RAF

Tornados Get Tail Fin Makeover

Five RAF Tornado GR4s have taken to the skies sporting new painted tail fins. The tradition of painting combat aircraft is common to...

Five RAF Tornado GR4s have taken to the skies sporting new painted tail fins.
 
The tradition of painting combat aircraft is common to virtually all air forces, offering a way for crews to celebrate achievements or commemorate past events.
 
The aircraft, four from RAF Marham and one from RAF Lossiemouth, are carrying special centenary markings to commemorate the 100th anniversary of squadrons, and 40 years of Tornado service.
 
Number IX(B) Squadron were formed at St Omer in France on the 8th December 1914. Pioneers of night flying, the squadron were given their motto Per Nocto Volamus (Throughout the Night We Fly) and their famous green bat emblem.
 
RAF Tornado GR4s Get Centenary Tail Fin Makeover
 
Number 12(B) Squadron were formed at Netheravon on 14 February 1915. Their aircraft have sported foxes since 1926.
 
The tails of 31 Squadron aircraft have long sported the Gold Star of India, a nod to the fact they were the first operational military unit in Indian skies. The aptly named Goldstars celebrate their centenary on 11th October. 
 
 
The last aircraft from Marham was the jet displaying the 40th Anniversary tail fin which was commissioned in 2014 to mark 40 years of the Tornado.
 
RAF Tornado GR4s Get Centenary Tail Fin Makeover
 
Now based at RAF Lossiemouth XV Squadron were formed in Farnborough on 1st March 1915. Their tail fin depicts the Hinds Head from their squadron emblem. 
 
The tradition of painting combat aircraft is common to virtually all air forces, offering a way for crews to celebrate achievements or commemorate past events.
 
RAF Tornado GR4s Get Centenary Tail Fin Makeover
 
One of those pilots involved in the colourful sortie was Group Captain Rich Davies, Station Commander of RAF Marham who said “ It was with a huge sense of pride that I was able to lead this unique formation of aircraft each celebrating their 100 years. It is amazing to think that there are four squadrons, flying the same type of aircraft, that will commemorate their centenary’s within 12 months of each other.
 
"This is definitely something that will never be repeated. Each individual squadron has is own strong and varied history but collectively they come together as one Tornado Force which is still delivering on Operations today across the globe as they did a centery ago. The aircraft may have changed greatly over the years but the ethos and teamwork which draws the squadrons together is the same today as it was for squadron members 100 years ago."
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