Missiles Are Literally Falling Off Britain's Crumbling Jets

Illustration for article titled Missiles Are Literally Falling Off Britain's Crumbling Jets

While Britain waits (and waits, and waits) for the F-35 to stop breaking, the mainstay of its ground-attack aircraft remains the Panavia Tornado, a ‘70s airframe that is not aging gracefully. Exhibit A: the two Brimstone missiles that accidentally ‘became detached’ during a landing in Cyprus today.

Britain’s Akorotiri airbase on Cyprus is being used to fly Tornados against Islamic State militants in Iraq. According to Reuters, two Brimstone missiles “fell off” a Tornado during landing this morning, causing the airbase to be shut down while the pride and joy of the Royal Air Force speedily shit their pants. The missiles didn’t explode, but the runway was closed afterwards.

The Panavia Tornado first flew in 1974, and have been a mainstay of the Royal Air Force’s air-to-ground fleet ever since. The jets have been upgraded multiple times in the last 40 years, but despite the maintenance, have seen a series of problems during their service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and most recently against IS. They were meant to have been replaced by the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter by this point, but that’s probably not going to happen any time soon.



Contact the author at chris@gizmodo.com.

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`



The F-35 is a disaster. It can’t take gun fire from ground troops—a single bullet fragment would catastrophically damage the plane.

It gets lost without GPS because on-board NAV is off by several degrees and won’t be repaired for some time.

It can’t turn, can’t climb, and can’t run because it’s too heavy and incredibly underpowered.

Meanwhile, it’s own guns won’t fire until 2019, but that doesn’t matter because the F-35A’s cannon can fire 3,300 rounds per minute but can only hold 180 rounds, allowing it to fire for a whopping 3.2 seconds before bingo ammo. The only positive aspect about the gun is that it is dead weight, because that’s exactly what the F-35 is, an over $1 Trillion paperweight.

It confuses itself by mistaking it’s own flares as incoming missiles, potentially creating a feedback loop of flare depletion by deploying flares for an incoming missile, then continuously deploying more flares by mistaking it’s flares for more missiles, leaving itself defenseless.

It’s a $400 Billion joke that we have no option but to use. It will eventually, within a decade, cost up to $1 Trillion in maintenance.

Oh, U.S. Government. What have you done? Imagine what NASA could have done with $1 trillion.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and the fools over there that designed every iteration of this incapable piece of garbage should be lined up and shot with it’s cannon. They will have to stand there while someone reloads it every 3.2 seconds and wait their turn. You wasteful, incompetent assholes.