RAF Tornado GR4

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced the stationing of two additional Tornado GR4 jets to the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Akrotiri, Cyprus, in order to support the ongoing operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Deployment of the jets will increase the resilience of the force, which now numbers eight aircraft.

The Tornado GR4s, which had been stationed in August this year, will however only continue with intelligence and surveillance role, according to a RAF spokesperson.

The spokesperson said: "Since then we have been looking at ensuring the resilience of this deployment and, with this in mind, an additional two aircraft have been deployed to ensure that we are able to maintain support to the Iraqi Government by ensuring operational patrols over Iraq alongside our international allies."

Though scheduled to stop service in March 2015, the No 2 (Army Cooperation) Squadron will now continue offering precision firepower along with vital intelligence and surveillance support for the RAF.

Along with the Air Force, the HMS Defender of the UK Royal Navy is also supporting the ongoing international operations in the Gulf.

It is offering protection to the US Navy aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush and its aircraft, which have been helping the on-ground Iraqi and Kurdish crew.

Image: An RAF Tornado GR4 at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. Photo: courtesy of Corporal Neil Bryden RAF, Crown ©.

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