The Royal Air Force has marked the retirement of its Panavia Tornado GR4 fleet in style with a diamond nine formation, with fly-bys at RAF Cranwell and at the type’s final home of RAF Marham. The feeling of pride was palpable today as the final crews from Nos IX(B) and 31 Squadrons launched a mass mission for the final time. Lead by respective squadron commanders Wg Cdr James Heeps and Matt Bressani, the Tornados formed up in immaculate formation, with hoards of crowds looking on.
The RAF Tornados will maintain an alert status until March 31 in case of crisis, but only a few more flights are planned ahead of the formal disbandment parade on March 14. Full coverage of the RAF Tornado retirement appears in the forthcoming April issue of Combat Aircraft.