The UK government will deploy RAF Tornado jets in northern Iraq which could play a role in the humanitarian mission, Downing Street has confirmed, ‘Sky News’ reports.
In a statement, Number 10 said “a small number” of Tornado jets will be sent to the region and can be used, if required, to improve the UK’s surveillance capability.
The UK will also look at how it can get equipment to Kurdish forces, the statement added.
The fighter jets would be based in [South] Cyprus at RAF Akrotiri, alongside the C-130 Hercules cargo planes that arrived over the weekend to carry out aid drops.
RAF Akrotiri is used by the RAF for training and also as a base for overseas operations in the Middle East.
The Tornados are equipped to conduct long and short range surveillance and infra-red photography.
While the US is carrying out a combat campaign, it has been stressed that the UK is only taking part in a humanitarian relief operation.
A mission to deliver aid to refugees in the Punjar Mountains was aborted by an RAF Hercules on Sunday evening as it was feared that the multitude of refuges crowding the drop-zone might be injured or killed.
According to ‘Sky News’, the British Government is keen to avoid a repeat situation and the Tornados could provide detailed imagery to enhance the safety of any future operations.