Britain Buys 20 Tomahawk Missiles Ready to Strike IS

By on September 27, 2014

Britain has bought 20 Tomahawk missiles from the US in preparation for its bombing campaign against Islamic State.

Costing £1million each, they are fired from submarines and can be computer-programmed to turn corners.

They have already been fired in the Gulf by the US and are likely to be among the first weapons used by the British military.

The submarines loiter offshore before going to depth to fire the Tomahawks which can cover more than 850 miles, can be retargeted in flight and can loiter above a target for more than two hours.

RAF Tornados will fly the first UK missions aiming to ‘decapitate’ IS commanders, convoys of jihadists fighters and control bunkers during initial air operations over Iraq.

Special forces troops have been in the region identifying potential targets for weeks and will be asked to identify any areas where civilians are being used as human shields

There are fears that IS will try to engineer large civilian casualities for propaganda purposes. More than 3,000 Yazidi women and hundreds of civilians are being held in Syria and Iraq by the group.

The RAF will operate over areas including Baghdad, the giant dams at Mosul and Haditha, the Sinjar mountains, the IS stronghold of Mosul and the cities of Irbil and Kirkuk.

The UK’s air war will be run from a bunker on the giant al-Udeid airbase in Qatar and linked directly to US Central Command. Targets will be chosen from a list drawn-up by the US military but it is likely the UK jets will also be used to survey the ground for mobile IS units before being instructed to strike.

Special Forces units known as Smash teams have carried out reconnaissance to provide up-to-date information on the jihadistss.

In some attacks, they will use a process called ‘painting a target’ to pinpoint a site to be struck. A laser beam from a portable device is bounced off a building or military installation from a few hundred yards – this is detected by the aircraft or a missile sensor, which then deploys the weapon.

The Tornados, veterans of both Gulf Wars and Afghanistan, will be armed with Paveway bombs to target small compounds, Storm Shadow bunker busters and supersonic Brimstone missiles that can hit moving targets such as people in cars or on motorbikes.

About EKELEME JUDITH OLUCHI

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