Stealth fighter jets to join fight against ISIS
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has celebrated a ‘really historic moment’ as the UK's new F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter jets joined the fight against the ISIS in their first operational missions.
Based in Cyprus, the jets have carried out more than 14 armed reconnaissance missions over Iraq and Syria, with the RAF saying that the operations had gone ‘exceptionally well’ and that the F-35s had not carried out any attacks yet.
Britain currently has 17 F-35Bs and has pledged to purchase 138 in total from US aviation giant Lockheed Martin. Six of the jets have been deployed at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus since May for training exercises, in an operation known as Exercise Lightning Dawn. As part of their training, the jets carried out 95 missions and flew in pairs for 225 hours, according to the Ministry of Defence.
They have now joined the hunt for militants under Operation Shader, the UK's contribution in the ongoing military action against ISIS.