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  1. ITV Report

Royal Air Force Tornados join Syria strikes, launching Storm Shadow missiles

Royal Air Force personnel work on RAF Tornados at RAF Marham, in Norfolk. Credit: PA

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

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.

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.

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

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

The Damascus sky lights up with service to air missile fire as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria, early Saturday, April 14, 2018. Credit: PA

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".

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".