This Operation will run between 08th June 2020 and 31st August 2020, (Inclusive for award purposes).
A duration of 25 Operational nights. Take note of in theatre dates specified below and respective transit dates.
Iran, determined to reassert its role as the dominant power in the region, has directed its ongoing military build-up toward achieving a credible power-projected capability against its Gulf neighbours, it has done so by restructuring its forces into smaller, more professional military.
On 4 July 2019, UK forces seized the Iranian tanker Adrian Darya-1 - previously called Grace One - on suspicion of breaking EU sanctions on Syria.
After its release, the US blacklisted the vessel, pledging to impose sanctions on any buyer of the 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil on board. Iran announced in September 2019 that the ship had sold its cargo, prompting UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to summon Tehran's ambassador to the Foreign Office.
On 19th July 2019 The “Stena Impero” was passing through international waters in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway that connects the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, it was detained by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps. Iran accused the vessel of colliding with a fishing boat and failing to respond to calls, but the ship's owners said there was no evidence.
The UK immediately deployed a Royal Navy frigate to come to the tanker's aid and warned Iranian authorities that their actions were illegal, but the frigate was unable to reach the scene in time.
The eventual release of the “Stena Impero” removes one item from the agenda, but Britain and Iran are still at loggerheads over the case of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe - a British woman imprisoned by Tehran on what many believe are trumped-up charges. And then there is the small matter of the outstanding money that the UK owes Iran for a tank order that was never honoured.
More broadly, over recent months there has been a cacophony of diplomatic signals, many of them contradictory.
The Europeans - led by the French - have sought to offer Iran a credit line to reduce the sanctions pressure if they will just honour the terms of the nuclear deal in full. But equally they are now saying that Tehran cannot carry on progressively breaching the agreement's terms without attracting further sanctions.
On 14 September 2019, drones were used to attack the state-owned Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities at Abqaiq (Biqayq in Arabic) and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia. The attack caused large fires at the processing facility which, according to the Saudi Arabian interior ministry, were put out several hours later.
The attack on Saudi Arabia's oil installations further boosted tensions but it paradoxically illustrated that while Iran has options to escalate too, the Saudis and the US are very reluctant to respond in kind.
On 3 January 2020, a United States drone strike near Baghdad International airport targeted and killed Qasem Soleimani of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who was commander of the QUDS Force.
Soleimani's killing sharply escalated tensions between the U.S. and Iran and stoked fears of a military conflict. Iranian leaders vowed revenge, while U.S. officials said they would pre-emptively attack any Iran-backed paramilitary groups in Iraq that they perceived as a threat.
Many in the international community reacted with concern and issued statements or declarations urging restraint and diplomacy.
Five days after the airstrike, Iran launched a series of missile attacks on US forces based in Iraq the first such direct engagement between Iran and the U.S. since Operation Praying Mantis in 1988. Following the shootdown of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 amidst the escalation, leaders from both countries seemed reluctant to further escalate the crisis at the time.
Iranian efforts have resulted in a military force with considerable amphibious, airborne and air mobile capabilities against the Gulf Arab States. With Russian and Chinese help, Iran also has completed development of Nuclear Weapons and has a small arsenal of warheads, which it can deliver via ballistic missile against any capital in the region.
On the 25th May 2020, internal upheavals in Saudi Arabia and several smaller Gulf Cooperation Council states presented Tehran with the opportunity it craved to exercise its military muscle. In a series of rapid moves, Iranian Marines attacked and secured the Ras Tanura port, and air mobile forces leapt inland to establish an airhead at Dharan, into which infantry forces are now beginning to flow. Smaller amphibious operations have taken control of Bahrain and parts of Qatar. Multiple Iranian heavy divisions are driving through Sh’ite-controlled territory in the southern part of a divided Iraq and into Kuwait, their objective seems linking up with the forces further south in Saudi Arabia.
Iranian submarines and missile boats have now sortied into the gulfs of Arabia and Oman, laying mines, patrolling, and essentially now taken control of the straights of Hormuz. Land-based launchers for super-sonic sea skimming anti-ship missiles are reported on alert. Iran also has an inventory of hundreds of advanced naval mines and thousands of older models.
Iran’s arsenal of several hundred medium-range ballistic missiles and intermediate-range ballistic missiles (MRBM’s and IRBM’s), some dozen of which are equipped with nuclear warheads and many others with chemical payloads – are dispersing or has been deployed into protected caves.
Currently HMS Montrose and HMS Defender are in theatre but forced East of the straits of Hormuz operating in the Gulf of Oman.
UK Government has issued complaints to the Iranian Government with no acknowledgement being received. The UN has publicly voiced its total disgust in Iranian hostilities requesting an immediate cease fire and return to peacetime borders.
US/NATO High Command has issued warnings that Iranian aggression will not be tolerated and will be repelled by coalition forces. Egyptian and Israeli Governments have pledged support to any coalition forces regionally, the opening of some airfield facilities to UK Forces only was particularly welcomed.
Tri-Org pilots are to partake in all taskings to assist in the defence of Kuwaiti and Saudi territory and halt attacking Iranian forces by ejecting them from occupied territory, including that of Bahrain and Qatar. Tri Org pilot will deter Iranian use of NBC weapons and to eliminate Iranian NBC capabilities. Destruction of Iranian NBC capabilities including production and development facilities will be conducted. Furthermore, UKMIL will open the Straits of Hormuz and evict Iranian forces from Saudi oil facilities whilst minimising damage to those facilities and to otherwise help stabilize the friendly Saudi Government.