‘Warrior’ Meets Goldstars

Actor Tom Hardy fulfilled a child hood dream when he flew and experienced first hand the power of the Tornado GR4; the Royal Air Force’s all weather, day and night attack and reconnaissanceActor Tom Hardy aircraft:

“As a little boy I always wanted to go in a jet, it was amazing! I got an adrenaline rush and I can see what’s exciting about flying fast jet. It takes a certain person to fly at that speed and I have an immense amount of respect for them, it was a pleasure to spend time with the RAF. I’m totally behind our Armed Forces.”

Tom travelled to RAF Marham, Norfolk in the early hours of Thursday 21st November for a training sortie with 31 Squadron,‘Goldstars’. His first appointment was with the ‘squippers’ or more correctly termed the Survival Equipment Fitters who kitted Tom out in his helmet and flight suit. Tom attended flight safety briefings, an aircrew brief and underwent a rigorous medical check:

“The safety procedures were very clear.They made sure the helmet was on safe and I had the right equipment to go up. They are a professional team of men and women; there was a good bit of banter! I then met the pilots who were very smart, talented, highly skilled professionals. All in all the efficiency and clarity of the day was very precise, being taken from one place to another. I was briefed on the sortie which was an hour and a half. It’s something I never thought I would experience being a civilian and I feel honoured, it’s a great privilege to fly.”

Flight Lieutenant Steve Tucker was the pilot who flew with Tom: “It was great to fly Tom, he loved the whole experience. He was genuinely interested in the aircraft and the people that he met, and has huge respect for our role on Operations.”

Tom flew Tornado GR4 in support of the 2013 Sun Military Awards, in which 904 Expeditionary Air Group, Tornado Detachment won the very prestigious Best Unit category. Held last week, the awards ceremony is scheduled to be shown tonight on ITV1 at 9pm, so tune in to watch Tom surprise the Tornado Force as he presents the Best Unit award to Wg Cdr Rich Yates, Officer Commanding 31 Sqn.

Tom added: “I’m really grateful that the lads and the girls in the Squadron are out there looking after our troops on the ground, keeping them safe and ultimately how the RAF look after us as a country, so we can all sleep soundly in our beds in the knowledge they are doing such an amazing job. I’ll take away from the day a sense of efficiency and professionalism of the RAF and the experience of the Tornado, it was brilliant!”

The RAF Tornado GR4 has been on active service for twenty-three consecutive years, serving with distinction in Iraq, Kosovo, Libya and Afghanistan in the close air support, reconnaissance and intelligence gathering role. In the last 23 years Tornados have flown a total of more than 300 million miles, more than 3 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. On Operation HERRICK in Afghanistan the Tornado has flown about 11 million miles; 440 times around the World or 22 times to the Moon and back.