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RAF Typhoon shoots ‘Iran-backed militia’ drone out of the sky near Syria base in first air-to-air combat since Falklands

AN RAF Typhoon jet blasted a suspected Iran-backed militia drone out of the sky near a coalition air base in Syria on Tuesday.

It is the first time the RAF have had an air-to-air combat engagement since the Falklands War almost 40 years ago.

Defence officials have declined to say who was flying the drone near the At Tanf base.

But Iran and its proxies are known to use drones in the region – including a suicide drone attack against the commercial vessel MV Mercer Street, which killed British Army veteran Adrian Underwood in August.

The Typhoon jets based at RAF Akoritiri in Cyprus were part of Operation Shader, the UK's contribution to the Global Coalition Against Daesh.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: "On Tuesday 14 December, hostile drone activity was detected around the At Tanf coalition base in Syria.

"A pair of Typhoon FGR4s from Royal Air Force Akrotiri were conducting one of their regular patrols over Syria and Iraq as part of the global coalition against Daesh, and were tasked to investigate.

"On arrival in the At Tanf area, the pilots were able to identify a small hostile drone, and despite the diminutive size of the target, succeeded in conducting an air to air engagement with an ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile) which eliminated the threat it posed to coalition forces."

Meanwhile, the US military revealed they shot down one of two drones near the same coalition base in southern Syria on Tuesday.

It's not clear if that incident is linked to the one involving RAF Typhoon.

Captain Bill Urban, of the US Central Command, said two drones were tracked entering airspace around At Tanf Garrison on Tuesday evening.

He said: "As one of the UAS continued its course deeper into the At Tanf Deconfliction Zone, it was assessed as demonstrating hostile intent and was shot down."

More to follow…

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