The Royal Air Forceâ€™s Tornado GR4 is scheduled to be at Davis-Monthan until April 23 for Exercise Torpedo Focus.
Torpedo Focus is a heavy weapons training exercise for Tornados to work with A-10 pilots in D-Mâ€™s vast airspace. The Royal Air Force comes to D-M annually for this training that allows them to train side by side A-10 pilots in live-round detonations.
â€œIn the U.S. you have fantastic bombing ranges which allow us to employ our heavy weapons said Flight Lt. Steven Eccles, 31 Squadron pilot.
â€œWe donâ€™t have those back home in the U.K. Itâ€™s great for us to drop live heavy weapons on the huge range complexes here.â€
While Eccles appreciates the amenities the US bases offer, heâ€™s more thankful for the real world application that training affords. â€œThe training is especially important because it allows us to practice what weâ€™ll do for real in operation,â€ he said. â€œIt allows us to work with our coalition allies, the U.S. Air Force. We can practice for operations in Afghanistan and any potential conflicts which may happen around the globe.â€
Not only do the British Tornado GR4â€™s train here at D-M, they also go to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for Exercise Red Flag and Exercise Green Flag.
Red Flag is the Air Forceâ€™s premier air-to-air combat training exercise. The exercise gives pilots the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties in the safety of a training environment.
Exercise Green Flag is air-to-ground training exercise. Aircraft and crews fly from Nellis AFB in support of ground combat training at Fort Irwin, Calif.
The Tornado GR4 is a variable geometry, two-seat, day or night, all-weather attack aircraft capable of delivering a wide variety of weapons. The GR4 also has a Ground Mapping Radar to identify fix-points and update navigation systems as well as providing an air-to-air search facility. The Tornado GR4 is a world leader in the specialized field of all-weather, day and night tactical reconnaissance.