Corgi AA33620 RAF Panavia Tornado GR4 Fighter Bomber - GR.4 ZG775, No.IX(B) Squadron Retirement Scheme, RAF Marham, England, March 2019 (1:72 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
During the late 1960's a number of European countries examined ways to replace their existing fleet of combat aircraft using next-generation design techniques. Several countries looked at variable geometry wing configurations as a means of making a plane perform well throughout a wider flight envelope. Variable geometry allows the pilot and/or fly by wire system to adapt the aircraft's wing shape to the optimal settings dependant on its height, speed, and load. The Tornado takes this one step further and incorporates swiveling weapons pylons that always ensure the stores are parallel to the airframe, thus minimizing drag and improving airflow across the entire surface of the aircraft especially at low altitudes.
Britain and France joined forces on a variable geometry aircraft project, called the Anglo French Variable Geometry (AFVG) project. France was already in the process of developing a variable geometry airframe of its own. In 1968, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, and Canada formed a working group to look at replacements for the aging F-104. The outcome was initially called the Multi-Role Aircraft (MRA) project, which was later changed to the Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MCRA). Britain later joined this group on the strength of its variable geometry design.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a RAF Panavia Tornado GR4 fighter-bomber that is wearing a retirement scheme and was deployed to RAF Marham, England, during March 2019.
Pre-order! Ship Date: January 2020.
Release Date: ?
Historical Account: "Mighty Fin" - As the RAF Tornado's retirement date approached, the squadron marked their long association with the aircraft by specially presenting Tornado GR.4 ZG775 in a striking retirement scheme, which featured the silhouette of a Tornado with its wings fully swept back on its tail, overpainted with the squadron's distinctive green bat crest. With its motto 'Through the night we fly', No.IX(B) Squadron has been associated with some of the RAF's most iconic bomber aircraft, such as the Avro Lancaster, English Electric Canberra and Avro Vulcan, but after operating the Panavia Tornado for almost 37 years, this magnificent strike jet must now take its place at the head of this illustrious group. Unfortunately for aviation enthusiasts, ZG775 was one of the four Tornados which did not take part in the massed formation flypast which took place at RAF Marham on 28th February 2019.
Underlining the operational effectiveness of the RAF's Panavia Tornado strike jets, despite the fact that the aircraft was scheduled to be withdrawn from service at the end of March 2019, the last eight aircraft only returned to RAF Marham from their final overseas deployment in early February. Flying from Akrotiri in Cyprus, the aircraft had been flying missions over the Iraqi - Syrian border, in support of Operation SHADER, the culmination of almost 28 years of continuous active service.
Arguably, on the eve of its retirement, the Tornado GR4 was more effective a strike and reconnaissance aircraft than it had ever been and whilst its retirement was met with sadness by the crews who had flown and worked on this magnificent aircraft, there was also great pride in commemorating its illustrious service achievements. As the sun finally set on the service career of the RAF Tornado, the 'Bats' of No.IX(B) Squadron will continue to fly on, using a different aircraft, in a different role and operating from a new home. As the Squadron Commander lowered the pennant at Marham on April 1st, 2019, No. IX(B) Squadron simultaneously re-formed at RAF Lossiemouth, where they will operate the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 in the air defense and aggressor roles, continuing the unbroken service of this famous squadron.