News story: The end of an era: RAF Tornado returns from operations for the last time

#21
What happens to Navigators? Will they be hoofed?
As I understand it the remaining tornados will take to the skies one last time to do a farewell flight over all the bases they were previously stationed at.

As they complete this circuit they will form one “big wing” and pass over RAF Lossiemouth at which point the pilots will eject all of the navigators into the North Sea.




Probably.
 
#22
Serious answer (informed by a mate in the RAF Manning organisation)

We are at critical mass for JO and SNCO aircrew, pilots and non-pilot aircrew (all specs). The standdown of GR4 will free up some pilots & navigators to go to other platforms (ISTAR and FJ) but will not be a panacea for the Service's problems.

One of the Service's pinch points is WSO (new name for the old navigator role) where, as I understand it, several FL units are limited by their numbers of WSOs. P-8 introduction in particular has meant that we will continue to require, and train, WSOs for the foreseeable, and I believe we have students training with the RN at 750 Sqn, NAS Culdrose, until Ascent come up with something .........:rolleyes:

Magic Mushroom probably has better gen than I, but that's my understanding.
 
Last edited:
#23
I’m fortunate to be regularly underslung by the BBMF, red arrows and a few cheeky chinooks flying low.
fixed FOC

On a serious note, all those trips to RAF Leuchers for their September airshow showed off the tornados ability for aerial displays.
Seeing a Tornado land at Basra Airport proved the RAF were participating in Op Telic. The Typhoon has a hard act to follow
 
#24
Good mud mover the Fin. Easy to load and a great selection of weapons, more in KSA as their US weapons are qualified on it if possible. JP, Alarm, and Sea Eagle along with bombs various. Onwards and upwards though, it'll release a lot of guys to fill the manning gaps.
 
#25
This will date me:

f3_wales1.JPG
 
#26
Old pic, showing age but It was taken by my Grandad in 198? When we went to Finningley, other highlight were Phantoms, Galaxy and Concorde, cool pic though. F2 Still in "sales" regalia.

tornado.jpg


Would not let met upload my original scan at zillions of DPI for some reason .....
 
#27
Old pic, showing age but It was taken by my Grandad in 198? When we went to Finningley, other highlight were Phantoms, Galaxy and Concorde, cool pic though. F2 Still in "sales" regalia.

View attachment 376194

Would not let met upload my original scan at zillions of DPI for some reason .....
you can practically hear the Ultravox in the background
 
Last edited:
#28
Yep, excellent bomber. Interestingly, they had twin cannon when I was on them but don’t recall them being used in anger (unlike the Jag).
They chopped the left Mauser for sensors with the GR4 refit. Ironically it seems they then had to strafe on subsequent ops.

25 years since I finished on ‘em as a techie yet I can still remember weapon fault codes, capacities, acronyms etc.
But can I remember what my missus asked me to do an hour ago? Nope.






Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#29
The retirement of the GR4 also means the fast jet Nav, WSO, talking Navbag etc etc will be a thing of the past. This means a world where the seat-to-stick interface's ego will now run unchecked in the fast jet world.

Yes. However, the US Air Force and US Navy still think certain roles need a backseater, for example the the F/A-18F Super Hornet has one. Do they know something we do not?

In 2003 the was a documentary about the war in Iraq and one of the episodes focused on the deployed Tornados, and showed the backseater doing things the pilot could not. Extra eyes/hands/brain could be useful.

As for Tornado - I vaguely remember going to an air show in the early eighties when it was new. I also knew (sort of) a GR4 backseater in the early 00s.

Time flies!
 
#30
What happens to Navigators? Will they be hoofed?
@Solo Dave has summed things up pretty well.

Some of the GR4 WSOs will leave as they’ve been extended to see the Tonka out of service. The other will go to Reaper (where their weaponeering experience is very useful) and P-8 in particular with others scattered around the other ISTAR platforms.

As @Solo Dave mentions, rear crew (commissioned WSOs as well as non-commissioned WSOps) are a critical pinch point due to the decision to close 55 Sqn in 2010 when the GR4 retirement was confirmed and the Nimrods went.

The RAF currently uses spare capacity on 750 Sqn at Culdrose but they can’t produce the numbers required for P-8 and Protector in particular.

This is another of the...’interesting challenges’...that the MFTS debacle has created.

However, the US Air Force and US Navy still think certain roles need a backseater, for example the the F/A-18F Super Hornet has one. Do they know something we do not?
No.

For the umpteenth time, the vast majority of FJ types do not need WSOs!

Regards,
MM
 
#31
I can also remember the Cpl RAFP telling us not to take any pictures as we were waiting to board our Herc back home. Unfortunately I've lost the pictures that I didn't take. The rest of the sqn didn't take any pictures either.
Bit like the tour bus which went around Spandau prison when Herr Hess was in residence, signs everywhere saying no pics, guide saying no pics. Click click click click click click click click click!!!
 
#32
Bit like the tour bus which went around Spandau prison when Herr Hess was in residence, signs everywhere saying no pics, guide saying no pics. Click click click click click click click click click!!!
Similar deal with the Brandenburger Tor and the Sov war memorial, the tourist bus was not allowed to stop and being seen taking pictures was frowned upon.
Back to the Tonka, my last posting before being promoted to civvy was from Wildenrath to Laarbruch just as the Tonka was departing prior to the Leaping Heaps arriving from Gütersloh. In the interim period when nothing much was happening one Tonka did trials on the arresting system (RHAG?), the hook did not always engage the wire as it bounced on a couple of occasions, that would have been very reassuring had it been for real. However did see a Lightning at Gütersloh mid 80s, which found a novel way to take the wire, with its front undercarriage.
 
#34
I grew up in Lostock Hall, the southern turning point between Salmesbury and Warton (it was the gas works there).
I remember a childhood with skies full of Jags, Tornadoes, Canberras, Lightnings, Buccs, Strikemasters and Hawks.
My house now lies directly under the flightpath into Warton (western Preston) and my home office faces west, so I get to see all the traffic going into there.
The skies are a lot quieter these days and the Tornadoes few and far between. I'll be getting myself down there when they do the final flight at the end of March and it may get a little dusty.
A hell of a plane that proved itself again and again.
I may get to see the odd Saudi one after that though, fingers crossed.
You poor bugger, I was back there in January and it was grim...we did however have a very nice meal at the Lea Gate.
 
#35
As I understand it the remaining tornados will take to the skies one last time to do a farewell flight over all the bases they were previously stationed at.

As they complete this circuit they will form one “big wing” and pass over RAF Lossiemouth at which point the pilots will eject all of the navigators into the North Sea.




Probably.
Without the Navigators the pilots will be lost and crash into the Irish Sea as the try to find their way home.
 

Latest Threads

Top