Live updates

MOD announces £167m RAF Marham contracts

The Ministry of Defence has announced contracts worth £167 million to upgrade and build new facilities at RAF Marham in north west Norfolk, the future home of the UK's Lightning II squadrons.

The contracts, which will create 300 new jobs, will pay for the addition of maintenance, training and logistics facilities at Marham. The Lightning Two is the most advanced combat aircraft in the world.

These facilities are critical to the F-35B Lightning II programme, which is in turn vital to the future capability of the UK’s Armed Forces. The cutting edge technology of these aircraft, supported by world-class facilities at RAF Marham, will ensure we have a battle-winning fleet of jets deployable anywhere in the world.

– Tony Douglas, DE&S Chief Executive Officer

Advertisement

RAF captain 'absolutely confident' there will be no civilian casualties

An RAF captain has said he is "absolutely confident" there will be no civilian casualties as air strikes were launched over Syria.

Captain Richard Davies, of RAF Marham in Norfolk said: "In over 400 air strikes that the RAF has carried out in Iraq, we have had absolutely no civilian casualties reported.

The rules of engagement that our crews apply both in the air and by the commanders on the ground mean that I am absolutely confident that that will continue to be the case with operations in Syria."

Tornado fighter bombers have been attacking IS targets in Iraq since September last year when MPs gave the green light for air strikes.

Captain Davies's comments follow a warning by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the lead-up to last night's vote that the move would "almost inevitably lead to the deaths of innocents".

RAF Tornado jets hit targets in Syria

The MOD has confirmed its Tornado jets have launched their first bombing raids in Syria.

A Ministry Of Defence spokesman confirmed RAF Tornados had returned from their "first offensive operation over Syria and have conducted strikes".

Two more jets from RAF Marham in Norfolk have joined the action this morning.

See RAF video of Tornado jets leaving Cyprus on bombing mission:

More jets leave RAF Marham for Cyprus.

Credit: PA

Two more Tornado jets have left RAF Marham this morning for Cyprus.

They'll join those from the base already at RAF Akrotiri.

Tornado fighter bombers have been attacking IS targets in Iraq since September last year when MPs gave the green light for air strikes last night.

An oilfield in eastern Syria was the target of overnight RAF airstrikes, the Defence Secretary, has confirmed.

Advertisement

PM: Defence review 'very good' for RAF Marham

The Prime Minister says the government's review of defence spending is good news for RAF Marham in Norfolk.

A Tornado aircraft based at RAF Marham in west Norfolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

David Cameron has announced £12 billion for military equipment in a Strategic Defence and Security Review. The SDSR set out heavily-trailed plans for two new Army 5,000-strong "strike brigades" capable of deploying rapidly around the world.

RAF Marham is the home to the Tornado force and the future home of the Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

The Prime Minister said the additional defence spending would mean more Lightning aircraft, more quickly. He was answering a question in the House of Commons from the North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham.

"Will the Prime Minister confirm that today’s statement is good news for RAF Marham, the home of the Tornado force and the future home of Lightning II?

Obviously the Tornadoes and Brimstone missiles are playing a vital role in the campaign against Daesh, but does he agree that there is now an overwhelming case for extending those strikes into Syria itself?"

– Henry Bellingham, Conservative MP for NW Norfolk

Families greet Tornado crews following final mission in Afghanistan

Servicemen and women from RAF Marham have returned home following their final operation in Afghanistan.

The force has been there since July 2009 and in that time has played an important role in coalition combat missions.

The final ground troops pulled out of Camp Bastion in Helmand province last month.

As the Tornado jets flew into West Norfolk, family of the 170 ground and air crew were there to meet them.

Tanya Mercer reports

RAF Marham servicemen and women return from Afghanistan

Tornado jets on the ground in Afghanistan. Credit: Ministry of Defence.

Servicemen and women from RAF Marham who have been supporting NATO operations in Afghanistan have arrived home.

The Tornado jets landed at their West Norfolk base where the crew's family were waiting to meet them.

In total, 170 servicemen and women, including ground crew, are returning.

For more on the squadron's return home, watch Sunday evening's ITV News Anglia at 6.30pm.

Load more updates