RAF Tornados leave Cyprus for the last time


All RAF Tornado GR4s that were based in Cyprus and took part in operations against the Islamic State have left Cyprus to return home in the UK.

According to media reports, all eight GR4 fighter jets flew out of Cyprus earlier this week, with the first five departing on Monday and three more that left on Tuesday.

After four decades of service, the Tornado GR4 is being retired as the Royal Air Force brings in more advanced aircraft with modern capabilities for a more powerful presence in the skies.

The final air strikes by Tornado fighters were launched from Cyprus over Syria on January 31, with the RAF then launching the final operational sortie of the Tornado GR4.

The last aircraft on a mission took off from RAF Akrotiri and completed the final mission against Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

The first mission against ISIS targets was carried out in September 2014 when two RAF Tornado GR4s, deployed at Akrotiri airbase, performed an armed reconnaissance mission in company with other planes from the international coalition.

Six Typhoon jets will remain in Cyprus while local media speculated that newly-ordered F35 jets could soon appear on the island.

Some Tornado GR4’s are expected to be used for educational purposes in the UK.

[Kathimerini Cyprus]