THE iconic RAF Tornado jets are on the last day of their final flypast – marking their retirement after 40 years of service.
Three of the legendary planes left their base in RAF Marham in Norfolk on Tuesday.
UK MOD � The Tornado is taking to the skies one last time after defending Britain for 40 years
Where will the flypast be taking place?
The three-day ceremonial flight started on Tuesday 19 and will finish today (February 21).
After taking off from their base in Norfolk on Tuesday, the fighter planes have been seen over Rutland, the West Midlands, North Wales, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.
Today, the jets are scheduled to fly over Leuchars Station in Fife, eastern Scotland, between 11.15am and 11.30am.
They are then fly further north over RAF Tain on the Moray Firth between 11.30am and 11.45am.
And their final flypast will be over RAF Lossiemouth in Moray in North East Scotland between 11.45am and 12noon.
Why are the Tornadoes retiring?
The legendary planes are due to be replaced by Typhoons after spending 40 years defending Britain.
After entering service in 1979 the jets have been used all over the world – most recently bombing ISIS with missiles to push the terrorist group back through Syria and Iraq.
Originally named the Tornado GR1 the aircraft’s first use in live operations was during the Gulf War in 1991, when 60 Tornado GR1s were deployed from bases in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Later they were upgraded to the GR4 model, which has been used ever since over the skies of Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
From now on they will only be used for training purposes over the UK, before the Typhoons officially take on the mantle in March.
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The new and improved RAF jets will make up the backbone of the UK’s combat airfleet – joining the new fleet of F-35 Lightning jets.
The RAF has already trialled its Typhoon and F-35 Forces’ abilities to work together.
In a series of trials, the effectiveness of both platforms when operating alongside one another has been confirmed.
With its larger payload and increased agility and range, the Typhoon will operate in concert with the stealthy F-35 and its next-generation sensors, delivering the UK a force ready to counter evolving threats in the global environment.What are the Tornadoes capabilities?
The Tornado is capable of engaging all targets on the battlefield – able to strike bunkers and other hardened facilities, armoured vehicles and targets that require little collateral damage.
They are flexible when flying with a 27mm gun for varied targets.
The aircraft carry Paveway guided bombs and Brimstone and Storm Shadow missiles.
They can reach top speeds of Mach 1.3 and fly to an altitude of 50,000ft.
A Tornado’s wingspan is 45ft6in and the jet is 56ft5ins in length.
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