The UK Royal Air Force’s Panavia Tornado GR4-equipped 2 Sqn has completed its contribution to the NATO mission in Libya, after achieving a notable first using a Raytheon Systems Paveway IV precision-guided bomb.
On 18 August, a GR4 operating from Gioia del Colle air base in Italy dropped a 226kg (500lb) Paveway IV to engage a moving patrol craft which was being operated by pro-Gaddafi forces near the Az Zawiyah oil refinery.
“This was the first time a Tornado crew had used a Paveway IV bomb to take out a moving target of this nature,” the UK Ministry of Defence said, adding that the target had posed a threat to Libyan civilians.
© SAC Simon Armstrong/Crown Copyright
RAF Tornado strike aircraft have again used their Storm Shadow missiles during long-range missions flown from the UK
Separately, a package of GR4s flying from RAF Marham in Norfolk attacked a headquarters bunker in the Gaddafi stronghold of Sirte overnight on 25-26 August using an undisclosed number of MBDA Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles. Tornado aircraft from Gioia del Colle also destroyed a surface-to-air missile system located near Al Watiyah on 25 August.
The RAF’s Tornado force has accumulated more than 5,400 flying hours in support of the UK’s Operation Ellamy since March. Its contribution is now being provided by the RAF’s 9 Sqn.