RAF Leeming has kept its links with the Tornado F3 Air Defence aircraft after receiving the last of its kind to stand as its new Gate Guardian.
The Tornado F3 began its life at RAF Leeming in 1988 after receiving formal recognition as an Air Defence Main Operating Base under Strike Command with XI, 23 and XXV fighter Squadrons.
The aircraft provided protection to UK airspace and RAF Leeming regularly intercepted Russian aircraft up until April 2008.
Following the removal of the Javelin earlier this year, the last operational F3 airframe has gone on show at the entrance as a reminder of Leeming’s heritage.
Since then, the remaining operational F3 aircraft have returned to Leeming to be run through a spares recovery programme, Reduce to Produce (RTP), run by BAE Systems.
The final F3 was picked up from the RTP programme and the airframe was rebuilt once stripped of its assets.
The aircraft was officially handed back to Group Captain David Bradshaw, RAF Leeming Station Commander who said: “Today is a really exciting day for all of us at RAF Leeming.
“Being able to take the last aircraft going into the Reduce to Produce programme and placing it as a gate guardian will mean that all personnel coming onto Leeming in the future can reflect on our wonderful heritage and this wonderful aircraft.”
The F3 was replaced with the Typhoon in 2011.