Tonka Special Tails.
This video shows a historic event: a unique formation of four special colored Tornado GR4s from RAF Marham alongside a fifth machine from RAF Lossiemouth, flew in the skies over Great Britain, last week.
Four aircraft were adorned with a special centenary painted tail fin commemorating the 100th anniversary of each individual squadron with the fifth jet’s tail fin celebrating 40 years of the Tornado.
Established at St. Omer on Dec. 8, 1914 Number IX (B) Squadron has been the first unit to pass the 100-year mark. Being one of the pioneers of the night flying, hence their motto “Through the Night We Fly,” the unit’s special painted Tonka sported the famous green bat, which represented the night camo colour, on the tail fin.
The second Tornado was from Number 12 (B) Squadron that celebrated their centenary on Valentine’s Day this year. Made up at Netheravon on Feb. 14, 1915 the unit contributed in developing daylight bombing tactics (their motto “Lead the Field” reflects this expertise) and the fin of their jet was painted with the emblem of the fox, received from Fairey Fox aircraft that the squadron flew in 1926.
The third jet was from 31 Squadron, whose anniversary will be celebrated on Oct. 11, 2015. Known as the Goldstars, their Tonka’s tail fin was painted with the Gold Star of India, in recognition of them being the first operational military unit in Indian skies supporting the army in dealing with tribal unrest, hence their motto “First in Indian Skies.”
The fourth Tornado from Marham was the one wearing the 40th Anniversary tail fin, commissioned in 2014 to mark 40 years of the European bomber.
The four Tonkas joined with a fifth special color from XV Squadron, the Tornado operational conversion unit based at RAF Lossiemouth. XV Squadron was born in Farnborough on Mar. 1, 1915 and their tail fin features the Hind’s Head from their squadron emblem. The original emblem of a Hart’s head was changed to the Hind’s head in 1927 to represent the aircraft that was in service at that time.
RAF Tornados are actually taking part to Operation Shader against ISIS flying from Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus.
Image credit: RAF/Crown Copyright