OP SHADER Pictures and Video

A collection of images and videos from Operation SHADER, the UK operation against ISIS, in Iraq.

RAF Tornado aircraft armed with Paveway IV precision guided bombs and supported by Voyager tankers have conducted a number of armed recce missions over Iraq.

Two Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircaft prepare to depart RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, armed with Paveway IV laser guided bombs, in support of OP SHADER on the 27th of September 2014.
Two Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircaft prepare to depart RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, armed with Paveway IV laser guided bombs, in support of OP SHADER on the 27th of September 2014.
RAF Tornado GR4's at RAF Akrotiri Cyprus being armed with the Paveway IV Laser Guided Bomb.
RAF Tornado GR4’s at RAF Akrotiri Cyprus being armed with the Paveway IV Laser Guided Bomb.
Op SHADER RAF Voyager
Op SHADER RAF Voyager
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
Op SHADER RAF Tornado aircrew
Op SHADER RAF Tornado aircrew
Op SHADER RAF Tornado and Paveway IV
Op SHADER RAF Tornado and Paveway IV
Op SHADER RAF Tornado and Paveway IV
Op SHADER RAF Tornado and Paveway IV
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
Op SHADER RAF Tornado and Paveway IV
Op SHADER RAF Tornado and Paveway IV
Op SHADER RAF Tornado and Paveway IV
Op SHADER RAF Tornado and Paveway IV
Op SHADER RAF Tornado and Paveway IV
Op SHADER RAF Tornado and Paveway IV
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
Op SHADER RAF Tornado
OP SHADER RAF Tornado GR.4
OP SHADER RAF Tornado GR.4
OP SHADER RAF Tornado GR.4

 

UPDATE

Post Strike videos and images

Post strike, return to base
Post strike, return to base

 

 

 

READ MORE ABOUT UK COMPLEX WEAPONS

UK Complex (Guided) Weapons – Reference

 

 

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Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
September 28, 2014 9:47 pm

Blimey…is that Harry moonlighting as an erk? :-)

GNB

andymed
andymed
September 28, 2014 10:03 pm

I notice in the pictures above and similar images on BBC news that the tornados seem to be stored on portable aircraft hangars. Why is there no permanent infrastructure to support fastjets at akrotiri?

Observer
Observer
September 29, 2014 2:46 am

andy, my guess is that it is easier and cheaper to toss up temporary shelters than to maintain permanent fixed ones that are going to be empty after the op is over. Remember, this Iraq thing, while rather draggy at times is actually only a temporary blip in history. An irritatingly persistent blip, but all in all, still temporary.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
September 29, 2014 3:45 am

Just out interest, presuming somebody knows and is permitted to say, what is that on the inside of the wing pylon holding the fuel tank?

Observer
Observer
September 29, 2014 4:28 am

Chris.B, chaff/flare pod.

Ace Rimmer
September 29, 2014 9:17 am

Observer, I thought the BOZ pod on the Tornado provided the chaff/flares?

The Other Chris
September 29, 2014 9:34 am

Looks like an ECM pod to me, similar in shape to the front of the Cerberus ECM pod, though I thought Tornados were still operating Skyshadow-2.

Too early to be the new Selex Common Jamming Pod? Suspect that would resemble Skyshadow-2?

EDIT:

Cerberus:
http://www.b-domke.de/AviationImages/Tornado/Images/3000.jpg

Skyshadow-2:
http://www.5dtoy.com/bbs/data/attachment/forum/201204/13/121121kujpz9vrqv9vw57v.jpg

Selex CJP news (July, 2014):
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140716/SHOWSCOUT15/307160039/Selex-Provides-Jamming-Pod-RAF-Tornado-Aircraft

Brian Black
Brian Black
September 29, 2014 10:48 am

Won’t sell many Typhoon and Brimstone using those antiques in Iraq.

Challenger
Challenger
September 29, 2014 11:33 am

@Brian Black

You raise an interesting point.

We should be getting some Typhoon’s in on the action (even without Brimstone) to show potential buyers how good it can be.

The Americans became interested in Brimstone and several countries in Typhoon after Libya. Another demonstration could really help with potential exports.

Observer
Observer
September 29, 2014 11:34 am

Don’t think it’s an ECM pod, ECM pods don’t need an open rear facing with canisters, they usually just seal up the whole thing.

Ace, think that is the BOZ, just at a very bad angle.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
September 29, 2014 11:45 am

The aircraft might be old but the bombs aren’t and also are a hell of a lot cheaper than Brimstone.

Shackvan
Shackvan
September 29, 2014 11:47 am

@ Chris.B.

Do you mean the shoulder pylon on the side of extension holding the fuel tank or one of the pods hanging further down the wing?

If it’s the shoulder pylon that’s storage for a couple of Sidewinders or now ASRAAM and what you can see is the tip of the launcher rail sticking through as it has large fared end to it.

The two wing pods are defiantly Sky Shadow and the countermeasures pod

Observer
Observer
September 29, 2014 12:15 pm

Oops, think I was looking at the wrong picture.

CheshireCat
CheshireCat
September 29, 2014 12:19 pm

It is interesting/curious that the ‘typical’ armed reconnaissance weapons load of 2No. PWIV and 3No. Brimstone isn’t currently being carried as in Afghanistan, as you would imagine Brimstone would be ideal for dealing with the odd Landcruiser and Hilux, which seem to be IS’s preferred mode of transport.

Presumably what is being carried is no doubt informed by what the Tornados have ‘seen’ over the last six weeks during their reconnaissance patrols, but it’s a little curious all the same.

Observer
Observer
September 29, 2014 12:52 pm

:)

Cheshire, your recon sounds a lot more like search and destroy than recon.

My guess is probably that the Americans drove all the easy prey into hiding, so nothing much left to hunt. You don’t get to be an old jihadist by being stupid, so I won’t be surprised that they are extremely good in disappearing into boltholes.

CheshireCat
CheshireCat
September 29, 2014 1:07 pm

Observer

Agree entirely, but that is presumably the case for the Taleban in Afghanistan as much as it is for IS in Iraq, so I was just curious as to why there seems to be a distinction in the weapons loads between the two theatres?

Whoever it is you’re looking to ‘reach out and touch’ I would have thought Brimstone would be the more capable weapon?

Like I say, just curious!

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
September 29, 2014 2:41 pm

@ Shackvan,

“Do you mean the shoulder pylon on the side of extension holding the fuel tank…”

Aye. Apologies, just reading back my earlier comment I realise it was a bit muddy. The pods at the ends I was aware of, but never seen (or at least never noticed) anything on the shoulder. Didn’t they used to mount ALARM off those at one point? That was what caught my eye, because I’m used to seeing (or at least thought I was) Tornado without anything there.

El Sid
El Sid
September 29, 2014 2:47 pm


Judging from the media coverage, there’s significant fixed infrastructure to destroy like these mini-oil refineries before we start firing £100k missiles to kill individuals in pickup trucks. For buildings you want something with a bit more bang than Brimstone.

mike
mike
September 29, 2014 4:10 pm

@ Chris B

It is the ‘BOL chaff pod’ – the standard ASRAAM/AIM-9 Missile rail adapted to hold and launch chaff as well.
http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac43/VFA-103guy/VF-31011-1.jpg
(above the Lightning Laser designator pod – the rail where the air-to-air missile would go.

It just adds to the aircraft’s countermeasures without replacing any valuable weapon pylons nor an expensive conversion to the airframe.

And yes, Tornado could hold an ALARM missile there instead of a A2A missile (though probably not with the BOL missile rail).

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
September 29, 2014 5:41 pm
mike
mike
September 29, 2014 6:57 pm

@ Chris B

Second link hits the nail on the head :D

They have been around for quite some time on our Tonkas, I imagine since 2003 – though dont quote me on that, I was with Hercs when I worked with aircraft.

Typhoon has similar on the outermost pylon as well.

Of interesting note is that recently the Tornados’ self protection gear, all those pods and equipment others have linked to, have been/are getting an upgrade. Its looking more likely that the aircraft will carry on a few more years than planned (then again, same happened to the Jaguar and Harrier…)

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
September 29, 2014 8:14 pm

@ Mike,

I always wondered where they stuffed them chaff packets! The thing that threw me most about those Tornado pics was the rounded end jutting out the front. I take it this isn’t something that is normally carried unless Tornado is headed somewhere particularly dangerous. Either that or I’ve just been completely oblivious to it for about the last decade, which is entirely possible.

Waylander
Waylander
September 29, 2014 11:48 pm

Off topic, but I could not post comment on the open thread, perhaps because too many comments, it was in slow mode.

There was an article in the German magazine Der Spiegel about a month ago lamenting
the poor state of readiness of the Bundeswehr.

A few points from the English translation I read:

“of the Luftwaffe’s 109 Typhoons only 8 are fully operational” (which maybe a problem when the Luftwaffe takes over QRA in the Baltic)

The German Eurofighter fleet was described as “almost entirely lame” in a leaked Luftwaffe
document.

“only seven of the 67 CH-53 transport helicopters are airworthy”

“five of 33 NH90s are operational”.

There are also problems with many vehicles including the Boxer APC, due to lack of spare
parts and trained mechanics, the Bundeswehr also apparently has a recruitment crisis even though personnel are relatively well paid.

It’s the media, so the article may have been exaggerated, but even so…..

McZ
McZ
September 30, 2014 8:03 pm

@Waylander
The recruitment crisis in Germany is directly attributable to poor equipment. There are many volunteers exiting military service after a couple months, because there is no equipment available. The numbers stated by Der Spiegel have been confirmed by the German MoD, with some bells and whistles attached.

To be read as: Model procured available operational
Hubschrauber “Tiger” 31* 10 10
Hubschrauber 90 33* 8 8
Hubschrauber “Sea King” 21 15 3
Hubschrauber “Sea Lynx” 22 18 4
Hubschrauber CH 53 83 43 16
Flugzeug “Eurofighter” 109 74 42
Flugzeug “Tornado” 89 66 38
Korvette K130 5 2 2
U-Boot U212 4 1 1
Fregatten 11 8 7
Panzer “Marder” 406 280 280
Panzer “Boxer” 180 70 70

To add insult to injury, today they stopped acceptance of Eurofighter deliveries.
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/bundeswehr-neue-maengel-am-eurofighter-a-994658.html

“Mechanikern der britischen Streitkräfte war der Fehler zuerst aufgefallen. Die Royal Air Force entschied sich deshalb, die Maschine nur noch halb so lang pro Jahr in die Luft zu lassen, um das zu stark beanspruchte Material nicht zu überlasten.”

“Airmen of the British Armed Forces have found the mistake first. The RAF has decided to half flying hours to spare the highly stressed material from breaking.”

Frame life-time cut by half! And it’s also an RAF-problem… and the bad drillings are in the aft section, made by… BAE Systems!

Yonatan
Yonatan
August 4, 2015 6:06 pm

I’m not a military expert so my opinion is FWIW. If the US/UK really wanted to stop ISIS, why doen’t they destroy the supply routes from Turkey? No supplies and ISIS is dead in the water.