The UK's Royal Air Force has deployed a specialist reconnaissance interpretation centre (RIC) to Gioia del Colle AB in Italy, its base for Operation Allied Force. Activation of the RIC allows the 12 RAF British Aerospace Harrier GR7s based at Gioia del Colle to fly armed reconnaissance patrols over Kosovo using recently fitted Vinten lightweight reconnaissance pods. The RAF Harrier contingent has been tasked predominately with battlefield air interdiction and close air support missions using a variety of weapons in attacks at "high altitudes" to avoid Serb anti-aircraft systems. RAF Harriers are using the Marconi thermal imaging and laser designating pod to direct 450kg (1,000lb) Paveway II and 900kg Paveway III laser guided bombs. They have also used 450kg general purpose bombs as well as IBL755 and RBL755 cluster munitions.
Source: Flight International