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Pioneering repair keeps RAF Marham Tornado jet in the air

12:23 18 March 2014

Work under way on the panel, at RAF Marham

Work under way on the panel, at RAF Marham

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Engineers from BAE Systems have carried out a pioneering repair to keep one of RAF Marham’s Tornados in the air.

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They used laser mapping to create a perfect replica of one of the jet’s body panels, which were previously considered too complex to manufacture replacements of.

BAE Systems engineer Rob Baker said the aircraft would normally have been retired.

“This type of repair had never been done before, and as such it required a great team effort to ensure it was a success,” her said.

“Working with the BAE Systems in-service team at Warton and tooling team up at Samlesbury, we laser mapped the old panel and then they created a new panel from this 3D image.

“Once the panel was created, we then had to drill new holes which may sound easy, but the holes had to be in the exact place, otherwise the panel wouldn’t fit the aircraft.

“To say this repair was complex would be an understatement, we used the latest technology combined with the experience and know-how of our people to ensure this repair happened.”

The work was carried out at Marham, where BAE Systems emplys around 250 people maintaining the RAF’s Tornado fleet. The Tornado has been one of the RAF’s main strike jets for 30 years. It is being retired in 2018, when the Joint Strike Fighter comes into service.

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