Tornado GR.1P ZA326

ZA326: The world's only Tornado GR.1P

About us

The Panavia Tornado Preservation Group (registered charity number 1163207) is working to preserve and restore Panavia Tornado GR.1P ZA326.  On retirement in December 2005, ZA326 was the last airworthy Tornado GR.1 anywhere in the world, and the only painted in the distinctive "Raspberry Ripple" colour scheme. Please see the latest news section for regular updates on the restoration process.

Having spent its entire 22-year career as a trials aircraft, ZA326 holds a unique place in British aviation history, having been involved in a number of research projects including the development of terrain-following radar, cockpit voice recognition and the Reconnaissance Airborne Pod for TORnado (RAPTOR).

Following retirement in December 2005, ZA326 was stored by QinetiQ at MoD Boscombe Down. Elliott Atkins acquired the aircraft from QinetiQ in early 2013, subsequently donating it to the Panavia Tornado Preservation Group. Restoration began at Bruntingthorpe Airfield in Leicestershire, and continues at the Wales Aerospace Centre, St Athan.


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History

ZA326 (cn 016/BT006/3008) was the eighth production Panavia Tornado, and one of the initial 23 RAF IDS aircraft to be built to Batch 1 standard, intended for TTTE. Construction begun in July 1979 and a number of engine runs were performed at BAE Systems Warton between 15th-22nd July 1980 before a ground fire destroyed the rear of the aircraft on 30th July 1980.

Eventually repaired at the end of the Tornado production run, ZA326 first flew on 31st March 1983. Painted in the Royal Aircraft Establishment "Raspberry Ripple" colour scheme, it was assigned to the Flight Systems Department at Thurleigh, near Bedford.

ZA326 spent its entire 22-year career as a trials aircraft, taking part in the development of terrain-following radar, all-weather approach, cockpit voice recognition and stores/weapons carriage research. Following its final flight on 13th December 2005 it was stored at MoD Boscombe Down, before being moved by road to the Cold War Jets Collection at Bruntingthorpe in October 2013, and then to St Athan in October 2018.

The full history of ZA326, from initial construction in 1979 through to present day can be explored in the interactive timeline below:

 

The work to preserve and restore the worlds only Tornado GR.1P to operational condition is time consuming and costly. The Panavia Tornado Preservation Group welcomes donations from the public, and is grateful for support and assistance from the following organisations:

QinetiQ

ZA326 was part of QinetiQ's trials fleet upon retirement in 2005. The company has provided technical and logistical assistance with the restoration.

THS Containers

Experts in specialist logistics, THS Containers moved ZA326 by road from Boscombe Down to Bruntingthorpe, and Bruntingthorpe to St Athan.

MoD JARTS

Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transportation Squadron (JARTS) assisted with the dismantling and reassembling of the aircraft for road transportation.

 

Safran Messier-Bugatti-Dowty

Messier-Bugatti-Dowty (Safran) have provided maintenance, repair and overhaul support for the landing gear systems.

 
Jet Art Aviation

Tooling and technical assistance for moving kindly provided by Jet Art Aviation.

GKN Aerospace

Refurbishment and repair of rudder at the GKN Aerospace maintainance facility at Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

 

News

ZA326 has moved

We are pleased to announce that Tornado ZA326 has moved to St Athan, to be part of the new Wales Aerospace Centre. Restoration will continue within a dedicatated, secure hangar kindly provided by GJD Services. The new centre will be open to the public, giving lots more opportunities to see ZA326 up close as part of a rapidly expanding aviation museum.

Banner Printing

The Panavia Tornado Preservation Group would like to thank HFE Signs for kindly supplying the PVC Banners which we use at open days and events.

Get in touch

Panavia Tornado Preservation Group
Hangar 872, Aerospace Business Park
St Athan
Vale of Glamorgan
CF62 4QN

Telephone: +44 (0)116 298 5239
E-mail: enquiries@ptpg.org
 

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