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Britain to deploy Reaper drones against ISIS in Iraq
by Richard Tomkins
London (UPI) Oct 17, 2014

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Britain's Royal Air Force is deploying Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles in the fight against Islamic State forces, also known as ISIS/ISIL, who control large sections of Iraq.

The announcement was made on Thursday by Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who said the deployment would take place shortly.

"The surveillance capability of Reaper will see it provide vital situational awareness, making it an invaluable asset to the Iraqi government and the coalition allies in helping counter the threat from ISIL and supporting our vital interests in the area.

"If strike operations are required then Reaper has the ability to complement the sorties RAF Tornados have already completed."

The MQ-9 Reaper is a medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely controlled aircraft manufactured by U.S. company General Atomics. It is used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions but can also carry weapons.

Britain has never before used the aircraft operationally outside of Afghanistan.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, also known as the Islamic State in Syria, is an al-Qaida splinter organization which has declared an Islamic Caliphate. Its headquarters is believed to be in Syria. Its forces, known for their brutality, have taken over large portions of Syria and Iraq and are said to be close to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

The United States, with a handful of allies, is conducting limited airstrikes on IS gunmen. Royal Air Force tornadoes based in Cyprus have been conducting operations against IS in Northern Iraq in support of the region's besieged Kurdish people.

The announcement on the deployment of the Reaper coincides with the conclusion of the first British training program for Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

The Ministry of Defense said 40 Peshmerga have been taught how to use heavy machine guns Britain gave them last month. The Kurdish course graduates will train others on the use of the machine guns.

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Britain to re-deploy drones from Afghanistan to Iraq
London (AFP) Oct 16, 2014
Britain will shortly begin re-deploying its unmanned armed drones from Afghanistan to counter Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told parliament on Thursday. The remotely-piloted Reaper aircraft will provide surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence support to the Iraqi troops and international coalition forces taking on the IS group in northern Iraq. T ... read more

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