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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.