The level of Royal Air Force involvement over Syria has been released. The data shows 43 airstrikes, carried out by MQ-9’s, Tornado GR.4’s, and Eurofighters, since Operation Shader was extended into Syria in December 2015. If anything it helps paint a better picture of the scale of their involvement. Could they do more? It’s hard to tell with so little ground assets involved to help identify potential targets. What do you think?

The UK’s participation in the anti-Islamic State effort has been under way for 20 months, during which time it has carried out more than 800 airstrikes. This includes 760 in Iraq and 43 in Syria, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said on 24 May.

Although the Syrian strikes are markedly low, Fallon says the number of operations carried out by RAF aircraft in support of the effort is more than any other nation after the USA.

Meanwhile, figures released by the government on 29 April in response to a freedom of information request show the reliance the RAF has on the Eurofighter Typhoon in Iraq; an aircraft that was only deployed to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to support the expansion of Shader into Syria.

The UK has three combat types deployed to the Middle East: the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper unmanned air vehicle, the Panavia Tornado GR4 and the Typhoon.