Historic RAF tornado fighter jet on display at Sunderland's North East Land Sea and Air Museum

A historic Royal Air Force Tornado fighter jet is to be permanently displayed at the North East Land Sea and Air Museum (NELSAM) in Sunderland.

The RAF gifted the Panavia Tornado F3 ZE204 jet fighter given its service from RAF Leeming, and is a tribute to the support that the region has given to the RAF.

The Panavia Tornado F3 entered service with the Royal Air Force at RAF Conningsby on the 10th of September 1986 with 229 Operational Conversion Unit.

The first squadron became operational in early 1987.

It served in the front line Air Defence of the United Kingdom from the three principal bases of RAF Coningsby in Linclonshire, RAF Leuchars in Fife and RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire.

A total of 147 Tornado F3 aircraft went into service with the RAF and were first deployed on operations during the Gulf War in 1991.

The aircraft also flew operationally over Bosnia, Yugoslavia and Iraq.

The aircraft spent the majority of its service career at RAF Leeming where it was retired from flying in December 2007.

It was moved to the Defence Fire Training and Development Centre (DFTDC) at RAF Manston where for 8 years it performed a valuable role training service fire-fighters.

With the closure of RAF Manston in 2021, it was transferred to the North East, Land Sea and Air Museum for future display.

The North East Land Sea & Air Museum sits on the former RAF Usworth and Sunderland airport site.

It comprises of the former Aircraft Museum, military vehicles collection, and the North East Electric Traction Trust (NEETT).