GCAS) missions including short-notice and urgent missions for coalition forces under attack.
The GCAS mission can defuse a situation with a fly-by over an area as a “show of force” or “show of presence” and was mainly carried out to disperse Taliban fighters.
The squadron has also carried out critical reconnaissance and surveillance sorties by using Litening 3 and RAPTOR reconnaissance pods to help locate and avoid possible roadside improvised exposive devices (IEDs).