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All-Electric Tornadoes Now A Reality

April 1, 2020

By Paul Homewood




The RAF have been secretly developing all-electric Tornadoes for the last two years. The big problem, as with electric cars, has been the limited range, but this has now seemingly been overcome.

An eagle eyed observer has taken this picture of a KFC135 loaded with 3,756 Tesla Powerwall batteries over RAF Marham carrying out the first In-the-Air recharge mission via specially-designed USB cables.

Announcing the successful trial, Air Commodore A M P Watt reported only one problem. Sometimes the Tornadoes had to fly upside down to plug the USBs in.

  1. John Hennessey permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:31 am

    These are mirages and it looks like the Indian Airforce

  2. Ken Pollock permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:32 am

    Brilliant way of lightening (!) the mood at a dark time…

    • AndyP permalink
      April 1, 2020 12:21 pm

      There is more good news here: which scientists have been reporting.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      April 1, 2020 12:32 pm

      That comment deserves a pregnant pause!

  3. Joe Public permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:34 am

    Beware, the image was supplied by RAF Luton, and it’s Observation Post is manned only by 1st-year trainees, so don’t be surprised if they’re not as up to scratch with their Friend-or-Foe identification as some of your readers may be.

    • Joe Public permalink
      April 1, 2020 11:38 am

      However, credit must be given to RAF Marham’s camouflage team for so successfully disguising the Tornadoes to fool prospective enemy spies.

      • Bloke no longer down the pub permalink
        April 1, 2020 7:14 pm

        You didn’t spot the F35B Lightning stealth aircraft in the formation?

  4. Graeme No.3 permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:36 am

    I see this is dated April 1. Saves further comments.

  5. Nick Dekker permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:36 am

    Remind me, what day is it.

  6. Mad Mike permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:37 am

    I thought they had banned April Fool’s jokes this year. Nice one though.

  7. Bryan wilson permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:37 am

    Bad man😈

  8. Dick Goodwin permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:38 am

    I’m so glad that they have managed to get this concept off the ground, well done the RAF. Just one thing Paul, a USB won’t be able to take the current load, (not even the new USB-3) so it will have to be a standard heavy cable. If they have to recharge from from a US or continental aircraft will we have to use their plugs or will they use ours? I may give them a call.

  9. Mad Mike permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:40 am

    Send it to the Guardian. They’ll believe anything.

  10. John Palmer permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:41 am

    So they must be plug-in hybrids then!
    Thanks for cheering us up a bit, Paul.
    Stat safe all.

  11. megagriff permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:43 am


  12. Geoffrey Carr permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:45 am

    Excellent..I am missing the BMW advert in the DT usually in on April 1st..well done !!

  13. jack jones permalink
    April 1, 2020 11:54 am

    You baaad man!

  14. April 1, 2020 12:03 pm

    Nice one, Paul – a good chuckle amongst the doom and gloom.

  15. Henry Algeo permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:03 pm

    Brilliant. We all need a laugh in these uncertain times.

  16. DevonCamel permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:08 pm


  17. David Allan permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:12 pm

    Love it! The IPCC, Met Office, Horriblebin/BBC and UEA will also probably buy into it………..

  18. 01 CAT permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:16 pm

    “KFC135” I like that!!!

    • dennisambler permalink
      April 1, 2020 5:41 pm

      Finger lickin’ good!

  19. Mike O permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:25 pm

    I’ve looked very closely and just can’t see the electric lead for the refueling plane KFC135. Perhaps you could supply a more detailed photo. Was it designed in Kentucky? Here in Australia we are building submarines in our wind power state South Australia. They are French design which was originally nuclear and here nuclear is a very bad word. So they are being redesigned to run on wind.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      April 1, 2020 1:09 pm

      Don’t be silly, Mike. The streamed cables can be plugged into the KFC135 itself and it can re-charge itself. 🙂

    • Henning Nielsen permalink
      April 2, 2020 8:59 am

      Mike; surely the new Aussie subs should be designed to run on wavepower instead? There is not much wind underwater.

  20. Jackington permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:26 pm

    LOL really!

  21. Alfred W Croucher permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:26 pm

    Well done. Had me going!

    Sent from Alfred’ new iPhone

  22. Immune to propganda permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:28 pm

    You had me for a moment!

  23. stephen kent permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:28 pm


  24. Brook Acklom permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:34 pm

    And a very Happy April Fools Day to you, Paul. Brook Acklom Castlemaine VIC Australia

  25. Rupert Fiennes permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:36 pm

    I know this is an April fool, but these are French Mirages plugged into a French tanker. And Tornado’s have been retired 🙂

    • David Young permalink
      April 1, 2020 2:15 pm

      Actually, it’s an image of an IAF Ilyushin Il-78MKI providing mid-air refuelling to two IAF Mirage 2000’s.

  26. MrGrimNasty permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:38 pm

    Nothing new under the sun, the English Electric Lightning first flew in the 1950s, the only all UK Mach 2 fighter!

    EDF sent me an April Fool letter today………

    …..about the virus crisis, but seemed more like an advert for their green credentials.

    Apparently though, 700 smart meter engineers have been redeployed, so that particular joke of a scheme descends into even more expense and delay.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      April 1, 2020 6:47 pm

      The Lightening was an interesting plane, vertical staggered engine configuration. It had exceptional speed and climb rate but was a fuel-critical aircraft as a result.

      • Rowland P permalink
        April 1, 2020 8:10 pm

        9 minutes on full bore apparently!

  27. paul smith permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:41 pm

    very droll

  28. Hugh Sharman permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:48 pm

    For a very briefest of moments, I feared for your sanity 😉

  29. Phil Beckley permalink
    April 1, 2020 12:51 pm

    Brilliant; gave me a much needed laugh.

  30. April 1, 2020 1:18 pm

    Electric planes can be difficult to handle sometimes…

    • Dick Goodwin permalink
      April 1, 2020 1:47 pm

      Careful, water and electrics don’t mix.

    • Henning Nielsen permalink
      April 2, 2020 9:01 am

      Norwegian top-secret new technology; world’s first combined aircraft and submarine.

  31. Devon Blueboy permalink
    April 1, 2020 1:19 pm

    An April fool’s joke is an ideal counterpoint to all the current ‘Crisis’ hysteria. Thank you 🙂

  32. Saighdear permalink
    April 1, 2020 1:42 pm

    Capt OHM Ranger commented that the the other pilot V Cable had difficulties maintaining charge on the Line. Ben Wattage commented that the Penny had already dropped and the Wall was being re-Billed

  33. Mark Rogers permalink
    April 1, 2020 2:09 pm

    Surely they would have developed wireless charging by now? 🙂

  34. Gerry, England permalink
    April 1, 2020 2:24 pm

    The trouble is that these days you could almost believe this was real.

  35. Joe Public permalink
    April 1, 2020 2:57 pm

    More good news. WikiP (at least the UK version) has this entry on its front page:

    Referring to this:

  36. April 1, 2020 4:08 pm

    It’s 1st April, isn’t it. Wasn’t there an aeroplane maker called English Electric in the old days though?

    • Bertie permalink
      April 1, 2020 5:02 pm

      Yes, indeed there was. Producers of the Lightning aircraft.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        April 1, 2020 6:41 pm

        Wake up at the back!

      • Gerry, England permalink
        April 2, 2020 9:37 am

        Still one of the fastest fighter aircraft ever made.

  37. Malcolm Skipper permalink
    April 1, 2020 4:18 pm

    Do you remember Mercedes AA Class, the first battery powered car?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 2, 2020 9:38 am

      That is brilliant as from the start it sounds like a serious car advert.

  38. BLACK PEARL permalink
    April 1, 2020 4:41 pm

    Looking back, April 1st would have been a good date to implement the 2008 Climate Change Act on the populace, only difference, those clowns in Parliament weren’t joking but did it for real.

  39. Bertie permalink
    April 1, 2020 4:58 pm

    Thanks for the April Fool. Everyone else was seemingly too po-faced.

  40. Ian Cook permalink
    April 1, 2020 5:06 pm

    That is an Ilyushin Il76 and they appear to be Mirage 5’s.

  41. Joe Public permalink
    April 1, 2020 7:29 pm

    Before the invention of ultra-long USB cables, batteries had to be changed manually by qualified electricians ….

  42. April 1, 2020 9:25 pm

    Nice one, Paul. Thank heavens someone is left who has a sense of humour.

    Incidentally, I was in the RAF at Marham in 1956/7 – working on Valiants before the Tornadoes arrived. If I remember correctly, Air Commodore Watt was later charged with (assault and) battery?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      April 2, 2020 10:27 am

      Co-incidence! I was there 10 years later working on the Victor tankers. Beautiful aircraft!

      • April 3, 2020 5:25 am

        It’s funny how you never know who you’re travelling this journey (pilgrimage?) with, as a rule, Harry.

        Two memories stand out for me of my time there: One was of the feeling of terror when I felt I was going to expire, or explode, when the engine fitter decided to run an engine test while I was in the back (with the hatch door swinging open) and the full roar hitting me as it bounced off the door into where I was, a few feet away, working on the radar gear. You were probably issued with ear defenders by the time you were there – we weren’t and I don’t think my hearing ever recovered.

        The other stand-out memory was flying with my squadron to Malta during the Suez Crisis and feeling like an oven door had been opened in front of me when we disembarked – from a windswept, very bleak, cold winter in Marham. I also remember some of the lads being detailed to paint the grass when the Queen visited, lol.

  43. Henning Nielsen permalink
    April 2, 2020 9:03 am

    As a result of this leap in technology, the RAF will be renamed REF (Royal Electric Force).

  44. JCalvertN permalink
    April 2, 2020 11:14 am

    It’s just a Mirage.

  45. le goof permalink
    April 2, 2020 4:24 pm

    Plugging into the basket I had to overcome the first rule in aviation: Don’t touch/hit nuthin’!

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