A FLY-BY of RAF Tornado fighter jets will pass over Swindon for the last time this afternoon.

The aircraft will be flown over many of the country's RAF bases in a series of flypasts before leaving active service at the end of March.

They are scheduled to leave MOD Abbey Wood in Filton, Bristol, at around 2.15 and pass over Swindon on its way MOD Shrivenham and RAF Brize Norton between 2.15 and 2.30pm.

The fighter jets first took to the skies in 1979, seeing action in several conflicts, and were first used in live operations during the Gulf War in 1991.

"As the Tornados have retired from frontline flying service, we at RAF Cosford have started to take them in because we can use them for engineering in years going forward," Sqn Ldr Chris Wilson explained from RAF Marham, which was among points visited on Tuesday.

"Although they won't fly with the air force going forward, they will continue giving excellent service on the ground for many years to come."

It is understood the planes will still be flown as part of air force training.