"It was an honor and a privilege to be the crew to fly this iconic jet for the very last time and the fact that we have been able to conduct these flypasts is testament to the hard work that has been put in by the engineers to ensure the jets were serviceable,” Squadron Leader Dornan said after finishing the final Tornado flight. The jets flew with concrete ballast in their nose, which RAF personnel jokingly referred to as the "Blue Circle" radar, a play on a popular cement brand and British "Rainbow Codes" naming convention for advanced military equipment. The last major campaign for the RAF’s Tornados began in 2014 with operations against ISIS in Iraq, with those operations eventually extending into Eastern Syria. 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. As the upgrade program was progressing, GR1s continued to serve in the Middle East, contributing to no-fly zones over Iraq, and took part in international peacekeeping and peace enforcement missions in the Balkans, flying over Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. We reflect on the courage, skill, commitment and sadly sometimes sacrifice of those who have been at the heart of the Tornado story, from its inception through to the present day,” Air Chief Marshal Hillier said at the ceremony. Royal Air Force . 1, 2019, while 31 Squadron will come back into being in 2024 to begin flying the Protector unmanned aircraft, a derivative of the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper. But those more modern jets did certainly contribute to the decision to retire the Tornado F3s, which the RAF stopped flying for good in 2012. No. Please switch to using Chrome if you can. The stalwart of Britain’s bomber force since the days of the Cold War carried out its last operational strike on January 26, when a pair of Tornados hit five positions in Syria, all of which were being used by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq … It's not clear how much longer the Saudis, who are steadily acquiring more advanced combat jets, expect to fly their Tonkas. The result of the program was a twin-engine, two-seat, swing-wing combat aircraft. The RAF Tornado Force remained in the Gulf region to protect the Shia population in the south of Iraq and the Kurds in the north from Saddam Hussein’s persecution. A camouflaged Tornado GR1 flies in front of the Tornado F2 prototype at the Farnborough Air Show in 1982. ZA452 Tornado GR4 on display at Midland Air Museum, Coventry, England. They were also called upon for non-combat missions now and again. Four Tonkas, flying from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, each fired two Storm Shadow cruise missiles at a weapon storage facility west of the Syrian city of Homs. The last jets headed home from that theater in 2014. The RAF have been secretly developing all-electric Tornadoes for the last two years. the trainers. © 2021 Royal Air Force. The 17 th January marks the 30 th anniversary of the first British air strikes carried out by RAF Tornados against the Iraqi Air Force as part of the US led Multi-national Coalition’s actions to liberate Kuwait following the Iraqi invasion on 2 nd August … After almost 40 years serving the UK on military operations across the world, iconic RAF Tornado jets have returned home for the last time. The RAF's Tornado jets have returned to the UK for the last time in preparation for retirement after nearly 40 years in service. Panavia built Tornadoes in three main variants, Interdictor/Strike (IDS), Electronic Combat/Reconnaissance (ECR), and Air Defense Variant (ADV). Russia’s only carrier and its escorts are heading home, but not without a visit by the Brits first. Afterward, the jet taxied to a hangar at Marham where Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, the RAF’s top officer, greeted the two pilots, Squadron Leader Ian Dornan, and Squadron Leader Stephen Beardmore. Following the retirement last year of the last 29 Tornados still deployed, going forward, the Royal Air Force (RAF) has a fleet of just 119 … Spike How Sly RAF Tornado Crews Repeatedly Killed U.S. Navy F-14s And F/A-18s In Training. • Tornado wingman Ai aircraft now flies the route properly like his flight lead. They called the update the Tornado Advanced Radar Display Information System, or TARDIS, a clear reference to the phone box-shaped time machine in the popular British television series Dr. Who. 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