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In focus: Which weapons were used to attack Syria?

The attack was launched from three platforms, the Red Sea, the north Arabian Gulf and from the air.

Syria conflict
Syria conflict

Suspected chemical weapons facilities in Syria were hit by 105 missiles overnight – with Britain, France and the US deploying some of the most powerful weapons in their arsenals.

The three bases targeted were the Barzah Research and Development Centre in greater Damascus, the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Facility, west of Homs, and the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Bunker Facility, as described by Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

The attack was launched from three platforms, the Red Sea, the north Arabian Gulf and from the air.

– UK: The Royal Air Force used four Tornado GR4s to attack the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Facility.

(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 deployed eight “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), it 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.

The GR4s were provided with air support by four Typhoons.

(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. It also launched missiles from the Ticonderoga-class cruiser Monterey, the Virginia-class submarine John Warner, and two other warships.

It launched around 66 Tomahawk missiles, and 19 joint air-to-surface stand-off missiles.

(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.

The Barzah facility was hit by 76 missiles in total, the storage facility was hit by 22 weapons and seven missiles fell on the bunker.

The UK’s Storm Shadows were used on the storage facility.

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph