Extra jets head for Afghanistan
Published 12/08/2010 | 03:32
Two more RAF Tornado jets are heading for Afghanistan to provide "eyes in the sky" for troops on the ground.
The additional aircraft were deployed after a request by US General David Petraeus, commander of the Nato mission in Afghanistan, for more protection.
There are already eight RAF Tornados based at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan, but the extra jets will provide another 130 flying hours a month, the Ministry of Defence said.
Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced their deployment on a visit to UK forces in the country.
Before flying back to the UK, he said: "Tornado GR4s provide essential air cover to our service personnel on the ground and leading the fight against deadly IEDs (improvised explosive devices) from the air.
"The intelligence these assets provide to coalition forces will enable commanders to have the eyes in the sky that they need to protect their troops and help increase security for local people."
The extra Tornados will arrive at Kandahar Airfield after a journey from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland.
More air cover was needed because of the increase in numbers of Nato and Afghan forces on the ground in southern Afghanistan, the MoD said.