The relocation of German Tornados and a single Airbus A310 Multi-Role Tanker/ Transport (MRTT) of the Einsatzkontingent Counter Daesh – the German Luftwaffe’s unit involved in operation Inherent Resolve against Islamic State – from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to al-Asraq Air Base in Jordan was concluded in early October. The move was the result of ongoing political tension between Germany and Turkey. The German government decided to withdraw its assets from Turkey on June 7, after members of the German parliament were repeatedly refused access to the German detachment at Incirlik by the Turkish government.
The A310 MRTT left on June 9 and resumed operations from al-Azraq two days later. The Tornados flew their last operational mission from Incirlik on July 29, before temporarily returning to Germany. The move of the Tornados was very complicated as the 200 containers with some 1,500 tonnes of equipment, including the Ground Exploration Station of the Reccelite reconnaissance system, had to be transported from Incirlik to Azraq by air. The last German soldiers left Incirlik on September 27.
One week later, on October 4, four Tornados landed at al-Asraq to resume operations in support of coalition forces the following week. Germany commenced Tornado operations against Daesh (ISIS) from Incirlik in December 2015. The German jets are tasked with reconnaissance missions using the Reccelite system operated by the Luftwaffe since 2009. TaktLwG 51, the Luftwaffe’s dedicated reconnaissance unit, leads the deployment, during which German Tornados have flown almost 3,100 hours in more than 1,000 missions, photographing 8,500 possible IS targets.
Kees van der Mark