BOSCOMBE Down Aviation Collection in Old Sarum has bolstered its fleet with the arrival of a "fantastic" new addition.

The Tornado ZA319 was brought and assembled by a specialist team last week ready to go on display to visitors.

Boscombe Down Aviation Collection (BDAC) project director Squadron Leader John Sharpe said he was "delighted" to welcome the Tornado and it was a "real boost" and "fantastic addition" to the collection.

History of the aircraft

"This aircraft after its manufacture came to Boscombe Down and as a result of the trials at Boscombe it allowed the aircraft type to be released into service. It is effectively the first Tornado that led the way for all the others that entered RAF service," explains John.

The trials took place in 1979. It is thought to have only spent a short period of time, about nine months, at MoD Boscombe Down.

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In 1981, it went to the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE) at RAF Cottesmore.

The TTTE was the Tornado school where aircrews from other countries like Germany and Italy and the RAF did their training and is thought to have stayed there until about 1998. It was then taken out of RAF service in 2000.

After this it was a "gate guardian" at Arncott, Bicester where it has remained up until now.

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Importance in Boscombe Down story

"We became aware of the aircraft and of its importance in the Boscombe Down story and as a result of the work of the RAF Heritage Organisation, who I am really grateful to, they decided the airframe should be saved and therefore come down to Boscombe Down Aviation Collection as its rightful home," continues John.

"It is an important airframe because it was the one that led to the air force flying the Tornado for 30 years.

"It's in reasonably good condition at the moment despite the fact it's been stood outside for all these years."

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Some assembly required

The Tornado's wings and tail were brought to BDAC prior to the arrival of the fuselage last Tuesday.

The team from the Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transportation Squadron (JARTS) based at MoD Boscombe Down have been putting the plane together so it can be brought into the hangar on Old Sarum Airfield and put on display.

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John said BDAC was also "indebted to" JARTS, adding: "They have worked incredibly hard on our behalf to get the aircraft out of its site up at Bicester and get it down to us."

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Volunteers at BDAC will then start work to get it back into tip top condition - cleaning and repainting the aircraft, which was originally in camouflage.

"We will certainly bring it back to the state it was all those years ago when it first went into Boscombe Down," said John.

Mystery of the image 

As the Tornado has been assembled the team at BDAC spotted an image of a pig on the side of the plane and would love to know more about it.

If anyone knows more email

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Jet Provost XS230

This is not the only new arrival at BDAC. A Jet Provost XS230 has also joined the collection's fleet.

It was offered to the museum after an accident which meant it was "beyond economic repair" to get it back to flying condition.

The Jet Provost spent about 25 years on trials work at Boscombe Down.

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"Luckily the owner was told about the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection and offered the aircraft to us as a gift, minus the engine and ejection seats. We were delighted to get it," continues John.

"That has been a bonus. That was not one we actually expected to get and is another addition to the ever expanding fleet her at Old Sarum."

Future plans for BDAC

BDAC also have plans to get two other aircrafts for its display in the new year. Negotiations are still taking place regarding this.



ALSO READ: Rolls-Royce test ‘world’s fastest’ all-electric plane on Boscombe Down


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