The Royal Air Force has released stunning images of a unique aircraft formation to celebrate forty years of service by the Tornado GR4 fast jet.
When the Tornado is withdrawn from service on 31st March 2019 it will bring to an end four decades of service during which the aircraft has formed the backbone of UK airpower. Three training variants of the Tornado have received special markings including a camouflage scheme which the Tornado sported in its early career.
The Tornado first entered RAF service in 1979, principally in the Cold War nuclear strike and interdiction role. Its combat debut in the 1991 Gulf War heralded a period of near continuous operations which continue to this date.
Some 28 years after those first missions to help liberate Kuwait the RAF's two remaining Tornado squadrons, IX(B) and 31 Squadrons, remain on operations in the Middle East fully committed to the fight against Daesh as part of the Global Coalition effort.
"I was immensely proud to have led the 'Tail Art' formation, our first event which celebrates the imminent retirement of the Tornado after almost 40 years of service.
"The success of the sortie was borne out of the outstanding Whole Force support at RAF Marham who remain focused on sustaining Tornado operations and are as committed today as they were in 1982 when the first Tornado landed at the Station. "
Group Captain Ian (Cab) Townsend
Station Commander at RAF Marham - Led formation in images
"I wasn't born when the Tornado first entered service with the RAF. It was a privilege to fly on today's training sortie which also captured fantastic imagery of this iconic aircraft. It will be a sad day for all of us when the Tornado shuts down its engines for the last time."
Flight Lieutenant Nathan Shawyer, 27
Last pilot to qualify on Tornado
Photos - UK Crown Copyright 2019 - Open Government Licence (OGL) - Wednesday 23rd january 2019.
The RAF Tornado will be withdrawn from service on 31st March 2019, and will bring to an end four decades of service, during which the aircraft has formed the backbone of UK airpower. RAF Tornados returned home from Operations for the last time on 5th February 2019. Their last operational sortie took place from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus on Thursday 31st January. This marked the end of over 28 years almost continual Operational deployment for the Tornado Force.
There will be a 3-ship Tornado Farewell Flypast, over three days, from Tuesday 19th February to Thursday 21st February 2019.
Tuesday 19th February 2019
FORMATION TRANSIT BY FAST JET MIL ACFT ROUTING:
523849N 0003304E - (MARHAM AD) - 1300
524033N 0003410E - (VCY NARBOROUGH) - 1305
523815N 0000539W - (VCY THORNEY) - 1311
524844N 0003320W - (VCY MORTON) - 1313
524358N 0003911W - (COTTESMORE) - 1315
524107N 0004430W - (VCY OAKHAM) - 1316
523347N 0005709W - (SHANGTON) - 1318
523106N 0011243W - (BROUGHTON ASTLEY) - 1320
523652N 0013020W - (SHEEPY MAGNA) - 1322
524343N 0014337W - (ALREWASMEMORIAL ARBORETUM) - 1324
524945N 0020600W - (STAFFORD) - 1326
523824N 0021920W - (COSFORD AD) - 1329
523441N 0023247W - (VCY MUCH WENLOCK) - 1330
524737N 0024005W - (SHAWBURY AD) - 1333
531335N 0025933W - (SEALAND) - 1338
530329N 0042632W - (CAERNARFON BAY) - 1348
531453N 0043207W - (VALLEY AD) - 1350
534442N 0025301W - (WARTON AD) - 1426
534833N 0024802W - (VCY CATFORTH) - 1427
534627N 0023401W - (SAMLESBURY) - 1429
545436N 0024439W - (HAYTON) - 1442
550133N 0023607W - (SPADEADAM) - 1443
550301N 0023313W - (BERRY HILL) - 1444
544300N 0020153W - (BOLLIHOPE COMMON) - 1449
541732N 0013206W - (LEEMING AD) - 1455
541219N 0012253W - (TOPCLIFFE AD) - 1456
540256N 0011514W - (LINTON ON OUSE AD) - 1457
533820N 0003647W - (WINTERTON) - 1503
532213N 0002532W - (NEWTON BT TOFT) - 1506
531000N 0003125W - (WADDINGTON AD) - 1509
530626N 0004132W - (STAPLEFORD) - 1510
530134N 0003923W - (BRANDON) - 1511
530149N 0002906W - (CRANWELL AD) - 1512
530536N 0001004W - (CONINGSBY AD) - 1514
532330N 0000445W - (NORTH ELKINGTON) - 1517
532859N 0001338E - (VCY DONNA NOOK) - 1519
530531N 0002633E - (OFFSHORE SKEGNESS) - 1524
525152N 0001532E - (VCY HOLBEACH) - 1527
523150N 0002349E - (SOUTHERY) - 1531
523849N 0003304E - (MARHAM AD) - 1545
BTN VALLEY AND WARTON FORMATION WILL CLIMB TO
CONDUCT AAR IN AREA 13 (VCY MORECAMBE BAY) UNDER A
RADAR SERVICE WITH SWANWICK MIL.
• See map showing route for Tuesday 19th February 2019.
Wednesday 20th February 2019
FORMATION TRANSIT BY FAST JET MIL ACFT ROUTING:
523849N 0003304E - (MARHAM) - 1300
524031N 0003358E - (VCY NARBOROUGH) - 1301
524207N 0004442E - (GREAT DUNHAM) - 1307
522617N 0010031W - (KENNINGHALL) - 1310
522029N 0004628E - (HONINGTON) - 1312
521125N 0002942E - (VCY LIDGATE) - 1314
520802N 0001728E - (BALSHAM) - 1315
520535N 0000748E - (DUXFORD) - 1316
521252N 0000435W - (CAMBOURNE) - 1318
521445N 0001516W - (LITTLE PAXTON) - 1319
521320N 0002443W - (BOLNHURST) - 1320
520955N 0003259W - (STEVINGTON) - 1321
520410N 0003710W - (CRANFIELD) - 1322
515324N 0004216W - (LEIGHTON BUZZARD) - 1324
514640N 0004316W - (HALTON) - 1325
514052N 0004808W - (HIGH WYCOMBE) - 1326
514217N 0010517W - (GREAT HASELEY) - 1327
513626N 0010550W - (BENSON) - 1329
511039N 0011644W - (MICHELDEVER) - 1334
511224N 0013131W - (ANDOVER) - 1336
510824N 0014831W - (GREAT DURNFORD) - 1338
511801N 0041804W - (OFFSHORE ILFRACOMBE) - 1356
514251N 0042208W - (PEMBREY) - 1401
514515N 0042207W - (FERRYSIDE) - 1402
514229N 0035713W - (FELINDRE) - 1405
512522N 0034514W - (OFFSHORE PORTHCAWL) - 1408
512432N 0032533W - (ST ATHAN) - 1410
512351N 0032049W - (CARDIFF) - 1411
512224N 0031533W - (OFFSHORE BARRY) - 1412
513211N 0025425W - (NEWPORT) - 1415
513959N 0024716W - (GAERLLWYD) - 1416
513622N 0023644W - (VCY LITTLETON UPON SEVERN) - 1418
513010N 0023334W - (FILTON ABBEY WOOD) - 1419
512641N 0014243W - (POULTON DOWNS) - 1425
513224N 0013745W - (BISHOPSTONE) - 1426
513631N 0013802W - (SHRIVENHAM) - 1427
514518N 0013440W - (BRIZE NORTON) - 1428
515831N 0011234W - (SOULDERN) - 1432
523228N 0002959E - (METHWOLD) - 1445
523822N 0003321E - (MARHAM) - 1446
FORMATION PLANS TO TRANSIT AT 250-2000FT AGL. TIMINGS, HGT AND ROUTE
ARE APRX AND MAY CHANGE DUE TO WX OR OTHER REQUIREMENTS.
• See map showing route for Wednesday 20th February 2019.
Photos - UK Crown Copyright 2019 - Open Government Licence (OGL) - Thursday 21st February 2019.
There will also be a Tornado 9-ship flypast from RAF Marham, on the afternoon of Thursday 28th February 2019. The formation will conduct a flypast at RAFC Cranwell as well as a series of passes at RAF Marham.
It is expected that 9 Tornado aircraft will take off from RAF Marham at approximately 2pm on Thursday 28th February 2019. They will perform a flypast of RAFC Cranwell at approximately 3.15pm and the 9 aircraft will then return to RAF Marham at approximately 3.20pm to conduct a series of passes.
Photos - UK Crown Copyright 2019 - Open Government Licence (OGL) - Thursday 28th February 2019.