British Military Aviation in 1999

January
Twelve Panavia Tornados of No.12 Squadron (RAF Lossiemouth) fly 32 sorties in Iraq and drop over 60 Paveway laser guided bombs. Targets included bunkers housing Iraqi remotely piloted vehicles capable of dispersing chemical and biological agents.

31 January
Two Panavia Tornados attack a radar site with laser guided bombs following Iraqi violations of the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.

2 February
Four Panavia Tornados of No.2 Squadron RAF attack Iraqi ground radar sites after being illuminated by Iraqi radars.

10 February
Panavia Tornados of No.2 Squadron RAF engage air defence sites near Tallil following a violation of the 'No-Fly Zone' over southern Iraq by Iraqi aircraft.

24/25 March
Operation Allied Force: following the collapse of diplomatic efforts to achieve a settlement regarding the status of the province of Kosovo, NATO embark upon a systematic bombing campaign against Serbian forces in Kosovo and infrastructure targets in Serbia itself, aiming to force the withdrawal of Serbian troops from the province. Allied Force commences with cruise missile attacks and NATO airs strikes against Serbian military installations and troop positions in Kosovo.

During the first night of the operation, six British Aerospace (BAe) Harrier GR7 aircraft, four of which are armed with Paveway II laser-guided bombs, participate in an attack on an ammunition storage facility used by the Serbian Ministry of Interior Police. However, the target is covered by smoke generated during earlier attacks and as a consequence, the weapons released by the lead aircraft fail to maintain a lock on the target and fall into open ground and the attack is subsequently aborted. Boeing Sentry Airborne Early Warning aircraft and Lockheed Tristar tankers are used to support NATO operations throughout Operation Allied Force.

31 March
A parade is held at RAF Laarbruch to mark the formal closure of the station.

4-5 April
Panavia Tornado GR1s based at RAF Bruggen in Germany fly their first sorties as part of Operation Allied Force. Six aircraft attack bridges and tunnels on the main supply routes between Kosovo and Serbia and the Tornado package is supported by three BAe VC10 tankers, which also operate from Bruggen.

15 May
It is announced that twelve Panavia Tornado GR1s will be deployed to the French Air Force airfield at Solenzara in Corsica to participate in Operation Allied Force: the detachment is to be operational by 1 June 1999.

5 June
The Royal Air Force (RAF) Panavia Tornado detachment at Solenzara in Corsica, flies its first combat sorties as part of Operation Allied Force. However, the aircraft are recalled while en route because their designated targets has been destroyed by other NATO aircraft.

10 June
NATO air operations against Serbian targets in Serbia and Kosovo (Operation Allied Force) are suspended.

12 June
The success of the Allied air campaign over Serbia and Kosovo and intense international diplomatic pressure forces the Serbian leadership to begin to withdraw Serb forces from Kosovo without a NATO ground assault. NATO forces enter the Kosovo region at daybreak, although Russian troops entering Kosovo via Serbia have already occupied part of the province. In Operation Agricola, elements of the Royal Air Force support helicopter force, including six Westland/Aerospatiale Pumas and eight Boeing Chinooks, assist in the rapid deployment of British troops into Kosovo. Operation Agricola marks the largest support helicopter deployment since Operation Granby.

20 June
Operation Allied Force is formally concluded with the withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo and a Kosovo Peacekeeping Force is deployed to re-establish stability and security within the province.

22 June
Following the termination of Operation Allied Force, the Royal Air Force British Aerospace (BAe) Harrier and Panavia Tornado detachments that had participated in the campaign return to their home bases in the United Kingdom. A force of six Harrier GR7s remain in the theatre to support NATO ground forces if required.

5 October
The Joint Helicopter Command, a tri-service force encompassing the Royal Air Force's Support Helicopter force, the Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm squadrons equipped with the Westland Commando assault helicopter, is officially formed at Wilton, under the command of Air-Vice Marshal David Niven.

19 October
The last anti-personnel landmine in the United Kingdom inventory, a HB876 submunition from a Royal Air Force (RAF) Hunting JP233 airfield denial weapon is dismantled.

16 November
British Aerospace (BAe) is to upgrade all 122 Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca Adour engines of the Royal Air Force's 62-strong SEPECAT Jaguar fleet. The modified engines will provide an extra 10% thrust.

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