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Tornado jets nearing end of service at RAF Marham

A Tornado GR4 taking off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

A Tornado GR4 taking off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

A roar of jet engines sing the Tornado’s swan song.

A Tornado GR4 outside a hangar at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtA Tornado GR4 outside a hangar at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

A year from now, the RAF’s workhorse warplane will begin to be phased out as the first of the F35 Lightnings which will replace it land at Marham.

Between now and then, the Tornado and its top gun crews will continue training sorties from the Norfolk base over the surrounding countryside and further afield.

A Tornado GR4 taking off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtA Tornado GR4 taking off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

Both air and ground crews admit they have ground fond of the Tonka, as the jet is nicknamed.

Many of today’s generation of air force personnel weren’t even born when the Tornado first entered service more than 40 years ago.

A Tornado GR4 taking off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtA Tornado GR4 taking off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

The 21st Century aircraft which will replace it is a state of the art stealth fighter which can take off and land vertically.

More than £250m is being spent preparing Marham for its arrival next summer, when 617 Sqn - aka the Dambusters - will be the first to fly it operationally.

A Tornado GR4 flying over RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtA Tornado GR4 flying over RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

A Tornado GR4 flying over RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtA Tornado GR4 flying over RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

A Tornado GR4 taxiing back from the runway at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtA Tornado GR4 taxiing back from the runway at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

A Tornado GR4 inside a hangar at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtA Tornado GR4 inside a hangar at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

Engineers checking over a Tornado GR4 inside a hangar at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtEngineers checking over a Tornado GR4 inside a hangar at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

A Tornado GR4 inside a hangar at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtA Tornado GR4 inside a hangar at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

An engineer preparing a Tornado GR4 for take off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtAn engineer preparing a Tornado GR4 for take off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

An engineer preparing a Tornado GR4 for take off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtAn engineer preparing a Tornado GR4 for take off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

Engineers preparing a Tornado GR4 for take off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtEngineers preparing a Tornado GR4 for take off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

Engineers preparing a Tornado GR4 for take off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtEngineers preparing a Tornado GR4 for take off at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

Tornado GR4 fighter pilots preparing for flight, taking off from RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtTornado GR4 fighter pilots preparing for flight, taking off from RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

Tornado GR4 fighter pilots preparing for flight, taking off from RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtTornado GR4 fighter pilots preparing for flight, taking off from RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

A Tornado GR4 taxiing to the runway at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian BurtA Tornado GR4 taxiing to the runway at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

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