The necessity or otherwise of RAF strikes in Syria needs to be judged on the political arguments, not operational ones. Whilst the RAF has extremely experienced aircrew and Tornado GR.4 and Reaper in particular are also well suited for the mission, there are simply too few to make a military difference to the realities on the ground. Increasing the RAF striking power from 8 Tornados and 10 Reapers to 10 Tornados, 6 Typhoons and the 10 Reapers represents a significantly greater burden on the RAF without making much of an impact on the total coalition firepower available to hit ISIL. Brimstone is a uniquely accurate and low-collateral missile for destroying vehicles but its tactical utility will not change the strategic calculus in Syria. The same is true for Paveway IV in its class as a PGM. The most useful contribution that the RAF makes to the coalition efforts over Syria is in ISR – with E-3D, Sentinel R.1, Reaper and Airseeker (UK Rivet Joint) all having been providing ISR over Syria long before the vote to authorise strikes.This is a damning article.
The RAF is now simply a demonstration force? This is beyond interesting. The French are burning thru aircraft to make mission, the Germans are only playing at warfare and the Brits don't have enough planes to make a difference.
This is pure speculation, but is it possible that the Russians can already achieve local military superiority in Europe? Maybe not take ground but they could certainly destroy the military forces of several nations...before we could sortie forces to meet the threat.
Is it possible that the Russians have achieved what the USSR couldn't?