RAF Marham's new gate guardian is a Tornado GR4 (Picture: RAF).
Aircraft

RAF Marham gets new Tornado gate guardian

The Tornado fighter jet was previously used by the RAF Marham Fire Section for pilot extraction training.

RAF Marham's new gate guardian is a Tornado GR4 (Picture: RAF).

RAF Marham in Norfolk has received a new gate guardian – a Tornado GR4.

The Tornado fighter jet has been given a new coat of paint and a unique design on its tail and spine to commemorate the RAF Marham squadrons that flew the iconic jet between 1982 and 2019.

A team of Royal Engineers got the area ready to accept the new aircraft, including replacing the concrete pads the previous gate guardian, the Victor, was positioned on.

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The ZA614 Tornado was previously located near to Air Traffic Control where it was used by the RAF Marham Fire Section for pilot extraction training.

The names of the crew who flew the final flight on 14 March 2019 are painted under the cockpit.

Group Captain Phil Marr, RAF Marham's station commander, said: "Having spent a large amount of my career on Tornado it was great to see the aircraft as the station's new gate guardian when I returned to RAF Marham in the summer.

"The team have put a lot of time and effort into relocating the new gate guardian into its new position and preparing the surrounding area into an area of commemoration and reflection."

The new heritage wall at RAF Marham will commemorate the aircraft that have flown from the base in its 105-year history (Picture: RAF).

The previous gate guardian - a Victor strategic bomber - was dismantled and scrapped in February because no new owner could be found for it.

The Cold War-era aircraft had fallen into near disrepair and had been offered out for free to anyone who could remove, rehome and restore her. 

Comedian and actor Johnny Vegas was among those to express an interest in the aircraft before pulling out of the running after a "reality check".

A new heritage wall has also been built at the base to commemorate the aircraft that have flown from RAF Marham during its 105-year history.

It is dedicated to all personnel who have served and supported operations at the base.

Laid into the wall are a number of bricks that have been recycled from Number 1 hangar, which was demolished at the beginning of this year.

RAF Marham now also boasts a custom-made flagpole that has an F-35 Lightning weathervane on the top and features aircraft from its history around the bottom.

Watch: RAF Marham prepares to scrap its Victor gate guardian.

In February 2019, RAF Tornado GR4s landed at RAF Marham from operations abroad, for the final time.

After four decades of service, the aircraft was retired as the RAF moves to more advanced and modern capability.