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Revealed: The Deadly Line-up of Jets, Bombers and Destroyers That Unleashed a Barrage of More Than 100 Missiles in Revenge for Assad’s Chemical Attack

Saturday, April 14, 2018 12:43
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More than 100 missiles were launched against alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria overnight, with the US, Britain and France deploying some of the most powerful weapons in their arsenals. 

The raids hit two chemical weapons facilities and a military command post in Syria on Friday night in retaliation for President Assad’s chemical attack that left up 75 civilians dead last week.

The strikes were double the size of those in 2017, with each country using some of their most advanced weaponry, which is detailed below.  

This graphic shows the location of RAF Akrotiri, from which the four Tornados were launched from. America’s Incirklik air base is pictured in the top of the image, although this was not used for the sorties, according to Turkey’s deputy PM.

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Damascus skies erupt with surface to air missile fire as the US unleashes 76 missiles on a chemical weapons facility, which was destroyed

US: 

The Americans deployed their B-1B Lancer bombers for the strike. No details were given of the missiles they were carrying, but the US Air Force did confirm air launched cruise missiles were used.

Nicknamed ‘the Bone’,  the B1-B is capable of carrying the most weapons of any bomber in a modern air force.

It is prized for its speed, manoeuvrability and long range.

Like the jets deployed by France and Britain, the B1-Bs would not have been required to cross into Syrian airspace to strike. 

They are thought to have taken off from Al Udeid US air base in Qatar, where they were seen arriving earlier this month, although this has not been confirmed by officials. 

Earlier this month, the US Air Force released footage of two B-1Bs arriving at the Al Uldeid air base in Qatar. 

USS Donald Cook and another unidentified destroyer also struck Syria with a barrage of Tomahawk missiles.

The president wrote on Twitter on Saturday morning: ‘Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!’

UK: 

The Royal Air Force used four Tornado GR4s to attack a base 15 miles west of Homs.

With a maximum speed of Mach 1.3 and capable of carrying more than eight tonnes of weapons, the GR4 is the latest phase in the evolution of the Tornado – the RAF’s strike aircraft of choice for the last three decades.

The GR4s, which were launched from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, involved in the overnight attack were loaded with ‘bunker busting’ Storm Shadow cruise missiles.

Weighing in at 2,866lb, measuring 16.7ft in length and with a range in excess of 150 miles, has been described by the air force as ‘arguably the most advanced weapon of its kind in the world’.

The range means that none of the GR4s would have been required to cross into Syrian airspace to launch the assault. 

A type-45 destroyer, possibly HMS Duncan, and an unidentified submarine were also in the Mediterranean during the strikes, although it is unclear exactly what role they played. 

France:

The French scrambled Mirage and Rafale fighter jets for their part in the Syrian air strikes together with four frigate warships, launching a total of 12 cruise missiles.

The multi-purpose Rafale is used for reconnaissance, ground support as well as air strikes. It is capable of carrying missiles of a similar capability to the Storm Shadows used by the UK.

Alongside the Rafale, France deployed its supersonic Mirage 2000 fighter jets – which have a maximum speed of Mach 2.

Both jets – which took off from bases in France – have the capacity to carry missiles capable of reaching their Syrian targets without entering Syrian airspace. 

 

 

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