Tornado
Aircraft

Farewell Tornado Fast Jet

Get ready to be blown away by these stunning images of Tornado GR4 fast jet.

Tornado

Once the backbone of UK airpower, the iconic Tornado fast jet is taking a backseat at the end of March.

The combat jet is going into well-deserved retirement after almost 40 years of service.

It’s combat debut in the 1991 Gulf War followed by a period of continuous operations. 

28 years after its first mission to liberate Kuwait the RAF's two remaining Tornado squadrons, IX(B) and 31 Squadrons, were integral in the fight against Daesh as part of the Global Coalition effort in the Middle East.

Let's salute the unique aircraft with these incredible photos. 

Tornado

Three GR4 jets took to the skies for a commemorative photo flight over the North Sea and RAF Marham. 

Two GR4’s had their tails painted in recognition of numbers 31 ‘The Goldstars’ Squardon and IX(B) Squadron.

Tornado
Tornado
Tornado

The aircraft were captured in a number of stacked formations along with tanking off the wing of the Voyager. 

A third jet was painted with the initial retro camouflage seen on GR1 and GR4 jets.

Tornado
tornado

For four decades Tornado has been one of the most important aeroplanes in the UK airforce since the Second World War. 

Developed in the late 1960s, it is very much a product of its time. 

Panavia Tornado entered service in 1979 principally in the Cold War nuclear strike and interdiction role. 

Tornado

The combat jet was developed jointly by the UK, Germany and Italy. 

It's defining characteristic was that it could fly low and fast, avoiding Soviet air defences.

Over time its bombing capacity was developed, making the aircraft remarkably effective at modern warfare. 

Tornado
Three specially painted RAF Panavia Tornado GR4’s took to the skies on a training sortie.

Tornado had an advantage over any other combat aircraft because of its ability to carry the Brimstone air-to-surface missile. 

These are designed to minimise collateral damage and are capable of hitting moving targets. Tornado is a large aircraft that could carry a lot of these - 12 in four sets of three.

Last year Typhoon was equipped with the Brimstone air-ground and Storm Shadow stand-off missiles. Giving the aircraft an advantage over its Cold War predecessor which is getting too expensive to maintain. 

The replacement of Tornado with Typhoon has been planned for some time. The RAF’s Typhoon squadrons operate alongside Tornado on Operation Shader from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and will be put into final retirement on 31st March.