Bombers over the Balkans

A new Balkan crisis erupted in Kosovo in the late 1990s that saw the Tornado GR1 thrown into battle again – and for the first time in Europe. The then wing commander at RAF Brüggen, Air Marshal (Ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB, CBE, discusses the Tornado’s campaign with Thomas Newdick

Tornado Tribute

An RAF pilot completes final walkaround checks on his Tornado GR1 prior to a mission in support of Operation Allied Force from RAF Brüggen.
All photos Crown Copyright via Tim Ripley

The first RAF Tornados to see action over the war-torn Balkans were the F3 interceptors that helped police a UN no-fly zone over Bosnia from April 1993. For almost three years, Tornado F3 squadrons rotated to Gioia del Colle air base in southern Italy for three-month periods under Operation Deny Flight. While the F3s came close to using their weapons in anger, it was the Tornado GR1 Force that went into combat over the former Yugoslavia.

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