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Hellos and goodbyes as Tornados end their duties at RAF Marham



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It has served this country well since it was introduced into service in 1979, but now after 40 years of flying the Tornado is taxiing to a close.

Eight Tornado G4s arrived back at RAF Marham this week after being station at Akrotiri in Cyprus and taken part in the fight against IS in Syria.

Their crews were given an ecstatic welcome by families delighted to see their loved ones back from flying over a warzone.

Tornado aircraft return to RAF Marham from operations for the final time.. (6999550)
Tornado aircraft return to RAF Marham from operations for the final time.. (6999550)

But there was also an air of sadness at the departure of such a warhorse of the airforce - even though exciting times lie ahead for the base.

Tornado aircraft return to RAF Marham from operations for the final time. 55-year-old Flight Lieutenant Chris Stradling who has accrued more than 6,000 hours of flying time in Tornado has an emotional reunion.. (6999549)
Tornado aircraft return to RAF Marham from operations for the final time. 55-year-old Flight Lieutenant Chris Stradling who has accrued more than 6,000 hours of flying time in Tornado has an emotional reunion.. (6999549)

The first five jets made the five-hour return flight on Monday, and the last three flew back on Tuesday.

Tornado aircraft return to RAF Marham from operations for the final time. Officer Commanding IX Squadron Wing Commander James Heeps reunited with his children William 9, Henry 6 and George 3.. (6999552)
Tornado aircraft return to RAF Marham from operations for the final time. Officer Commanding IX Squadron Wing Commander James Heeps reunited with his children William 9, Henry 6 and George 3.. (6999552)

The Tornado G1 was first used in combat during the first Gulf War. It will leave service before the end of next month. Tornados also saw action in Kosovo and in this century’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Tornado aircraft return to RAF Marham from operations for the final time. William 9 with a sign for dad, Officer Commanding IX Squadron Wing Commander James Heeps. (6999537)
Tornado aircraft return to RAF Marham from operations for the final time. William 9 with a sign for dad, Officer Commanding IX Squadron Wing Commander James Heeps. (6999537)

In its place will be the existing Typhoon fighter jets and the new American-made Lightning F-35, which will continue to be based at Marham.

Tornado aircraft return to RAF Marham from operations for the final time. Squadron Leader Matt Axcell is greeted by his son Hector Axcell (7). (6999546)
Tornado aircraft return to RAF Marham from operations for the final time. Squadron Leader Matt Axcell is greeted by his son Hector Axcell (7). (6999546)

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The combination of our state-of-the-art F-35s and the Typhoon’s new weapons systems will keep us as a world leader in air combat for a generation.”



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