• Jet Art

Tornado F2 ZD899 Arrives at Jet Art

A new arrival joined the Jet Art stable recently, and it's a very significant airframe. This aircraft is one of only a few UK Tornados to have survived the cull. A more significant airframe than you may think, ZD899 is not only a rare variant F2 aircraft but was the very first production ADV Tornado (Air Defence Variant). The aircraft never actually saw RAF service having been retained by BAe as a trials aircraft for most of her life.

ZD899 was one of only eighteen production Tornado F2s that were built for the RAF, eight of which (including this one) were fitted with dual controls and were unofficially known as F.2(T)s. The aircraft was allocated to A&AEE (Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment). It was used for radar / weapon systems proving work and became the second JTIDS (Link 16) equipped ADV after ZE155 (AS011) to carry out paired trials. Although 899 didn’t get the longer F3 style rear fuse, it effectively became the "F3 avionic prototype" as it was fitted with a twin IN navigation system (the extra IN replacing the Secondary Attitude and Compass System (SACS) which was rather problematic). "AT001" as it was referred to at Warton was also used for autopilot trials. The fin is still marked up with ‘AT1’ applied in service to hammer home the point that this aircraft was the first production Tornado ADV.

First flown: 12/04/1984 flown by Eric Bucklow and Les Hurst.

Last flown: 30/06/2004

Build Number AT001 C/N 2004 Production batch 4 Tornado airframe. 1st ADV production batch aircraft.

This aircraft took pride of place during the official roll out ceremony for the first two production batch F2s on 28th March 1984, which was attended by Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Williamson and Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Heseltine.

In service image of ZD899 at Warton June 2003 by Ian Nightingale

ZD899 last flew in 2004 and was then used as a spares source to support other Tornado trials aircraft. The aircraft’s final swansong was in 2003 when ZD899 was used as a chase aircraft and camera ship in support of Meteor missile trials.

In service image of ZD899 at Warton 2004 by Ian Nightingale

The Jet has spent the last two years in a training role with the fire service as a crash rescue trainer providing important training work to help save lives in an educational role. Extracted by Jet Art in November the aircraft is going to undergo a full restoration process to full static display museum standard. This will ensure the aircraft is preserved for future generations to come. If you would like to own this aircraft or would like to commission the restoration to your specification, please get in touch. Restoration and rebuild work will commence early 2020. The above gallery illustrates the aircraft's current condition as well as some historic images of the aircraft in service.

Contact us about ZD899.

ZD899 being sympathetically installed in a training role in 2017
Tornado F2 ZD899 as installed, February 2017