The Luftwaffe (German Air Force) anti-ISIS mission in Jordan will end by 31 March 2020.
The ending had already been announced back in October 2019 but was made formally last week by the German Government.
The Luftwaffe performed reconnaissance missions with their Tornado Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR) aircraft since the beginning of the anti-ISIS war over Syria and Iraq. They started the mission out of Incirlik air base (Turkey), with ECRS, but the detachment was relocated in July 2017 to Al Azraq air base (Jordan).
The Luftwaffe deployed four Tornado IDS and one ECRs and supported the international coalition within Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). During the ECR missions, the pilot and its Weapons System Officer (WSO) were constantly monitoring a designated area for suspicious activities on the ground. When hostile activities were detected, coalition partners were called-in for an air-to-ground attack. As ISIS is much defeated, the recce task was dramaticly reduced. Currently, the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI, Italian Air Force) continues the job with their AMX' out of Al Jaber air base (Kuwait).
Despite the ending of the Luftwaffe’s reconnaissance mission, the Luftwaffe will continue to operate the Airbus A310 (FBS Bmvg) and A400M (LTG62) out of Al-Azraq for some more months (maybe years?).
Next to the Luftwaffe also the US Air Force make good use of Al-Azraq airbase. The USAF operates F-15C Eagles and F-15E Strike Eagles from this soil and recently expanded their presence at this airbase after leaving forward operating bases in both Iraq and Syria.
Previously, the Belgian Air Force and Royal Netherlands Air Forces had been operating from Azraq too, but these countries ended their anti-ISIS mission in 2018.
The Luftwaffe ECRs are specifically built for
reconnaissance missions and these aircraft are normally based at Schleswig-Jagel (with Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 51).
According to Scramble's Online Military Database (https://www.scramble.nl/index.php…), the Luftwaffe has 31 active Tornado ECR’s in their inventory. However, a lot of these aircraft had not been seen for a couple of years, so feel free to send in your updates!
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