By Tim Marshall.
After the British Labour Party said its MPs can vote according to their consciences, on whether to extend air strikes against ISIS to Syria, the likelihood of UK involvement has grown.
Some of the criticism says that all the RAF would be doing is simply ‘re-arranging the rubble’ due to a lack of targets which have not already been bombed. This is incorrect.
The coalition powers, especially France and the USA, want the UK involved for two reasons. Firstly to boost the political unity required for a sustained conflict, but also because the UK has a weapon the French and Americans lack – the Brimstone missile.
Only two countries in the world have the Brimstone – Saudi Arabia and the UK. It has capabilities the coalition want to call on – pinpoint accuracy against a moving target, and a smaller field of shrapnel explosion thus potentially limiting civilian casualties. When the British Prime Minister David Cameron said he wanted to ‘cut off the snake’s head’ – it was a reference to the role the UK will play if Parliament votes in favour of air strikes. The W&Y has been told that if British airstrikes go ahead they will concentrate on killing the top echelons of ISIS with the Brimstone playing a leading role.
The What and The Why of the Brimstone missile:
Range – 10 miles.
Speed – Supersonic
Target size – From large vehicles traveling at 70 mph, to individual people
Warhead – Can be detonated when pilot decides
Length – 6 foot 6 inches
Maximum payload – 18 missiles on one jet fighter
Delivery – Laser guided from a Tornado GR4 jet at 20,000 ft. Can be fitted to other aircraft
Made – In Britain
Cost – £100,000
Efficiency – as efficient as the intelligence the targeting depends on.