Wednesday, April 14, 2010

RAF Tornado Squadron hands over duties in Afghanistan

After three months providing 24/7 close air support and reconnaissance to coalition forces in Afghanistan, the RAF's IX (Bomber) Squadron handed over their duties to Number II (Army Cooperation) Squadron yesterday, Tuesday 13 April 2010.

For the past three months IX (B) Squadron, normally based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, have been operating their Tornado GR4s from Kandahar Airfield (KAF) in Afghanistan.

Throughout this period the squadron has amassed nearly 1,600 flying hours, equivalent to nine months flying back in the UK.

They have also launched over 450 aircraft on nearly the same number of operational tasks in support of ground troops.

Of these, IX (B) Squadron has undertaken nearly 40 Ground Close Air Support (GCAS) missions; these are short notice and urgent missions to support coalition forces under fire.

GCAS can often defuse a situation purely by the aircraft overflying the area as a 'Show of Force' or 'Show of Presence', thus dispersing Taliban fighters.

Equally, if not more importantly, IX (B) Squadron has undertaken critical reconnaissance and surveillance sorties using the Litening 3 and RAPTOR reconnaissance pods, helping ground forces locate and avoid possible roadside IEDs.

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