RAF Marham Tornado squadron takes over in Afghanistan

Just days after the announcement that the Norfolk base had survived the latest round of defence cuts, it emerged Marham-based 31 Sqdn had taken over operations out of Kandahar Airfield, in Afghanistan.

The Goldstars - as 31 are known - take over from Lossiemouth 617 Sqdn, better known as the Dambusters.

Marham crews will continue flying close air support and carry out reconnaissance for British and Coalition ground forces.

They last served in Afghanistan in 2009 and their current tour is expected to last three months.

Crews use the Tornado's aerial imaging equipment to scan the ground for Taliban insurgents and deadly improvised explosives.

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Engineers and armourers from Marham have flown out to maintain the Tornados.

Wing Cmdr Jim Mulholland, commanding officer of 31 Sqdn said: 'After an excellent handover from 617 Squadron, 31 Squadron will continue to maintain the highest standards of operational service to the Coalition ground forces serving in Afghanistan.'

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'The handover highlighted how the Tornado GR4 continues to sustain concurrent operations in both Herrick [Afghanistan] and Ellamy [Libya], fulfilling a vital role in both Theatres, which is highly valued by our NATO partners.'

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