The first batch of German troops, two reconnaissance jets and an aerial refueling jet landed in Turkey’s southern İncirlik Airbase on Dec. 10 as part of a deployment in the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.
An Airbus A400M transport aircraft carrying 40 German soldiers, two Tornado reconnaissance jets and an A310 MRT aerial refueling jet landed at the İncirlik base in Turkey’s southern province of Adana on Dec. 10.
German lawmakers on Dec. 4 had authorized the deployment of up to 1,200 personnel, six Tornado reconnaissance jets, which have no offensive capability and specialize in air-to-ground reconnaissance, one tanker aircraft for refueling and a frigate to aid the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Mediterranean Sea to join the international military operations against ISIL, in support of France after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks.
While the 40 soldiers and two Tornado reconnaissance jets left from the Jagel military airbase in northern Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein state, the A310 MRT aerial refueling jet left separately from the Cologne-Wahn base, Agence France-Presse reported.
Four more Tornado jets are expected to arrive at the İncirlik base by early January 2016, Doğan News Agency reported.
The İncirlik base had a busy day on Dec. 10, as U.S. Air Forces’ A-10 and F-15E fighter jets along with Turkish F-16 jets were seen frequently taking off and landing.
Underlining the significance of the deployment, Schleswig-Holstein state premier Torsten Albig said at the send-off ceremony that “the future of Europe depends on this friendship” between France and Germany.
Berlin had swiftly answered France’s call for help in the fight against jihadists, even though post-war Germany has been traditionally reluctant to send troops into military missions abroad.
The six Tornados are fitted with surveillance technology that can take photos and infrared images, even at night and in bad weather, and transmit them in real time to ground stations.
Germany has no plan to make bombing runs, unlike France, the United States and Britain.