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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Fighter jet seen circling the skies of south Cumbria

A FIGHTER jet seen circling the skies of Furness was carrying out a test mission at heights of just 2,000 feet.

Residents in Barrow were surprised on Thursday afternoon to see a military aircraft flying at a low height over the town.

The Royal Air Force said the plane, a Tornado GR4, was not one of theirs.

However, BAE Systems Military Air and Information, which operates the air base at Warton in Lancashire, has since confirmed the jet had been carrying out tests on equipment as part of a Ministry of Defence programme.

The company often uses the Irish Sea as a test flight area, including a “supersonic corridor” in which planes are permitted to fly at supersonic speeds.

BAE Systems used to make the Tornado GR4 at Warton, but the jet has since been replaced by the newer Typhoon.

The GR4, which can carry up to four nuclear bombs and has a maximum speed of Mach 2.2 or around 1,600mph, was seen over Barrow, leading to a number of posts on social media.

On Facebook, a post on the Barrow-in-Furness in Old Photos group led to many comments. Bri Mc uploaded a picture he had taken from his house.

Referring to what appeared to be missiles carried underneath the plane, he joked: “Hope they were dummies it was carrying.”

A spokesman for BAE Systems said the plane was not carrying weapons.

The cylindrical objects on the outside of the wings are inert defensive aid pods used to distract chasing enemy planes while the larger objects are fuel tanks.

The spokesman said the plane had been flying above 2,000 feet.

“The flight of a Tornado GR4 over the Barrow area of Cumbria on Thursday June 19 was part of a schedule of test flying in support of a UK Ministry of Defence programme,” the spokesman said.

“The flight was conducted in accordance with Military Aviation Authority regulations and a UK Air Navigation Order, meaning the aircraft remained above 2,000-feet in the vicinity of Barrow.

“There are no further plans for the Tornado GR4 to operate over the town of Barrow as part of this programme.”

Both the Civil Aviation Authority and the RAF said they had received no calls of complaint about the plane.

Have your say

Damn!I was hoping it was an air strike on Walney.

Posted by Nosmo King on 23 June 2014 at 17:31

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