MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - Outdated and outnumbered British Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado GR4 warplanes prove to have little to no effect on Islamic State (IS) militants fighting some 15,000 feet below in Iraq and Syria, the Telegraph reported Tuesday.
The Islamist threat can only be challenged by combat forces on the ground warned retired British Army officer Lord Dannatt along with other retired military chiefs in response to the air strike authorization last week, according to the newspaper.
Although IS militants have no known air defenses at their disposal, RAF bombers flying in uncontested air space are struggling to find targets to attack, according to the Telegraph. The Tornadoes have been returning to their base at Akrotiri with full bomb payloads.
Yesterday's reports of IS fighters battling Iraqi forces only miles away from Baghdad further prove current airstrike strategies are not enough to stop the Sunni extremists from taking over the capital despite advantages over IS militants' predominant use of automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades on the ground.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon, the former Chief of the Air Staff pointed out the RAF had 30 combat squadrons at its disposal at the beginning of 1991, but today only has seven. To make matters worse, the Ministry of Defense is in the process of disbanding one of the three remaining Tornado combat formations.
Currently, both US and UK politicians have not proposed any strategies boosting ground forces in Iraq or Syria.
Britain's six Tornado GR4 fighters have been positioned in Cyprus over the past six weeks, occasionally carrying out surveillance missions in the Middle East. On September 26, British parliament gave approval for the UK to join the US-led coalition fighting the IS established earlier in September.
The United States first started its airstrikes against the IS in Iraq in August and began carrying out strikes against the jihadist group in Syria last week.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting against the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the IS launched an offensive in northern Iraq, announcing the establishment of a caliphate on its captured territories.