MORAY RESIDENTS WELL rehearsed in the noise of a Tornado or Typhoon jet passing over their heads might be forced into a double-take as a shark roars over their heads.
That is because of a new paint job on one of XV Squadron’s Tornado GR4’s which for a while will be sporting a snappy pink coat – with some very fierce looking teeth and glowering eyes!
Never short on recognising historical achievements, Tornado ZG750 at RAF Lossiemouth has been given a makeover to commemorate the 25 years that has passed since these jets played a pivotal role in forcing invading Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.
In addition to the paint job the aircraft is carrying 11 ‘battle honours’ on its tail, recalling the Tornado’s almost continuous service on operations worldwide since 1991.
Air Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff (Designate) said: “Having flown the Tornado on operations, it is wonderful to see this aircraft in a paint scheme marking 25 years of almost constant deployed operations for the Tornado Force.
“It has consistently been at the forefront of the RAF’s attack capability and continues to make an enormous contribution today on operations in the Middle East against Daesh, operating alongside Typhoon, and will continue to do so until its planned exit from Service.
“I look forward to my time as the next Chief of the Air Staff, when I will oversee the introduction into operational service of the Tornado’s replacement, the F-35B Lightning II.”
Tornado F3 fighters and GR1 bombers – from which today’s Tornado GR4 descends – were among the earliest allied aircraft to launch operations against Saddam’s forces in Kuwait from January 1991.
Tornado aircraft have seen active service on operations worldwide every year since then, including in humanitarian, reconnaissance and strike roles. Recent deployments include Libya, Nigeria and Afghanistan, and Tornado GR4s are currently flying in Iraq and Syria as part of a global coalition to help defeat the Daesh terrorist group.
The Tornado was introduced into RAF service in 1979, and has been updated throughout its life to keep up with the changing requirements of the modern battlefield.
Today’s Tornado GR4s carry improved precision guided weapons including the Paveway IV laser- or GPS-guided bomb and Brimstone missiles, as well as cutting-edge RAPTOR and Lightening III surveillance and targeting pods.