PICTURES were released this week of a dawn raid in which RAF Honington gunners helped to capture Taliban bombs.
Members of 2 Squadron RAF Regiment, with Afghan forces and US Marines, were airlifted in two of the Marines’ unique tilt-engine Osprey aircraft which combine the abilities of helicopters and fixed-wing aeroplanes.
Wing Commander Jason Sutton, commander of 3 RAF Force Protection Wing, said: “The open approaches to this area mean it is hard to gain the element of surprise. However, by using Ospreys to approach rapidly from an unexpected direction, the operation managed to achieve it.
“The RAF Regiment’s role is to defend airbases and those who operate from them, but the old adage of attack being the best form of defence remains as true today as ever. It disrupts the insurgents’ attempts to attack Bastion,”
The Taliban fought back but allied ground forces were supported by Wattisham-based Apache and US Marine Cobra helicopters plus ‘a show of force from an F18 jet’.
Sqn Ldr Jules Weekes, officer commanding 2 Squadron, said: “There is a certain dynamic to Taliban activities in this area.They operate in small teams of five or six, travelling by motorbike.”
As well as gaining vital intelligence the operation found a substantial IED cache, including bomb-making equipment, mines and several complete IEDs.