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In focus: Which weapons were used to attack Syria?

Britain, France and the US deployed their most trusted jets for the overnight attack on Syria.

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

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

(PA Graphics)

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 involved in the overnight attack were loaded with “bunker busting” Storm Shadow cruise missiles.

Weighing in at 2,866lb (1,300kg), measuring 16.7ft (5.1m) in length and with a range in excess of 150 miles (240km), 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.

(PA Graphics)

– 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.

(PA Graphics)

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

Both jets have the capacity to carry missiles capable of reaching their Syrian targets without entering Syrian airspace.

– 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.

(PA Graphics)

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.

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

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