The United Kingdom is to extend its Tornado air campaign against ISIL in Iraq until March 2017.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon made the announcement while on a visit to Baghdad.
The eight Tornados, based in Cyprus, began air strikes against ISIL positions last September and have carried out 30 percent of the coalition’s intelligence missions against the militants.
“My visit here is to reaffirm UK support in Iraq and we will be taking measures to increase this support. We will assist in the training of Iraqi forces and bomb disposal teams,” said Fallon.
The number 12 Squadron was due to be disbanded last year and replaced by Typhoon fighters.
Pilot Flight Lieutenant Jules Fleming (left) and Navigator Squadron Leader Nikki Thomas (right pic.twitter.com/WKdYZy2FR8— ARMY TRENDS (@peaceforforces1) April 5, 2015
Fallon denied that the decision was taken because the RAF is short of aircraft and insisted the firepower and surveillance capabilities of the Tornados are proving effective against ISIL.