Date: Tuesday February 5, 2019 at 3:02pm
The last RAF Tornado to take off on Op Shader.
© crown copyright 2019.
First entering service in 1979, the fast jets have been used in operations across the world, most recently bombarding Daesh to push the terrorist group back through Syria and Iraq.
Families and friends of the present-day squadron members were on hand to welcome them back to RAF Marham, Norfolk, on Tuesday afternoon.
The weapons capabilities of the soon-to-retire Tornados are now being delivered by RAF Typhoon jets, which will continue to take a leading role in the Coalition’s mission against Daesh. Under ‘Project Centurion’, worth £425million over the past three years, the Typhoon can now also launch the world-leading Meteor air-to-air missile, the Stormshadow deep strike cruise missile and the precision attack missile Brimstone.
These improved RAF Typhoon jets will form the backbone of the UK’s combat air fleet, alongside the recently introduced new fleet of F-35 Lighting jets over the coming years.
The Tornado will be officially retired from service at the end of March and will only be used for training purposes over the UK in the intervening period.
Originally named the Tornado GR1 the aircraft’s first use in live operations was during the Gulf War in 1991, when 60 Tornado GR1s were deployed from bases in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Later they were upgraded to the GR4 model, which has been used ever since over the skies of Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
"It is with a heavy heart, but enormous pride, that we bid farewell to the Tornado from operations. This truly is the end of an era, having played a vital role in keeping Britain and its allies safe for four decades.But, after so long in service, it is only right that we now look to the future."
"The combination of our state-of-the art F35s and the Typhoon’s new weapon systems will keep us as a world leader in air combat for a generation."
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said:
"My sincerest congratulations to the Tornado Force, returning home after more than 4 years of continuous commitment to defeating Daesh in Iraq and Syria - an exceptional effort from everyone, well done and thank you."
Information obtained from: Gov.Uk. Please click to read the full article.