RAF Marham, Norfolk, 23rd January 2019

January 28, 2019
Written by: Rob Slusar


In 1979, some 40 years ago, the RAF introduced it’s new fast jet, the Panavia tornado. Now, in January 2019, it is only weeks from retirement.

The Tonka as it is affectionately known, first saw full combat in the Gulf War in 1991. Since then, it has gone on to serve with distinction in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

The Tornado has always been an incredible weapons system, but with the introduction of the Typhoon in 2003, it’s numbers have continuously reduced.

Now, following the introduction of the F-35B, time has come for the trusty jet to step down and take its place in history.

RAF Marham

RAF Marham has been the operational base of the Tornado since 1982, and as of 2018 became the home of the new F-35B 617 Squadron.

Located close to Kings Lynn, the airfield has been been active since 1916, and saw service in WW2 and the Cold War as a bomber base.

The Visit

Part of my plan for this year is to increase my outings, particularly with aviation related visits.

As its was the first event in the run up to the retirement of the Tornado, the base was unveiling a special scheme jet.

This was my first visit to an active air base so I was apprehensive. When I got there, I found another large number of like minded photographers who were willing to chat, so my fears disappeared. I learnt some good spots, and got on with shooting.

The Photos

Part of my new year plan is to learn how to shoot exclusively in manual, and this was my first real test of that.

The results have been mixed with air craft and manual in the past, but I’d noticed when I got it right, they looked great.

I have done a lot of studying on the process, I was confident this time around, and ultimately, was happy with the images.

We got a variety of planes on the day, which included F35B’s, Typhoons, and of course, the special scheme Tornados.

Here are my shots. I hope you like them.

Final Thoughts

This felt like a totally new thing for me, and really reinvigorated my love for photography. It had begun to wane a little in the closing months of 2018, I had felt jaded, bored of my subjects, and I wasn’t really getting pleasing shots. Hopefully this will be the start of a rebirth.

With a large number of air shows and air base visits planned, 2019 will be busy.


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