The Royal Air Force has sent Tornado aircraft from RAF Marham so they can be ready to support humanitarian operations in Iraq if required.
A small number of aircraft, fitted with state of the art Litening III reconnaissance pods, left Norfolk this afternoon. They will be pre-positioned in Cyprus and available to fly over the crisis area at short notice to provide vital intelligence to assist the delivery of the UK Aid provided by the Department for International Development. So far, three consignments of aid have been delivered to the area by the RAF using Hercules aircraft.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“Thousands of innocent people suffering in northern Iraq urgently need our help. Tornado aircraft will be able to play a specialist surveillance role to give us a more complete picture of the situation in the crisis area. I also want to express my gratitude to the aircrews and supporting personnel who have delivered three significant aid drops already and will continue to do so.”
Wing Commander Richard Yates, RAF Marham Acting Station Commander said:
“Once again RAF Marham personnel have responded to a developing situation with professionalism and total commitment. The Tornado will provide vital intelligence to allow the safe delivery of much needed aid by the UK and other nations supporting the crisis response. The team here, and their families, can be proud of the hard work and commitment that has ensured these aircraft were swiftly prepared and deployed, while we continue to support operations in Afghanistan. I am delighted with all they have done.”
Engineers preparing a Tornado GR4 prior to its reconnaissance mission over Iraq.Air Commodore David Waddington, Tornado Force Commander said:
“The Tornado Force is hugely experienced in delivering operations far and wide, often at very short notice. Once again, the world-class capability of the Tornado aircraft and the people who fly and maintain it are much in demand, their versatility continuing to offer choices for decision makers. In this case, the Tornado’s state of the art reconnaissance capability will provide vital intelligence support to the humanitarian mission.”
The manoeuvre follows the second and third drops of humanitarian aid by RAF C130 aircraft which took place early this morning, which included nearly 9,000 5-litre water bottles and 816 solar lanterns.
Source / Author: RAF
Editor: Wg Cdr Martin Tinworth
Photographs: Cpl Neil Bryden/ SAC Andy Wright
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2014