The frontline RAF Tornado squadron spearheading Britain’s air campaign against ISIL in Iraq will be maintained in service for an additional year until March 2017 the Defence Secretary has announced.
In a visit to Baghdad, Michael Fallon announced that 12 (Bomber) Squadron will continue to offer the essential precision firepower, intelligence and surveillance needed for the counter-ISIL international coalition to provide vital support to Iraqi ground forces.
With eight Tornados flying daily missions over Iraq the UK is playing a leading role in tackling ISIL. This announcement reaffirms Britain’s commitment to maintain the resilience of the attack, which has seen ISIL lose around 25% of the territory it once held.
Speaking in Iraq today the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
"ISIL terrorists pose a threat the security of Iraq, Syria, the wider region and to the streets of Britain. It is therefore our duty to ensure that the UK continues to play its part to defeat this barbaric regime.
"Our aircraft have flown thousands of missions and RAF Tornados have carried out hundreds of strikes, helping Iraqi forces push back ISIL from the Kurdish region and out of key towns such as Tikrit and Bayji.
"We want to ensure we maintain this crucial operational tempo and so we will extend the lifetime of Number 12 Squadron for a further year to March 2017. This will allow us to sustain our effort, helping the Iraqis lead the fight on the ground."