RAF Tornados from Marham in near miss

A Tornado GR4 lands at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt

A Tornado GR4 lands at RAF Marham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Two RAF Tornados came within 300ft of one another, after departing from RAF Marham, a report has revealed.

Both pilots were at fault according to the UK Airprox Board, which investigates near misses, and the incident was rated as category A - the highest possible risk of a collision.

The pilots were attempting a snake climb, which is a military procedure used in bad weather, where planes follow each other at 30-second intervals.

The pilots were flying over Holbeach, in Lincolnshire, in July this year, when an air traffic controller said they would have to fly closer together.

The report said they needed to be in a more standard formation to cross into a different airspace.

The first pilot agreed and started to slow down while the second pilot got closer, but he lost sight of the plane in front due to the weather.

Both pilots completed a loop in order to regain sight of each other but nearly crashed, the report found. Analysis of on-board recordings suggested the Tornados were just 300ft apart.

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The report stated both pilots shared an equal responsibility to avoid crashing and should not have been operating so close to each other.

HQ Air Command said in the report: 'This incident led to a detailed investigation ... and a number of recommendations have been made.'

The incident is now used as an example when delivering training to pilots. The near miss took place at about 9.35am on July 14.

It comes after it was revealed that Tornado GR4s from RAF Marham, flying out of RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, have been bombing militants fighting for Islamic State in Iraq.