Tornados at RAF Marham given extension

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Tornados from RAF Marham look set to continue their work out in the Middle East until March 2017.

Secretary Michael Fallon this week said the UK will extend air strikes against the Islamic State group by an additional year to March 2017.

Speaking during a recent visit to Iraq, the minister said that British jets have helped Iraqi forces on the group to push Isis militants out of key towns.

“We want to ensure we maintain this crucial operational tempo,” he said.

Mr Fallon said this second extension for the eight bombers based in Cyprus would ensure the RAF retained “the essential precision firepower, intelligence and surveillance” capabilities needed for operations against Isis, who have been able to hold on to most of the huge areas it occupies in Iraq and Syria.

The eight bombers are equipped with precision-guided Paveway bombs and Brimstone missiles, BBC said.

They can also be fitted with Raptor reconnaissance pods to carry out surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.

Together with the RAF’s unmanned Reaper drones, which also operate in the region, they have flown more than 1,100 combat missions over Iraq and conducted more than 250 air strikes.

This is still under five per cent of the coalition’s total air strikes.