Following the attacks on Paris, the parliament debate over the use of Royal Air Force aircraft entering the air war over Syria against ISIS re-ignited in spectacular fashion. That debate has now come to a close with a 397 to 223 vote decision being made to immediately begin striking ISIS targets in Syria, not just Iraq.
The Royal Air Force currently has eight Tornado GR4 attack jets stationed and waiting to strike from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and they will likely be joined by more Tornados and a handful of Typhoon fighters in the very near future (eight Tornados and two Typhoons to be exact). The Tornado’s ability to carry the Brimstone air-to-ground missile gives it an especially well tailored capability when it comes to hitting multiple targets in dense urban areas.
One issue at hand is that UK’s jets will have to pass over what is now some of the most heavily defended air space on the globe, eastern Syria where Russia’s air base is located, in order to take the most direct route to their targets. As such, making absolutely sure that these overflights are not in conflict with Russian controllers will be key. Although so far French Rafales and Super Étendards flying off the carrier Charles de Gaulle have not had any issues with this.
Although no bombing runs have occurred at the hands of the RAF over Syria, their MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft have been busy assisting with targeting for U.S. and French air strikes ISIS-held territory. Soon those drones will likely be picking out targets for UK Tornados now that London has decided to flip the go switch on engaging ISIS in Syria.
Contact the Author tyler@Jalopnik.com
Photos via AP