Paul Couper - 617 Squadron - Panavia Tornado (W)
Panavia Tornado 617 Squadron Aviation Art Blank Card by Artist Paul Couper
Re-formed on the Tornado GR.1 in 1983, 617 Squadron were assigned to the ground-support and nuclear strike roles until the WE.177 nuclear bomb was retired after which the squadron took over the maritime strike role relinquished with the retirement of the Blackburn Buccaneer.
Based at RAF Lossiemouth, the unit was frequently dispatched to war zones during their use of Tornado, including during Operation Southern Watch and the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Aircraft of the unit were also the first to fire the Storm Shadow cruise missile and was stood down in 2014 to become the first unit equipped with the F-35 Lightning II.
The unit received the GR.4 variant of Tornado in 2000 and a pair are seen taking off from Lossiemouth.