Having first entering into service in 1979, the Tornado jets have been deployed in operations across the world, most recently bombarding Daesh to push the terrorist group back through Syria and Iraq.
Families and friends of the present-day squadron members were on hand to welcome them back to RAF Marham.
The weapons capabilities of the soon-to-retire Tornados are now being delivered by RAF Typhoon jets, which will continue to take a leading role in the Coalition’s mission against Daesh. Under ‘Project Centurion’, worth £425million over the past three years, the Typhoon can now also launch the world-leading Meteor air-to-air missile, the Stormshadow deep strike cruise missile and the precision attack missile Brimstone.
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.
The Tornado will be officially retired from service at the end of March and will only be used for training purposes over the UK in the intervening period.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “It is with a heavy heart, but enormous pride, that we bid farewell to the Tornado from operations. This truly is the end of an era, having played a vital role in keeping Britain and its allies safe for four decades.
“But, after so long in service, it is only right that we now look to the future. The combination of our state-of-the art F-35s and the Typhoon’s new weapon systems will keep us as a world leader in air combat for a generation.”
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