Following on from our Monday article featuring the sorry remains of a pile of ex-RAF Tornado F3 interceptors after being ‘reduced to produce’ (aka stripped for parts and left for scrap), we thought we’d include a few images of stored Tornado GR1 and GR4 bombers (and a couple more fighters). These images show the airframes as they were while mothballed at Shawbury, home of the RAF Aircraft Storage Flight. Unfortunately, they have now also been RTP’d.
Notable among the withdrawn jets is ZD708, which served as a BAE Systems trials aircraft when the company upgraded 142 of the original 228 Panavia Tornado GR1s to GR4 standard. Seen here in the original grey/green camouflage scheme of the early Tornados, the wording emblazoned on the forward fuselage reflects its role as a trials jet. Check out ZD708 here during better days.
Another resident of the hangar was ZA446, a Tornado GR4 that last flew in September 2009. During that final sortie, an in-flight fire caused the Marham-based aircraft to make an emergency landing at RAF leuchars in Scotland. Deemed uneconomical to repair, it was officially written off and moved to Shawbury for storage in 2010. The rather fresh-looking paintwork suggests the aircraft (seen here during active service) had recently been repainted.
With many useful parts removed, ZA446 languished in a corner of the hangar alongside an assortment of retired Tornado GR1s and F3s. But in 2012, the withdrawn airframes were finally sent to RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire for RTP and recycling.
Keep reading – explore these scrapped F-4K Phantom remains on Clydeside, Glasgow.