|Tornado (GR.4) Operational Conversion Unit (TOCU).
Around 36 graduate pilots from 4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley and Weapon Systems Operators (WSO's) a year are transferred to the Tornado (GR.4) Operational Conversion Unit (TOCU) with 15(Reserve) Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth. Following ground school and time on the Tornado simulator, students start their 50 sorties and further simulator instruction. The student pilot for their first six sorties will fly with an instructor pilot. The student WSO's will get four sorties to complete their conversion to the Tornado. The WSO will then fly the first of three missions with an instructor navigator, before the first all student crew sortie.
This is followed by a Terrain Referenced Navigation/Terrain Following Radar (TRN/TFR) sortie with an instructor navigator.
The next phase of four sorties involves student pilots and student WSO's formation flying, including tactical formations at low and medium level, both in the lead and wingman positions. Two dedicated sorties involve a student crew meeting up with an aerial refuelling tanker and repeatedly linking with the basket.
The fifth phase brings student crews in contact with the delivery of a basic range of weapons in a variety of flying profiles. A check mission by an instructor completes the phase.
A two sortie operational manoeuvring or air combat training is next, using AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles at medium level during one versus one exercises. Defensive manoeuvres and the dispensing of chaff and flares are included. These sorties for the student pilots and WSO's are flown with instructor pilots and lead to handling surface to air missile threats both at medium and at low level. The first of these sorties are flown as singletons, followed by five sorties as a pair. These sorties lead to students being issued a target for which they have to decide the attack profile and tactics to be employed.
The next phase involves night flying including the use of night-vision goggles (NVG), they will progress from flying as a singleton, a pair, a three and finally as a four-ship. Passing the final check-ride completes the course and the successful students pass on to the front-line squadrons qualified to Limited Combat-Ready (LCR) status, before they are fully trained on the full range of weapons carried by the GR.4.