Tornado aircraft

Fears for future of airbase

People in Swaffham in Norfolk have been speaking about their fears for the future of RAF Marham.

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Emergency landing for GR4 aircraft from RAF Marham

RAF Tornado GR4
RAF Tornado GR4 Credit: PA Images

A Tornado jet has had to make an emergency landing at a Scottish airport after a bird strike.

The GR4 aircraft from Norfolk's RAF Marham landed at Prestwick Airport, Ayrshire, following the incident shortly after 10.30pm yesterday.

The two-person jet, which was on a training mission, was still at the airport this afternoon, being checked over by engineers.

It is not yet known if it suffered any damage as a result of the incident.

An RAF spokesman said: "The two-seater aircraft was on a standard training mission in Scotland.

"It had a bird strike. The crew were aware of it and they made a precautionary landing into Prestwick.

"The aircraft is still there and it's awaiting engineering assistance before recovery."

It is not clear how long the jet will remain at the airport, the spokesman added.

He said the aircraft, carrying a pilot and a weapons systems operator, would have been in the vicinity of Prestwick when the crew made the decision to divert to the airport.

"It landed safely and both crew are fine," he added.

Prestwick Airport said its emergency procedures swung into action after it was made aware of the plan to land the jet.

A spokesman said: "An RAF Tornado experienced a bird strike and declared mayday at 10.36pm last night.

"Prestwick declared emergency so all the emergency services were there to await the aircraft, which arrived 10 minutes later.

"It landed safely at 10.46pm. The emergency was called off, and everyone stood down, at 11pm precisely."

New fighters set for Marham

RAF Marham set to be home for the new stealth fighter Credit: Press Association

The first squadron of the next generation of stealth fighter jets which will operate from RAF Marham in West Norfolk is expected to be ordered this autumn, Defence Minister Philip Dunne has said.

Mr Dunne said the Government hopes 48 of the F35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, also known as Lightning II, will have been ordered by 2020.

The Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy will operate the aircraft from Marham and the Navy's Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, which are being built.

Queen's high honour for former Norfolk airman

Former RAF Marham commander and Chief of the Defence Staff Jock Stirrup has been made a Knight of the Garter Credit: Arrow Press/EMPICS Entertainment

One of RAF Marham's former Station Commanders has been made a Knight of the Garter, one of the highest honours for chivalry given by the Queen.

Air Chief Marshal Lord Jock Stirrup was in charge of the Norfolk base during the Gulf War in the 1990s.

He went on to be head of the UK Armed Forces.

New appointments are announced on Saint George's Day and are given to those who have served the country well.

Other Knights of the Garter in our region include the former Prime Minster and Huntingdon MP Sir John Major.

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Crowds out for special homecoming parade

by Kate Prout

There's been a special homecoming in the west Norfolk town of Downham Market. Military personnel from nearby RAF Marham paraded through the streets before receiving medals for their latest tour of Afghanistan.

The crowds had more to cheer than usual with the announcement this week that the future of the airbase has been secured until 2040.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Kate Prout:

RAF Marham on parade in Downham Market

Members of 9 Squadron RAF Marham on parade in Downham Market, Norfolk Credit: ITV Anglia

RAF Marham's 9 Squadron have held a homecoming parade and medal ceremony in Downham Market, Norfolk. Personnel marched through the town before receiving their medals for their recent deployment to Afghanistan.

The parade comes just days after the Ministry of Defence announced Marham would be home for the RAF's new Joint Strike Fighters securing the future of the station.

Members of 9 Squadron RAF Marham gather for a medal ceremony in Downham Market, Norfolk Credit: ITV Anglia

Homecoming parade for RAF Marham personnel

Armed service personnel ar RAF Marham Credit: ITV News

This afternoon RAF Marham's 9 Squadron will be holding their homecoming parade and medal ceremony.

Personnel will march through Downham Market in Norfolk, before receiving their medals for their recent deployment to Afghanistan.

It comes just days after the MoD announced Marham would be home for the RAF's new Joint Strike Fighters

Good news for RAF staff

The future of one of the biggest RAF bases in our region has been secured safeguarding thousands of jobs.

RAF Marham in Norfolk had been at risk of closure after it was revealed the Tornado fleet, which is based there, would be taken out of service in 2017.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond made the announcement that RAF Marham would be home to the new joint strike fighter warplane - ensuring it will be operational for at least 20 years.

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