UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has stated that UK military aircraft have provided surveillance support to Israel, following the deployment of assets to the eastern Mediterranean amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
In written parliamentary responses confirming the deployments on 13 November, MoD officials stated the UK had deployed “P-8 and other surveillance assets to improve our situational awareness in the region and provide assurance to our partners”.
Israel has been embroiled in an ongoing war with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and which conducted a bloody incursion into Israel on 7 October resulting in the deaths of some 1,200 Israeli’s, with over 200 kidnapped. The military response from Israel into Gaza has caused over 10,000 civilian deaths, according to Hamas-run Gazan authorities.
On 13 October, the UK confirmed it would be sending aircraft to the region to “support Israel and reinforce regional stability”.
A second UK parliamentary response stated that flights to improve situational awareness included the prevention of “transfer of weapons to terrorist groups”, and to “wider” regional security, in addition to the delivery of humanitarian aid into Egypt.
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) operates a fleet of P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft but also has a range of other airborne platforms that could perform surveillance functions, such as the MQ-9B Reaper drones or Rivet Joint RC-135 electronic surveillance aircraft. It is not known what specific platforms were referred to in the MoD’s “other surveillance assets” comment.