This is why an RAF fighter jet was flying low above Sheffield yesterday

It was hard to miss the Royal Fair Force fighter jet flying low above Sheffield yesterday afternoon. 

The RAF’s Panavia Tornado GR4 tore through the skies of South Yorkshire yesterday around 4pm before making its way into the Peak District. 

RAF Panavia Tornado - Credit: Mat Rickett

RAF Panavia Tornado - Credit: Mat Rickett

It then flew back above Sheffield, prompting many people to take to Facebook and report hearing the jet. 

Residents reported hearing the loud noise over Brinsworth, Stannington, Lane Top, Hillsborough, Shirecliffe, Walkley, Meadowhall and the city centre. 

One woman said: “Never seen my son run so fast to get in the house it scared him half to death.”

Another described the noise as ‘incredible’ while others said it was ‘going faster than the speed of sound’.

An RAF spokesperson said that there was ‘no need for concern; and that the Tornado was on a ‘routine training’ route through South Yorkshire and into the Peak District. 

The Tornado has been one of Britain’s main combat aircrafts for the last five decades, flying in various conflicts around the world including the Bosnian and Kosovo Wars, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. 

It was famously part of the legendary 617 Squadron; renowned for the 1943 dambusters raid and is now based at RAF Marham. 

The aircraft conducts attack missions against planned targets, armed reconnaissance against targets of opportunity and close air support (CAS) for ground forces.

For attacks against pre-planned targets the Tornado GR4 usually employs GPS/laser-guided bombs from the Paveway family, or the Storm Shadow cruise missile, the latter fired from considerable stand-off ranges. 

A statement on the RAF website reads: “Through its unique weapons effects and the RAF’s air-to-air refuelling capability, Tornado provides the UK Government with a rapid and flexible crisis response tool.”