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The Tornado, nicknamed the Tonka, this week was retired by the RAF after four decades of service.

The last British Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 touched down for the very last time at RAF Marham, eastern England on the 14 March.

The aircraft was piloted by Squadron Leader Ian Dorner and Navigaror Sqn Ldr Stephen Beardmore.

 

 

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The final farewell to the iconic Tornado aircraft and personnel that have served on her Squadrons took place at RAF Marham with the disbandment parade of the last 2 remaining Squadrons No IX(B) and 31 Sqn. Up to 850 guests gathered in the hangar to see the two flights, one from each Squadron, march on accompanied by the Band of the RAF College Cranwell.

The Tornado entered service in 1979. It was originally designed as a Cold War bomber aircraft, intended to fly low and fast over the flat plains of eastern Europe.

It saw operational service for the first time during The Gulf War in 1991 with sixty aircraft were based at stations in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

It went on to see operational service in campaigns over Kosovo, Afghanistan and the 2003 Iraq War.

In recent years Tornados were deployed to bomb Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria from RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus.

The Tornado is being replaced by the new F35 stealth jet which also has the capability to fly off the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers.