UAE's F-16 jets pound Daesh targets

UAEs F-16 jets pound Daesh targets

The squadron was moved to boost coalition aerial firepower and support Jordan’s intensified efforts against the terror group.

By Staff Report

Published: Thu 12 Feb 2015, 1:54 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 9:56 PM

UAE pilots give the thumbs up sign after returning from air strikes on Daesh targets. — Wam 

Dubai — UAE fighter jets based in Jordan swooped down to destroy Daesh command and control systems early on Tuesday. The General Command of the UAE Armed Forces said the air raids were effective in denting the firepower of the terror group and the F-16 planes returned safely to base.

The squadron was moved to boost coalition aerial firepower and support Jordan’s intensified efforts against the terror group. Amman earlier announced it had carried out 56 air strikes on Daesh over the last week in retaliation for the burning to death of its captured pilot Maaz Al Kassasbeh by the group which is in control of huge swathes of land in both Syria and Iraq.

The UAE Air Force and Air Defence has in-theatre strategic and speedy transportation abilities with its modern F-16 fighters, C-17 transporters and refuelling planes that are part of the squadron sent on the orders of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahayan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Colonel Pilot Saeed Hassan, Commander of the UAE Force in Jordan, said: “Our presence in Jordan is aimed at offering support to Jordan Arab Army in encountering the Daesh terrorist group and providing all forms of operational support.”

In Syria, coalition planes and unmanned aerial vehicles hit targets near Raqqah in latest raids on Monday which destroyed a Daesh armoured vehicle, according to the US Central Command. A strike near Kobani crippled a tactical unit of the group, but casualties are not known. Air raids were also conducted in Dayr Az Zawr.

Strikes were successful on Daesh positions in Fallujah, Bayji, Mosul, Al Asad and Kirkuk, the Central Command said.

“So far, the campaign has destroyed 20 per cent of the fighting capabilities of Daesh,” Jordanian Air Force chief Major General Mansour Al Jobour said on Sunday.

Jordan said more than 7,000 militants have been killed since the country joined in coalition air strikes. The aerial campaign began in September and an estimated 2,000 air strikes have helped retake about 270 square miles of territory from the terror group.

Analysts said air strikes could pose various levels of risks for the pilots. “While conducting air strikes against the group in Iraq is not without its risks, politically and militarily, doing the same against targets in Syria raises these risks,” said IHS Jane’s Gareth Jennings.

He said the militants in Iraq and Syria have access to captured man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS). “However, the most sophisticated of these are only really effective up to about 15,000 ft. This means that, having the government’s permission to operate in its airspace, US and allied aircraft operating over Iraq are flying in a relatively permissive environment.” —

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