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Four RAF Tornados joined the strikes against Syria

PUBLISHED: 08:06 14 April 2018 | UPDATED: 18:25 14 April 2018

A RAF Tornado taxis into its hangar at RAF Akrotiri after conducting strikes in support of Operations over the Middle East.  Photo: Cpl L Matthews/PA Wire

A RAF Tornado taxis into its hangar at RAF Akrotiri after conducting strikes in support of Operations over the Middle East. Photo: Cpl L Matthews/PA Wire

Four Royal Air Force Tornados GR4s joined the strikes against Syria, launching Storm Shadow missiles at a base 15 miles west of Homs.

The United Kingdom, United States and France have launched “precision strikes” in Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the country.

The strikes, launched at 2am UK time today, targeted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons capabilities after a weekend poison gas attack that killed at least 75 people on April 7.

The Tornado is UK’s primary ground attack jet and has been used to carry out numerous air strikes in Syria and Iraq in recent years.

The main Tornado squadrons are based at RAF Marham in west Norfolk, which will become the new home of the cutting-edge of the F-35 Lightning stealth fighter jets.

A RAF Tornado coming into land at RAF Akrotiri after conducting strikes in support of Operations over the Middle East. A series of missile strikes have been launched against Syria by the US, UK and France in response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma a week ago. 
Photo: Cpl L Matthews/PA WireA RAF Tornado coming into land at RAF Akrotiri after conducting strikes in support of Operations over the Middle East. A series of missile strikes have been launched against Syria by the US, UK and France in response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma a week ago. Photo: Cpl L Matthews/PA Wire

There are currently six of the jets based at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, a location some 315 miles (510km) from Syria.

Set to be retired from service next year after almost four decades on operations, the Tornado, with a maximum speed of Mach 1.3, has also seen action in Libya and Afghanistan.

Storm Shadow cruise missiles

Described as a “long-range deep-strike weapon” by MBDA systems, which produces the missile, the company states on its website that it is “designed to meet the demanding requirements of pre-planned attacks against high-value fixed or stationary targets”.

A RAF Tornado taking-off on a sortie at RAF Akrotiri to conduct strikes in support of Operations over the Middle East. A series of missile strikes have been launched against Syria by the US, UK and France in response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma a week ago. 
Photo: Cpl L Matthews/PA WireA RAF Tornado taking-off on a sortie at RAF Akrotiri to conduct strikes in support of Operations over the Middle East. A series of missile strikes have been launched against Syria by the US, UK and France in response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma a week ago. Photo: Cpl L Matthews/PA Wire

Weighing in at 2,866lb (1,300kg), measuring 16.7ft (5.1m) in length and with a range in excess of 150 miles (240km), it is operated from Tornado jets and in future will be carried on Eurofighter Typhoons.

The long-range air-to-surface missile, designed as a “bunker buster”, can be used to penetrate underground facilities.

It was first brought into service in 2003 and has previously been described by the RAF as “arguably the most advanced weapon of its kind in the world”.

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