Note to Cameron: The Bear Doesn't Need Your Help to Fight ISIS

The British - and French - cannot add anything to the Russian bombing campaign against ISIS

Mon, Nov 23, 2015
|
5,552Comments
MORE: Military

Soon - if the British Prime Minister David Cameron has his way - the British parliament will authorise air strikes on the Islamic State.

The subject is hugely controversial in Britain, with Conservative newspapers rounding on anyone who opposes the idea.

In reality it is a quarrel over nothing.

What no one ever says is that in purely military terms Britain’s intervention - as that of France - would be almost completely irrelevant.

advertisement
Russia’s air campaign dwarfs whatever Britain and France are capable of.

That this is so can be judged by comparing the two strikes launched on the Islamic State in Syria immediately after the Paris bombings.

The Russians deployed 12 heavy TU22M3 bombers able to carry 288 kgs of bombs and probably flying with full loads.

The French sent 12 Rafale and Mirage 2000 fighters able to carry less than half this amount, and in reality almost certainly carrying far less than that since they were probably also carrying extra fuel tanks.

The TU22M3s form only one part of the total air group the Russians have deployed for their bombing campaign in Syria. It now totals around 70 jet aircraft including 25 heavy bombers.

Whatever forces the British send will only be be a fraction of this.  

After what the Russians are doing to them, it's unlikely the jihadis will even notice.

Though you would never know it from the way the British talk, in purely military terms it barely matters whether they join the fight or stay out. 

Click here for our commenting guidelines