News & Events

Tornado celebrates 35 years TTTE at RIAT

Following the 2014 commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Tornado's first flight, another significant anniversary in the aircraft's long and distinguished history was recently celebrated.

1st July 2015 marked the 35th anniversary of the arrival of the first aircraft at the Tri-national Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE) in Cottesmore, England.

“Triple T.E.” as it became affectionately labelled, was another unique military aerospace ''first'' for Tornado, and followed a 1979 Memorandum of Understanding between the air staffs of UK, Italy and Germany to undertake joint aircrew training. The unit was fully tri-national in both the instructing staff and the student body.  All services agreed on a common training standard and syllabus, consisting of four weeks of ground school and nine weeks of flying. The RAF provided technicians and logistics personnel, but the staff posts were manned by all three nations, with the officer commanding rotated between the three air forces.  From late 1985, crews were also received from the Royal Saudi Airforce for Tornado conversion.  At its peak, TTTE consisted of 1600 military and 130 civilian personnel, trained 300 crews per year and comprised three full Tornado squadrons. Its task completed, the unit was disbanded in 1999.
This anniversary was marked in style at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, Gloucestershire, England from 17th – 19th July. RIAT had adopted ''35 Years TTTE'' as a principle theme in what is now the world's largest military air show. Consequently, three Tornados, one from each participating nation, each decorated with distinctive commemorative tail-fin markings in tribute to the 35th TTTE anniversary, appeared on static display throughout the event and several Tornados  thrilled the 150,000 crowd with a number of formation flypasts. The occasion was crowned on the final evening with presentation of the RIAT CEO award to the TTTE 35th Panavia Tornados from the RAF, German and Italian Air Forces ‘’…with special thanks to the teams from NETMA, Panavia, Serco and the respective Nations, Operating Units and Bases.’’