Date: 20 February 2019


NEARLY 26 years after being introduced at RAF Lossiemouth, the iconic Tornado aircraft returned to Scottish skies for the last time this week.

The final sortie of three days of flypasts marking the jet’s imminent retirement took place on Thursday over Scotland. The formation was led by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC ADC, a Tornado pilot and former Station Commander of RAF Lossiemouth, who was flying the type for the last time.

Describing the flypast, Sir Stephen said:

“As a Tornado GR4 pilot I can testify first-hand what a magnificent aircraft it has been throughout its long operational history, and how sad it will be to see it finally retire. It has been the cornerstone of the RAF’s combat air capability and has been served by the finest air and groundcrew on the planet.”

The four-aircraft formation flew a route that took in RAF Lossiemouth and Leuchars Station and was enjoyed by thousands of onlookers who had responded enthusiastically to the social media campaign heralding the flypasts.

Sir Stephen added:

“As a Scot and a former Station Commander at RAF Lossiemouth, I couldn’t think of a better way for me to say farewell to the Tornado. I will be very sad to see it retire but like all good things the Tornado’s time has now come to an end. However, the future is in good hands with the introduction of our state of the art F-35 stealth fighters and the improvements to the Typhoon.”

First entering service in 1979, the fast jets has 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, on 5 February this year the aircraft finally returned home from operations for good.

In the immediate term, the Tornadoes will be replaced by new weapons capabilities for the Typhoon jet. Under ‘Project Centurion’, worth £425m over the pas

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