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Emotional reunions as RAF pilots return home

There have been emotional scenes at RAF Marham in Norfolk as families are reunited when Tornado pilots returned home from Afghanistan.

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RAF Marham Tornados fly home from Afghanistan

Tornado GR4s from RAF Marham in Norfolk have left Afghanistan and are heading back to the UK after more than five years of operations in the country.

Tornados leaving Afghanistan Credit: Ministry of Defence

The fast jets, from 31 Squadron based at RAF Marham flew out of Kandahar airfield early this morning having flown their final missions.

Tornado on the ground Credit: MoD

Aircrew and ground crew from the squadron have provided vital support to NATO efforts in the country since they took over from RAF Harriers in June 2009.

During its time in Afghanistan, the Tornado GR4 has provided vital information about enemy activity on the ground, using the Litening III and RAPTOR reconnaissance pods to spot potential hazards such as roadside bombs.

The jets have also provided close air support deterring enemy forces by flying low and fast over their location or striking important targets with precision when necessary to do so.

– MoD spokesperson
'Tornado force' Credit: MoD

The Tornado remains the fast jet workhorse of the RAF and has performed superbly over many years in Afghanistan, supplying life saving intelligence and precision weapons in support of our mission there.

The whole Tornado force should be proud or their work and I pay tribute to their professionalism.

– Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon

Air and ground crew will now make their way via RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, to RAF Marham where they will be welcomed home by friends and family.

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