THE RAF is set to launch a new range of supersonic stealth jets in order to help fight the ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
F-35B Lightning II’s will operate alongside the US Marine Corps and form part of six warships escorting the £3.5 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth warship on its maiden mission.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said the F35B Lightning fast jets – which can travel at speeds of 1,200mph will able to “pack a potent punch” against IS.
The announcement cones amid growing fears that the extremist group could be re surging with significant numbers of IS terrorists reported to be in Iraq, Syria and in other locations abroad.
Only last month, dozens of innocent people were ruthlessly killed when terrorist militants went on the rampage in the key industrial town of Palma, Africa – believed to be the new ISIS front line.
It included the discovery of missing Brit, Philip Mawer.
It has prompted Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston to claim why an offensive at the apparent heart of operations is now needed – adding that he is in no doubt “violent extremism and the toxic ideology underpinning it is still rooted” in the region.
He said: “I’m absolutely clear in my mind that what we are doing every day is making the streets of the UK safer.”
The renowned “Dambusters” squadron, or 617 Squadron, is set to operate the jets to support the counter-IS operations in Iraq and Syria.
In total, eight RAF and 10 US Marine Corps F35B stealth fighter jets will be operating on board HMS Queen Elizabeth.
They will head for Asia accompanied by six Royal Navy ships, a submarine, 14 naval helicopters and a company of Royal Marines.
Speaking about the upcoming operation, Sir Mike said: “We’re going to conduct operations in support of the Government of Iraq and continue to take the fight to them in their sanctuary where otherwise they would be threatening the streets of the United Kingdom and our allies.
“It’s something that air power has been doing very effectively now since 2014 and the Royal Air Force has played a considerable part in that success.”
In 2019, Gavin Williamson confirmed that the feared RAF Typhoon fighters had completed a massive £425m weapons upgrade including arming them with devastating Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
He was referring F35B jets state of the start equipment that includes advanced sensors, mission systems and stealth technology – enabling them to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks.
It it was also revealed that the jets had ‘beast mode’ capabilities as well which means the war machines are equipped with a staggering 22,000lbs of firepower including Paveway laser-guided bombs.
The Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said the stealth fighter jets joining the fight against IS is”global Britain in action.”
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He said: “The F35B Lightning jets will pack a potent punch against IS and help prevent them from regaining a foothold in Iraq.
“This is a prime example of the UK armed forces stepping forward with our allies to confront persistent threats around the world.”