UK F-35 Fighters Fly Missions from Cyprus over Syria, Iraq

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 21, 2019 file photo, F-35B aircraft pass on a runway after landing at the Akrotiri Royal air forces base near city of Limassol, Cyprus. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

NICOSIA — Britain’s most advanced military aircraft, the Lightning F-35B, has flown its first missions over Syria and Iraq as part of ongoing operations against remnants of the Islamic State group, the U.K.’s defense secretary said.

Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt said in a statement released Tuesday that that the jets’ first operational mission from a British air base in Cyprus was made following a highly successful training period.

“Their first real operational mission is a significant step into the future for the U.K.,” Mordaunt said.

Six F-35B aircraft from 617 Squadron flown by three British Royal Navy and three Royal Air Force pilots, arrived at RAF Akrotiri on May 21 for a six-week deployment as part of Exercise Lightning Dawn.

British military officials had said there were no plans for the aircraft to conduct combat missions during their stay at RAF Akrotiri.

FILE – In this Tuesday, May 21, 2019 file photo, F-35B aircrafts fly over the Akrotiri Royal air forces base before landing, near city of Limassol, Cyprus. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

But it was decided that they were ready to make their operational debut as part of Operation Shader — the U.K.’s contribution to the fight against Islamic State group — because of their “exceptional performance.”

Officials said the aircraft didn’t fire any weapons when flying alongside Typhoon jets during the missions over Syria and Iraq.

The F-35 is the first aircraft to combine radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and the ability to conduct short takeoffs and vertical landings.

The 617 Squadron jets will be deployed this autumn aboard Britain’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, for a battery of operational tests. The tests will be carried out off the east coast of the U.S. in preparation for the aircrafts’ first carrier strike deployment planned for 2021.

The U.K. now owns 17 F-35B aircraft with plans to procure a total 138 jets.

According to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II Website, British industry will build 15% of the more than 3,000 jets that are planned to be built. British officials say the program has already generated orders worth $12.9 billion and at peak production will support thousands of British manufacturing and engineering jobs.

FILE – In this Tuesday, May 21, 2019 file photo, Soldiers wave at a F-35B aircraft waves after landing at Akrotiri Royal air forces base near coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus. Britain’s defense secretary said the country’s most advanced military aircraft, the Lightning F-35B, that is undergoing training at a British air base in Cyprus has flown its first missions over Syria and Iraq as part of the ongoing operations against the Islamic State group, in a statement issued Tuesday June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

FILE – In this Tuesday, May 21, 2019 file photo, a F-35B aircraft lands at Akrotiri Royal air forces base near coastal city of Limassol, Cyprus. Britain’s defense secretary said the country’s most advanced military aircraft, the Lightning F-35B, that is undergoing training at a British air base in Cyprus has flown its first missions over Syria and Iraq as part of the ongoing operations against the Islamic State group, in a statement issued Tuesday June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

2 Comments

  1. How embarrassing is it for Greek Cypriots to continue to watch these British Anglo white supremacist racist pilots leave their shores to break all international laws..and commit war crimes bombings of the people of Iraq, Syria, Yemen, libya, Afghanistan without their permission or approval but make them accessories to the murder of over 3 1/2 million people to date in the Middle East!

    .Nato commander :President Nicos Anastasiades and his ruling DISY party of the Nato aircraft carrier called Cyprus, and now planning to add a massive Gas station of Nato says….” the time isn’t right to make the bases get off the island without explaining why as they have been there for 59 years. DISY said if Brexit happens that that Cyprus and the UK need to to agree on arrangements AVOID HARDHIIPS FOR CYPRIOT GREEKS!

    LET ME HELP YOU PROTEC…MR. ANASTASIADES , WHO WITH TSIPRAS HAS SET BACK THE GREEK CULTURE .AS LEADERS .TO BEGGARS WHO PROSTITUTE THEMSELVES AND THEIR COUNTRIES TO REMAIN IN POWER!

    ANASTASIADES..HAS VIOLATED THE NUMBER ONE OBLIGATION TO THE PEOPLE OF CYPRUS THEIR SECURITY AND PEACE!

    British Bases in Cyprus, okay to use bases to commit war crimes bombing of Syria, Iraq,
    Libya, Yemen, etc to OVERTHROW THEIR GOVERNMENTS.but unwilling to bomb Turks in Northern Cyprus to protect Cypriot civilians from ethnic and religious cleansing in violation of Cypriot
    Independence agreement!

    Treason.is when Anastasiades has British PM. tell the people of Cyprus they are secure!

  2. It is the British who declared, not Anastasiades and his corrupt rulling party.., …… that the’” Greek Cypriot citizens are secure” from legitimate reprisals to the British continued bombing and military support of Terrorist rebels in Syria, Iraq, libya, Yemen etc by the countries attacked by the British from Cyprus!

    These British war mongers. who failed to live up to the Agreement as guarantor of Cyprus’s Independence, by allowing innocent Greek Cypriot families murdered in the streets of Northern Cyprus, but to kill innocent foreign soldiers and their families who also died defending their country!

    Today, in light of the fact, that the Russian Federation has warned England that further attacks which threaten or harm their troops in Syria will subject Cyprus to massive destruction.and the bases in Cyprus would be prime targets…

    Keep in mind, the Russian Federation has 15 Naval Frigates armed to the teeth with nuclear tipped missiles sitting in the oceans between Cyprus and Syria!

    No legitimate government would allow a foreign government to impose war on their people, and destroy their security and peace, unless they really are not the legitimate government of Cyprus!

    Anastasiades..should also remove his Nato financiers oil rigs from destroying the livelihoods and pristene waters of the entire coastlines of Cyprus!

    Close the Bases now…and just march to the British Gates and close them off …until they leave!

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