Skip to comments.Tornado: The Fighter Leaving Service After 40 Years
Posted on 01/11/2019 6:27:09 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
The Tornado has launched hundreds of airstrikes on so-called Islamic State in the Middle East (Picture: MOD).
Built more than 40 years ago to fight a nuclear war, the RAF's primary ground attack platform is due to be retired from service by March 2019.
The Tornado can also conduct intelligence gathering missions and is armed with a variety of Paveway bombs, Brimstone air-to-air missiles and Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
The aircraft also possesses an Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) for defensive purposes.
When deployed in an armed reconnaissance or close air support role, it would usually be armed with a mix of Paveway IV and Dual-Mode Seeker Brimstone, combined with a Litening III targeting pod, and in addition to the internal 27mm gun.
The aircraft entered service in 1979 and first saw combat in the first Gulf War, playing a major part in the RAFs contribution to Operation Desert Shield and the liberation of Kuwait.
It was designed to attack countries in the Soviet Union, flying at low level and at great speed.
In 2009, the Tornado replaced the Harrier force in Afghanistan where it took part in intelligence gathering for coalition forces.
Two years later it was involved in Operation Ellamy against Colonel Gaddafi in Libya.
The aircraft has also performed duties in Kosovo, Libya, Afghanistan, and more recently against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
The Tornado has been an integral part of Operation Shader the British contribution to the fight against so-called Islamic State (IS).
Based in Cyprus, the aircraft has flown in pairs alongside aircraft from other coalition nations to gather intelligence and hit IS targets in support of ground forces or civilians.
Involved from the very start of the operation, they have gathered intelligence and launched hundreds of airstrikes against IS.
An RAF Tornado aircraft (right) escorts a giant C17 Globemaster over Buckingham Palace to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen's birthday (Picture: MOD).
The aircraft may be 40-years-old but it can still carry a huge array of weaponry and the technology inside the plane is, in the words of one RAF officer, still state of the art.
Regardless, after more or less constant deployment since the early 1990s, the Tornado is to be phased out.
The RAF's Typhoon is to be significantly upgraded as part of a £2 billion investment over the next decade, including receiving the Tornado's capabilities.
The Defence Secretary paid tribute to the Tornado as he announced that nine of the UK's F-35 Lightning stealth fighter jets are ready to be deployed on operations for the first time.
Gavin Williamson said of the Tornado: "This is an amazing aircraft that has inspired so many.
"I remember as a child seeing it flying over ahead as I grew up in Scarborough as it flew down the Vale of Pickering.
"It was a magnificent aircraft, but an aircraft that has done such amazing service for our country."
I always liked the look of the plane (a handsome one) but I felt it had some flaws due to its fundamental mission (low level attack in contested airspace) which when it was finally used in action, was somewhat obsolete being designed for that mission.
Yes a handsome aircraft. Always easy to identify with that huge high tail. And loud as hell!
Thankfully the RAF’s Typhoon is replacing it not the F-35.
If they are replacing them with F35s then they better mothball them, not destroy them. Like the Apache, when the Cobras had to be brought back from NG and Reserve use for Desert Storm. The Apaches were goldplated problem pits with delaminating rotors, etc. Only the fact that the Army couldn’t afford enough Apaches and kept the Cobras saved them from complete embarrassment.
Expect the Euros to need the Tornadoes again because they can’t afford to keep the F35s in the air.
Yes. Occasionally they would show up in Yuma and you could tell they were there by the racket. We called them flying fins.
Yep. Maintenance on the F-35 has got to be a bear.
Just an anecdote - I know nothing about military or civilian aircraft - but as a passenger on a flight I must have seemed nervous, because the young man next to me asked: “What is your favorite plane?” I have no idea why I responded “The F16”. He then reached in his pocket and handed me an F16 lapel pin!!!!!! He was an F16 pilot!!!!!!
I still have the pin in my jewelry box.
If you’ve seen one in flight, you know it is a beautiful aircraft. We expected them to kill lots of Russian tanks in Northern Germany. Didn’t happen, but it tackled other missions around the globe. Farewell.
RAF Tornado Jets Flying The Mach Loop, Wales.
to be replaced by, nothing...
I think England is done. Sadly.
And I would like to be wrong. But when I see what has happened with Brexit, it is clear they have their own equivalent of the deep state.
Funny. They are inanimate objects, but there is something in them that makes us feel they are more than just hunks of metal.
I do feel that way about ships.
And I felt that way when they retired the Tomcats.
I know what you mean: In another life, I was a tanker. Each of those beasties had a personality of her own...
I was ground based and challenged them at Red Flag exercises.
Nice looking warplane but the F-16 was a much more difficult task.
Thanks for your service. You guys have guts to go inside those things...
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