HMS Queen Elizabeth bids 'farewell’ to Royal Air Force’s Tornado jets before final flight 

Share this article
0
Have your say

BRITAIN will hear the iconic thunder of the Royal Air Force's Tornado jets for the final time this week. 

The famed fighter jets are making a number of flypasts across the country over the course of today, tomorrow and Thursday before going into retirement. 

HMS Queen Elizabeth has bid ‘farewell tonka’ to the RAF planes on social media. 

Her official twitter account wrote: ‘For the next 3 days will hear the thunder of the #Tornado one last time.

‘Personally my first experience of the military was standing on Kinshaldy beach watching the GR4’s taking off from #Leuchars as a boy.

‘Follow @RAFMarhamMedia for timings and updates.

The RAF's Tornado jets are carrying out flypasts for the final time this week. Picture: Cpl Tim Laurence-RAF/PA Wire

The RAF's Tornado jets are carrying out flypasts for the final time this week. Picture: Cpl Tim Laurence-RAF/PA Wire

‘Farewell Tonka.’ 

READ MORE: HMS Queen Elizabeth: Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson defends plans to send Royal Navy carrier to Pacific on first operational mission in 2021 after China cancels trade talks

The Tornado jets nearly 40 years of service in the RAF will come to an end this week. 

Members of the public will be able to see a formation of the long-serving fast jets undertake a tour of the UK that will overfly most RAF bases and other key sites associated with the aircraft. 

HMS Queen Elizabeth arriving at Portsmouth Harbour. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

HMS Queen Elizabeth arriving at Portsmouth Harbour. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The flight path of the Tornados will not however bring them over Portsmouth or the Solent sadly. 

How long have Tornado jets been used by RAF? 

The iconic planes first entered service in 1979 but are now set to be grounded for good. 

The fast jets have been used in operations across the world, most recently bombarding Daesh to push the terrorist group back through Syria and Iraq.

After over four years on Operation Shader the aircraft returned home from operations for good on February 5 of this year. 

READ MORE: HMS Queen Elizabeth: Member of Royal Navy carrier’s ship’s company awarded prestigious Chartered Master Mariner status by Second Sea Lord Vice-Admiral Tony Radakin on HQS Wellington

The jets will undertake the final flypasts across the country before going into retirement. 

Wing Commander James Heeps, OC of IX(B) Squadron, said: ‘It is a great privilege to be part of a national event that allows the public to say farewell to a brilliant aircraft that has been the cornerstone of our operations for so many years.' 

Wing Commander Matt Bressani, OC of 31 Squadron, added: ‘The national response to the Tornado farewell campaign and the reception we received when we returned from operations earlier this month shows what a special place this aircraft has in the nation’s heart.' 

What will replace the Tornado jets in the RAF? 

The RAF have said that in the immediate term, the Tornadoes will be replaced by new weapons capabilities for the Typhoon jet.

Under ‘Project Centurion’, worth £425m over the past three years, the Typhoon now has deep strike cruise missile Storm Shadow, air-to-air missile Meteor and the precision attack missile Brimstone at their disposal.

The RAF’s new fleet of F-35 Lightning jets will form the backbone of the UK’s combat air fleet alongside the Typhoon jets in the coming years. 

The F-35 jets will form part of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s compliment when it enters fulls service in 2021.