The UK F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft are set to support counter-Daesh operations in Iraq and Syria.
The fighter jets will join the UK’s ongoing mission Operation Shader against the terrorist group in the region.
The aircraft will operate from aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the flagship of the UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG21) deployment.
617 Squadron RAF (also known as The Dambusters) will operate the jets from the aircraft carrier throughout the deployment.
UK Ministry of Defence Chief of Joint Operations vice admiral Sir Ben Key said: “This deployment represents the embodiment of the UK’s Joint Expeditionary Capability and utilising the F-35Bs in the fight against Daesh will further demonstrate our commitment to securing their global defeat.”
Operation Shader is the code name for UK’s contribution to the US-led mission against Daesh in Iraq.
The British Armed Forces is part of an 83-member global coalition formed to avert a terrorist resurgence in Iraq.
Deployed to the Middle East, it supports counter Daesh operations alongside Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces and NATO allies.
Eight F-35B jets have embarked on the HMS Queen Elizabeth-led UK CSG21 deployment.
The F-35Bs will carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks. The fifth-generation multi-role combat aircraft feature stealth technology, advanced sensors, and mission systems.
UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said: “The F-35B Lightning jets will pack a potent punch against Daesh and help prevent them from regaining a foothold in Iraq.
“This is a prime example of the UK Armed Forces stepping forward with our allies to confront persistent threats around the world. It is Global Britain in action.”