News story: RAF foils insurgent bombers in Afghanistan

#1
Two RAF Tornado GR4 fast jets protected civilians and Afghan-led international forces on the ground by scattering insurgents who were attempting to plant a roadside bomb ahead of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) convoy.

Using the advanced Litening III surveillance pod, the aircraft, from Number 2 (Army Cooperation) Squadron, helped ISAF troops capture and destroy a lethal quantity of explosives that could have claimed many lives.

The jets’ aircrew spotted insurgents placing the deadly improvised explosive device (IED) just hundreds of metres ahead of a convoy of US and Afghan troops, which the squadron had been called in to support following an earlier IED blast.


Pilot Flight Lieutenant Geoff Williams (left) and navigator Flight Lieutenant Mark Hodgkiss at Kandahar Airfield [Picture: Sergeant Ross Tilly, Crown copyright]

Pilot Flight Lieutenant Geoff Williams flew one of the aircraft above the convoy. He said:


Identifying insurgent activity from 10,000 feet can be challenging but in this case it was clearly suspicious. Two people on a motorbike rendezvoused with 2 others waiting by a small bridge. They collected items stored under the bridge and began digging in the road.

VIDEO: RAF jets foil insurgent bombers in Afghanistan

Alert to the risk that the insurgents were planting a roadside bomb, Flight Lieutenant Williams flew an intimidating ‘show of presence’ over them, flying low and fast and firing flares to startle and deter them and reassure the friendly convoy. He said:


Having been startled by our jet noise the insurgents fled by motorbike. The whole event was over in a minute. The presence of a Tornado provides a huge psychological impact, reassuring ISAF troops and the civilian population, and sparking fear in the insurgents.

Still image captured by one of the Tornado targeting pods, labelled to show the insurgents on a motorcycle and the location of the buried explosives [Picture: Crown copyright]

The Afghan-partnered ISAF convoy included troops from the Texas-based 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment of the US Army’s 1st Armoured Division. Sergeant Louis Awua, the unit’s forward air controller, said:


When the Brits do shows of presence they almost scrape the ground. They fly so low you don’t know what it means!

What I like is the quality of the pilots and the quality of the sensors. They report everything that they see.
Eyes in the skies


Litening III and the advanced reconnaissance airborne pod for Tornado, or ‘RAPTOR’, give the Tornado GR4 a powerful ability to provide forces on the ground with up-to-the minute data to help commanders make well-informed decisions.


Wing Commander Jez Holmes in the cockpit of a Tornado GR4 prior to take off at Kandahar Airfield [Picture: Sergeant Ross Tilly, Crown copyright]

Wing Commander Jez Holmes, officer commanding 2 (Army Cooperation) Squadron, was piloting the second aircraft involved in the mission. The ISAF troops used data from his aircraft’s Litening III pod to locate and destroy the insurgents’ hastily buried bomb.

Wing Commander Holmes said:


The troops found enough explosives to have caused multiple casualties among coalition forces or the local civilian population. It’s good to have removed that threat.

Tornado GR4s are based at Kandahar Airfield as part of the RAF’s 904 Expeditionary Air Wing, and are routinely called on to support Afghan-led ground forces across Afghanistan.

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#3
So CrabAir fly over some blokes?

Touchy feely cnuts should maybe try and kill some insurgents rather than hug them into submission. cnuts!
 
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#6
I think PR & Spin stop the RAF from being anything to do with the military.
as soon as saw the article i did think "they better have killed someone this time". i just wondered if RoE had changed as i've seen a few things like this now (including from the US)
 
#7
I think a more accurate headline would have been 'blokes on the ground foil insurgent bombers while jet-jockeys watch from afar'. Or am I the hero of a house fire because I told Trumpton where it was happening?
 
#8
Millions of pounds of training and equipment to 'scare' people- priceless. The Dambusters would be proud of them. Oops, I forgot- they're still inside sheltering from the rain.
 
#10
In other unconnected news, Phil Shiner has just filed papers for four Afghan men suffering PTSD after being startled by a low flying British jet whilst out collecting farm implements.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
I think a more accurate headline would have been 'blokes on the ground foil insurgent bombers while jet-jockeys watch from afar'. Or am I the hero of a house fire because I told Trumpton where it was happening?
That depends on the quality of your press officer and how shameless you are... ;)
 
#14
If CAS isn't available next time maybe Drivers can scream out the window of their wagons.
BZ to Ryan Air Force for using a multi million pound platform to make noises with.

As an afterthought, how daft would they look creaming into the deck in front of the yanks as they try to scare Taliban.
 
#15
If CAS isn't available next time maybe Drivers can scream out the window of their wagons.
BZ to Ryan Air Force for using a multi million pound platform to make noises with.

As an afterthought, how daft would they look creaming into the deck in front of the yanks as they try to scare Taliban.
if they managed to crash into the blokes laying the IED at least they'd have made a stronger contribution
 
#16
DFCs all round then for a few more Crabs doing almost what they are supposed to be doing.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#19

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