Eight BAE Systems Harrier GR9A ground-attack aircraft from the UK Royal Air Force's 1 Sqn returned to their home base at Cottesmore in Rutland on 1 July at the completion of a Joint Force Harrier deployment to Afghanistan's Kandahar airfield.

Lasting almost five years and involving 8,500 sorties totalling over 22,000h, the Harrier commitment also involved the RAF's 4 Sqn and the Royal Navy's Harrier-equipped Naval Strike Wing, also based at Cottesmore.

Harrier GR9As - Denis Calvert 
© Denis Calvert

The UK's strike aircraft support for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force task has now been assumed by the RAF's Panavia Tornado GR4 force, with Lossiemouth-based 12 Sqn the first unit to deploy to Afghanistan. The US Central Command says a GR4 on 30 June "carried out repeated shows of force in the vicinity of Lashkar Gah to stop sporadic enemy fire and to deter a larger scale attack against a friendly convoy".

 Tornado GR4 Afghanistan - Crown Copyright
© Cpl Scott Robertson/Crown Copyright

The RAF deployed the Tornado GR4 to Aghanistan during May

Source: Flight International