A Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon Eurofighter has shot down a hostile drone in Syria which posed a threat to Coalition forces in the area. This unprecedented event was the first operational air to air engagement conducted by a RAF Typhoon, and also the first RAF air to air missile firing during Operation SHADER – the UK’s contribution to the Global Coalition against Daesh. The engagement took place on 14th December, when the drone activity was detected above the At Tanf Coalition base in Syria.
“This strike is an impressive demonstration of the RAF’s ability to take out hostile targets in the air which pose a threat to our forces. We continue to do everything we can alongside our Coalition partners to stamp out the terrorist threat and protect our personnel and our partners,” Ben Wallace UK Defence Secretary said.
Two RAF Typhoon FGR4s from RAF Akrotiri were conducting a regular patrol over Syria and Iraq, as part of Operation SHADER when they were tasked to investigate. On arrival in the At Tanf area, the pilots identified a small hostile drone and succeeded in eliminating the threat during an air-to-air engagement with a MBDA AIM-132 Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM). This comes several weeks after the RAF successfully eliminated a known terrorist threat in Syria using a remotely piloted Reaper armed with Hellfire missiles.
The Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile, also known by its United States identifier AIM-132, is an imaging infrared homing (heat-seeking) air-to-air missile, produced by MBDA UK, that is designed for close-range combat. It is in service in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), replacing the AIM-9 Sidewinder. ASRAAM is designed to allow the pilot to fire and then turn away before the opposing aircraft can close for a shot. It flies well over Mach 3 to ranges over 25 kilometers (16 mi). Does it retain a 50? g maneuverability provided by body lift technology coupled with tail control.