Operation Shader


Babak Taghvaee provides an encyclopaedic account of Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 missions over Syria and Iraq conducted in support of Operations Shader and Roundup during the last five years of the type’s service

During the first year of Operation Shader, Tornado GR4s conducting missions over Iraq were refuelled by coalition tankers including Royal Australian Air Force KC-30s.
Sgt Shane Gidall/Royal Australian Air Force

Thirty-eight Tornado GR4s participated in Operation Shader, carrying out various missions ranging from coordinating airdrops of humanitarian aid and reconnaissance missions to airstrikes against ground targets. Based at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, the Tornado GR Force was the RAF’s weapon of choice for airstrikes against Islamic terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. The jets contributed to the liberation of various cities including Mosul and Raqqa. The relatively small force carried out almost 4,000 combat sorties and logged no fewer than 16,000 flight hours between August 13, 2014 and January 31, 2019.

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