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12(B) Squadron Bids Farewell to the Tornado GR4

Number 12(Bomber) Squadron has lodged its Standard at RAF College Cranwell drawing to a close over a quarter of a century of Tornado operations.

The Squadron completed its final flight as a Tornado GR4 squadron on the 14 December 2017 in the skies over Iraq and Syria. The mission was led by Officer Commanding 12(Bomber) Sqn, Wing Commander Nikki Thomas, and consisted of a pair of Tornado GR4 aircraft, armed with Paveway IV GPS guided weapons and Brimstone missiles, successfully completing an armed reconnaissance mission over Iraq.

"It was very poignant for us to deliver the Squadron's final flight as an operational mission because, since it's reformation at RAF Marham in January 2015, 12 Squadron has been at the very forefront of UK operations to defeat Daesh."

Wing Commander Nikki Thomas

In common with other Tornado and Typhoon squadrons 12(B) Sqn has over the past three years routinely deployed to RAF Akrotiri on Operation Shader from where it completed over 1000 missions. These included numerous armed reconnaissance flights to gather vital intelligence in addition to strike missions in support of the coalition campaign.

“I am immensely proud of all the Squadron has achieved over these last three years and fully believe it showcases the Royal Air Force at its best; reacting swiftly and decisively to world events, to protect the interests of the UK and our Allies."

Wing Commander Nikki Thomas

The squadron has operated the Panavia Tornado during the last 25 years and, as the rumble of 12 Sqn Tornado engines filled the evening air for the final time, it was announced that it would reform as a Typhoon squadron based at RAF Coningsby. With the closure of the latest chapter of its distinguished history, 12 Squadron personnel have been assigned to fellow Tornado squadrons IX(Bomber) and 31 Squadron. This will allow the Tornado Force to maintain the same tempo of operations until the aircraft's planned out of service date.

Given its proud and distinguished history, the 12 Squadron Standard was displayed before Her Majesty The Queen on 2 February 2018, with the disbandment formally completed with the lodging of the Standard at Royal Air Force College Cranwell on 14th February 2018, the 103rd anniversary of the formation of the Squadron. Here, the standard will remain lodged until 12 Sqn reforms as a Typhoon Squadron, ready to deliver on their motto 'leads the field' once more.