RAF MARHAM AIR BASE – January 20, 2019. The Tornado fighter jet is retiring after 40 years of service for the RAF in the UK and around the world. On 3 days – February 19-21 – the ‘Tonka’ will take part in a series of flypasts to commemorate the aircraft’s contribution to defending the UK.
Yesterday the Tornado Farewell Tour took place over the centre part of the UK. Today the southern part was part of the tour en tomorrow the tour will lead the Tornados to the northern part of the UK.
The Tornado has been in service since 1979, principally in the Cold War nuclear strike and interdiction role. It was first used in combat during the first Gulf War and most recently supporting the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
When the Tornado is withdrawn from service on the 31st of March 2019, it will be the end of an era for 4 decades of service during which the aircraft has formed the backbone of UK airpower.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.
Here are some videos of the Farewell Tour over the UK from Tuesday and Wednesday:
The Tornado is now being retired to make way for the RAF’s new F-35 Lightning II aircraft, as you can watch in this next video:
(Header photo: Royal Air Force)