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UK F35s complete first operational missions to Syria and Iraq from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus

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posted on Jun, 29 2019 @ 09:40 AM
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In late may the UK deployed six F-35B to an airbase in Cyprus for what they said were training and systems test.


AP Archive
Published on May 26, 2019
(21 May 2019) Six F35-B Lightning warplanes, the UK's newest fighter, arrived on Tuesday at a British air base on Cyprus for training and a systems test in the aircraft's first overseas deployment.

The jets from 617 Squadron, flown by three British Royal Navy and three Royal Air Force pilots, touched down at RAF Akrotiri for what officials said will be a six-week deployment on the eastern Mediterranean island nation as part of Exercise Lightning Dawn.

RAF Akrotiri Station Commander Christopher Snaith said the deployment will let pilots put the planes through their paces, test logistics and sharpen ground crew training.

Snaith said the training aims to prepare the aircraft for its first deployment aboard the UK's new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, and to develop its strike capability.

There are no current plans to have the aircraft conduct combat missions, Snaith said.

Flight training will take place over waters south of Cyprus and won't involve any weapons.

Well, fast forward not even a month, and combat mission was a success!

The UK’s newest and most advanced generation of fighter jet, the Lightning F-35B, has completed its first operational missions to Syria and Iraq, as part of the ongoing fight against Daesh, following a successful training period in Cyprus, UK Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt said during a visit she paid to the British Bases in Cyprus.

“What we have seen over recent years is an ever closer partnership forming and I want to take that forward,” she noted, adding that “we are living in some very uncertain time. There is obviously rising tensions. We are calling on Iran to de-escalate those tensions and really the ball is in their court to do that. Our Foreign Secretary has been very clear on that. That would be our posture and our stance. Of course that was one of the areas that we have discussed.”

Invited to say if Cyprus is an important ally for the UK in the Mediterranean, the Defence Secretary said that it is not just because of the strategic importance “but also of our shared objectives. I think now, more than ever, we want to defend the rules-based order. We want to be demonstrating that together we have resolve against all those increasing threats that we face. So it is a really important partnership,” she stressed


The Defense Minister had some nice things to say about the multi role combat jet.

To a question about the F-35, Mordaunt said that “it has been out here training, it is a proof of concept deployment to see how it does in this forwarding environment. But it has done so well we have actually moved it to do some operations and so for the last week it is flying on operations, performing very good indeed. It`s very good. Practice and exercise for all of the support team as well as the pilots. So far it has been extremely successful.”

To a question about the operation over Syria and Iraq, the Defence Secretary said that the operation is going very well there. So compared a few years ago when I was a Minister of State for the Armed Forces the operation tempo for these aircrafts was much higher. But now it`s not so much. But they are ready if they are needed, she added.

Asked if they will be stationed in Cyprus permanently, Mordaunt replied: “No. We will move these aircrafts around and later this year they will be joining the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. They are part of our global force where we have to do patrols in Estonia, where we are helping out in Mali, all over the world with the assets that we have. But it is great that they are here in Cyprus. I am particularly proud that there first operational deployment has been from Akrotiri.”




A pair of F-35Bs, also known by their formal nickname Lightning II, from the RAF's 617 Squadron, flying from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea, conducted the first combat patrol over Syria on June 16, 2019, according to an official statement. The detachment of six Joint Strike Fighters in Cyprus has since flown a combined total of 12 sorties over both Syria and Iraq. The jets have been at Akrotiri since April 2019 and conducted Exercise Lightning Dawn the following month as a workup to actual combat missions. The United Kingdom is now the third country to deploy its F-35s for combat, after Israel and the United States. The RAF F-35Bs are conducting these "armed overwatch" missions equipped with a pair of 500-pound class Paveway IV dual-mode precision-guided bombs in their internal bays, along with two AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM). So far, the British jets have not actually engaged any ground targets.


The UK is now the third country after USA and Israel to deploy the F-35 in a combat role.
On a related matter, the US Air Force has also recently deployed F-22's to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.


U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors fly in formation as they prepare to land at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, June 27, 2019. These aircraft are deployed to Qatar for the first time in order to defend American forces and interests in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photos by Staff Sgt. Ashley Gardner and Tech. Sgt. Nichelle Anderson)

There are higher resolution photos available in the link if anybody is interested in that.




posted on Jun, 29 2019 @ 10:36 AM
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a reply to: worldstarcountry

The F-35 is being used primarily as a quarterback instead of a strike aircraft. They're hitting some targets but are far more valuable as a deconfliction/ coordination tool. The amount of information they pull in is staggering and they have the ability to direct other aircraft around threats and away from other aircraft.



posted on Jun, 29 2019 @ 11:12 AM
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a reply to: worldstarcountry

Well they do need to be tried and tested by the buyers.

The Germans already have dozens of these new jets (nearly a hundred and forty if I'm not mistaken), but *only* a handful are actually operational. Crazy. It gets worse considering two just crashed last week - and I assume they were destroyed in their crash...



posted on Jun, 29 2019 @ 11:20 AM
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a reply to: AnakinWayneII

The Germans don't have any F-35s. They have Typhoons, and have ruled out buying F-35s.



posted on Jun, 29 2019 @ 11:28 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Might grab some popcorn and wait for the haters now.



posted on Jun, 29 2019 @ 12:13 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Interesting, I've watched them demonstrate with a squadron of F16's. F16's at the front and one F35 at the rear flying in formation



posted on Jun, 29 2019 @ 02:39 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: AnakinWayneII

The Germans don't have any F-35s. They have Typhoons, and have ruled out buying F-35s.


My mistake. I do apologise.

I meant Eurofighters. The Germans have dozens of them, but only a few immediately operational.

Slipped up there, oopsy daisy...



posted on Jun, 29 2019 @ 02:53 PM
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a reply to: 0bserver1

The information sharing between F-35s is amazing. They're actually having to develop new ways to share the information because of the amount of data. Aircraft on the ground are receiving information from airborne aircraft before they finish starting their engine. One of the Israeli comments was that by the time they pass 300 feet, the entire Middle East is laid out on their display. The biggest problem right now is a 5th-4th information transfer system that doesn't give away the 5th Gen aircraft.
edit on 6/29/2019 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 29 2019 @ 02:59 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So most older aircraft like the F16 c I believe and others are going to have an upgrade? or already updated as you said that is..


I do think its a great piece of air equipment and an asset to the military ( The helmet screen information is awesome) I was amazed that they actually can see through the plane ..
edit on 0b32America/ChicagoSat, 29 Jun 2019 15:07:32 -0500vAmerica/ChicagoSat, 29 Jun 2019 15:07:32 -05001 by 0bserver1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 29 2019 @ 03:38 PM
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a reply to: 0bserver1

They're looking at multiple options. They flew the Talon HATE system on the F-15s, which in addition to the pod carried requires an antenna installation along the intake on one side.

They also are looking at a gateway system. They used NASA WB-57s over Afghanistan as part of the BACN system. There is also a ground based system that will relay information to ground systems. The most likely way going forward will be a gateway system relaying to an airborne platform, probably ABMS related.



posted on Jul, 1 2019 @ 01:45 PM
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Four aircraft returned to Marham today. The other two went to Italy for two weeks.



posted on Jul, 2 2019 @ 08:40 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
HA! What are the odds that the F-35's were possibly involved with the Israeli strike on Saturday. Of course Israel, already in a de-facto war against Iran and seeing Syria as expendable or acceptable collateral damage has no issue accepting credit through non-comment and silence against accusations out of tradition. Thank you Israel, what are pals for


The claims are they were the most extensive strikes against the military infrastructure in some time. One of the S-200 missiles overshot the field when it missed its targets and, whoops! It landed in Cyprus!


This came only two days of course after a series of demands by the SDF, our good guys on the ground out there. I suspect these actions are linked, but with my security clearance, which is zero, it will only ever be speculation. Hindsight sure is something. I could not see the puzzle until the last piece fell over Cyprus so to speak lol

edit on 7-2-2019 by worldstarcountry because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 2 2019 @ 08:42 PM
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a reply to: worldstarcountry

Israel already has their own F-35s, that have been used in combat more than any other operator. There's no need for the UK aircraft to have been involved.



posted on Jul, 2 2019 @ 09:06 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
And Israel uses their F-35's and their F-16's . Hey listen, I get it, you got to say what you got to say. But considering how many missiles were also intercepted means they had to fire a good number. That tells me quite a few planes were in use since each one can only carry so many. Whatever, it was Israeli only. Still funny to see the defense missile land in Cyprus. That sucker has a helluva range for being as old as it is!


However, while the Israeli air Force and Navy were able to score direct hits on several targets, the Syrian air defenses also prevented a number of these missiles from hitting more sites across Syria. As shown in the four-minute-long video below, the Syrian air defenses were able to intercept many Israeli missiles, including a five out of six cruise missiles that targeted the Homs Governorate on Sunday evening.

Good luck trying to find that video doing a search in English!



posted on Jul, 2 2019 @ 09:11 PM
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originally posted by: worldstarcountry
In late may the UK deployed six F-35B to an airbase in Cyprus for what they said were training and systems test.


AP Archive
Published on May 26, 2019
(21 May 2019) Six F35-B Lightning warplanes, the UK's newest fighter, arrived on Tuesday at a British air base on Cyprus for training and a systems test in the aircraft's first overseas deployment.

The jets from 617 Squadron, flown by three British Royal Navy and three Royal Air Force pilots, touched down at RAF Akrotiri for what officials said will be a six-week deployment on the eastern Mediterranean island nation as part of Exercise Lightning Dawn.

RAF Akrotiri Station Commander Christopher Snaith said the deployment will let pilots put the planes through their paces, test logistics and sharpen ground crew training.

Snaith said the training aims to prepare the aircraft for its first deployment aboard the UK's new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, and to develop its strike capability.

There are no current plans to have the aircraft conduct combat missions, Snaith said.

Flight training will take place over waters south of Cyprus and won't involve any weapons.

Well, fast forward not even a month, and combat mission was a success!

The UK’s newest and most advanced generation of fighter jet, the Lightning F-35B, has completed its first operational missions to Syria and Iraq, as part of the ongoing fight against Daesh, following a successful training period in Cyprus, UK Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt said during a visit she paid to the British Bases in Cyprus.

“What we have seen over recent years is an ever closer partnership forming and I want to take that forward,” she noted, adding that “we are living in some very uncertain time. There is obviously rising tensions. We are calling on Iran to de-escalate those tensions and really the ball is in their court to do that. Our Foreign Secretary has been very clear on that. That would be our posture and our stance. Of course that was one of the areas that we have discussed.”

Invited to say if Cyprus is an important ally for the UK in the Mediterranean, the Defence Secretary said that it is not just because of the strategic importance “but also of our shared objectives. I think now, more than ever, we want to defend the rules-based order. We want to be demonstrating that together we have resolve against all those increasing threats that we face. So it is a really important partnership,” she stressed


The Defense Minister had some nice things to say about the multi role combat jet.

To a question about the F-35, Mordaunt said that “it has been out here training, it is a proof of concept deployment to see how it does in this forwarding environment. But it has done so well we have actually moved it to do some operations and so for the last week it is flying on operations, performing very good indeed. It`s very good. Practice and exercise for all of the support team as well as the pilots. So far it has been extremely successful.”

To a question about the operation over Syria and Iraq, the Defence Secretary said that the operation is going very well there. So compared a few years ago when I was a Minister of State for the Armed Forces the operation tempo for these aircrafts was much higher. But now it`s not so much. But they are ready if they are needed, she added.

Asked if they will be stationed in Cyprus permanently, Mordaunt replied: “No. We will move these aircrafts around and later this year they will be joining the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. They are part of our global force where we have to do patrols in Estonia, where we are helping out in Mali, all over the world with the assets that we have. But it is great that they are here in Cyprus. I am particularly proud that there first operational deployment has been from Akrotiri.”




A pair of F-35Bs, also known by their formal nickname Lightning II, from the RAF's 617 Squadron, flying from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea, conducted the first combat patrol over Syria on June 16, 2019, according to an official statement. The detachment of six Joint Strike Fighters in Cyprus has since flown a combined total of 12 sorties over both Syria and Iraq. The jets have been at Akrotiri since April 2019 and conducted Exercise Lightning Dawn the following month as a workup to actual combat missions. The United Kingdom is now the third country to deploy its F-35s for combat, after Israel and the United States. The RAF F-35Bs are conducting these "armed overwatch" missions equipped with a pair of 500-pound class Paveway IV dual-mode precision-guided bombs in their internal bays, along with two AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM). So far, the British jets have not actually engaged any ground targets.


The UK is now the third country after USA and Israel to deploy the F-35 in a combat role.
On a related matter, the US Air Force has also recently deployed F-22's to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.


U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors fly in formation as they prepare to land at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, June 27, 2019. These aircraft are deployed to Qatar for the first time in order to defend American forces and interests in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photos by Staff Sgt. Ashley Gardner and Tech. Sgt. Nichelle Anderson)

There are higher resolution photos available in the link if anybody is interested in that.


What did they do? Not get detected?

FFS....



posted on Jul, 2 2019 @ 09:20 PM
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a reply to: worldstarcountry

Syrian sources always claim to have shot down most Israeli missiles when they attack like this though.

As for the number, Israeli aircraft tend to use the Delilah missile. Each F-16 can carry two in the typical loading. So four F-16s means eight missiles in the air.



posted on Jul, 2 2019 @ 09:41 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
They did not say they intercepted most, they intercept I think slightly more or less than half. Lets assume they were using F-35's as well. What is the capacity for F-35? Or what missiles would they have used if they were using F-35?

The sad irony is, their only civilian casualties came from the damage from of one of the interceptions! So yes, it sucks that this baby that was pulled from the wreckage died later in the hospital, that structure was not the target, and if that the missile had not been intercepted, that baby might be alive.

Anyways the only reason I brought it up here is because SAM's landed in Cyprus, which just thought was another funny coincidence. But As I revisit and re-read the sources, it looks like these ops were a day apart anyways.



posted on Jul, 2 2019 @ 10:12 PM
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a reply to: worldstarcountry

Right now the F-35 is limited to bombs only. They'd be used to backstop the strike package, and find threats. Their EW package would be used in a supporting role.



posted on Jul, 2 2019 @ 10:28 PM
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a reply to: worldstarcountry

Newspaper , The Sun, Ran a video on such



posted on Jul, 2 2019 @ 11:24 PM
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a reply to: steaming
right, now try to find that video using search terms in youtube. It is not as easy unless it has already been re-uploaded by someone in English. I found it on a foreign website written in English. That is not what I mean though. Search for it on youtube using words in English. Please link the returned results with the english terms you used.




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