Press TV – The British government has spent over $2.44 billion (£1.7bn) to carry out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since 2014, the year the US and its allies formed a so-called coalition to allegedly counter terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the two Arab countries, according to official data.
The larger chunk of the money, around $2 billion (£1.5bn), has gone into flying the Royal Air Force (RAF)’s Tornado and Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets as well as Reaper attack and surveillance drones for more than 42,000 hours.
The figures, revealed on Monday in response to a Freedom of Information requests by anti-war group Drone Wars UK, seemed to be a fraction of what London has spent over the course of its unauthorized intervention dubbed Operation Shader.
The British air force has also dropped over 3,500 units of various munitions in over 1,700 airstrikes on Syrian and Iraqi targets at a cost of around $375 million (£267mn) over the past three and a half years.
That includes Paveway IV laser-guided bombs that cost an estimated $98,000 (£70,000) apiece for the older version and $140,000 (£100,000) for the enhanced ones.
RAF pilots have also fired no less than 8 Storm Shadow cruise missiles that are said to cost around $1,100,000 (£800,000) per unit, the activist group said.
The costs would grow if besides fuel, which is included in official figures, undisclosed data such as crew payments, aircraft maintenance and capital data are also included.
Drone Wars UK estimates that it costs the RAF $112,000 (£80,000) to keep the multi-role Typhoons airborne for an hour, while the figure drops to $49,000 (£35,000) and ($4,900) £3,500 for Tornado and Reaper aircraft respectively.
However large, the numbers are still a fraction of what the US-led coalition has collectively spent during the campaign, which has seen 105,000 bombs and missiles used in some 29,000 airstrikes. Drone Wars said the military campaign has cost around $10.5 billion (£8 bn).
The sheer number of US-led airstrikes since 2014 has alarmed rights activists about the possible civilian casualties.
While the US has only admitted to killing 841 civilians in the strikes, Drone Wars UK said it had recorded over 6,000 civilian deaths as a result of the military campaign. Neither Syria nor the United Nations have authorized the attacks.
The coalition forces have on many occasions air-dropped weapons and equipment for terrorists while targeting Syrian and Iraqi government forces who fight them.