German Tornados based in Turkey flew their first operational flight

The four Tornado reconnaissance jets will join two already stationed at NATO’s Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey, as Germany gears up its role in the international coalition against the “Islamic State” (IS).

Once two additional Tornados arrive at Incirlik next week, Germany’s full contribution to the mission will be complete and the two “Test Tornados” at the base since December will return home.

Germany is contributing non-lethal air-refueling and reconnaissance support to its allies to help carry out airstrikes against IS militants in Iraq and Syria. The mission will be backed by nearly 200 air force members – including pilots, technicians, ground crew and reconnaissance specialists.

The deployment, which also includes a frigate supporting the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, was authorized by the German parliament following a request from France as it sought to forge a broader coalition against IS in the wake of the Paris terror attacks in November.

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