Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing
multirole combat aircraft, which was jointly developed and
manufactured by Italy, the United Kingdom, and West Germany. There are
three primary Tornado variants: the Tornado IDS (interdictor/strike)
fighter-bomber, the suppression of enemy air defences Tornado ECR
(electronic combat/reconnaissance) and the Tornado ADV (air defence
variant) interceptor aircraft.
The Tornado was developed and built by Panavia Aircraft GmbH, a
tri-national consortium consisting of
British Aerospace (previously
British Aircraft Corporation), MBB of West Germany, and
Italy. It first flew on 14 August 1974 and was introduced into service
in 1979–1980. Due to its multirole design, it was able to replace
several different fleets of aircraft in the adopting air forces. The
Royal Saudi Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) became the only export operator of the
Tornado in addition to the three original partner nations. A
tri-nation training and evaluation unit operating from RAF Cottesmore,
the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment, maintained a level of
international co-operation beyond the production stage.
The Tornado was used by the
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force (RAF), Italian Air Force
and RSAF during the 1991 Gulf War, in which the Tornado conducted many
low-altitude penetrating strike missions. The Tornados of various
operators were also used in conflicts in the former Yugoslavia during
Bosnian War and Kosovo War, the Iraq War, Libya during the Libyan
civil war, as well as smaller roles in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria.
Including all variants, 992 aircraft were built.
1.2 Panavia Aircraft GmbH
1.3 Prototypes and testing
2.2 Variable-sweep wing
2.4 Armament and equipment
2.6.1 Test platform for 3-D printed parts
2.6.2 Potential replacement
3 Operational history
German Air Force
German Air Force (Luftwaffe)
German Navy (Marineflieger)
Italian Air Force
Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare)
3.4 Royal Air Force
3.5 Royal Saudi Air Force
4.1 Tornado IDS
4.2 Tornado ECR
4.3 Tornado ADV
6 Aircraft on display
7 Specifications (Tornado GR4)
8 Popular culture
9 See also
11 External links
Artist's concept of the AFVG, an ancestor to the MRCA programme
During the 1960s, aeronautical designers looked to variable-geometry
wing designs to gain the manoeuvrability and efficient cruise of
straight wings with the speed of swept wing designs. The United
Kingdom had cancelled the procurement of the
TSR-2 and subsequent
F-111K aircraft, and was still looking for a replacement for its Avro
Blackburn Buccaneer strike aircraft. Britain and France
had initiated the
AFVG (Anglo French Variable Geometry) project in
1965, but this had ended with French withdrawal in 1967. Britain
continued to develop a variable-geometry aircraft similar to the
proposed AFVG, and sought new partners to achieve this.
In 1968, West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium,
Italy and Canada
formed a working group to examine replacements for the Lockheed F-104
Starfighter, initially called the Multi Role Aircraft (MRA), later
renamed as the Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA). The
participating nations all had ageing fleets that required replacing;
but, as the requirements were so diverse, it was decided to develop a
single aircraft that could perform a variety of missions that were
previously undertaken by a fleet of different aircraft. Britain
joined the MRCA group in 1968, represented by
Air Vice-Marshal Michael
Giddings, and a memorandum of agreement was drafted between Britain,
West Germany, and
Italy in May 1969.
By the end of 1968, the prospective purchases from the six countries
amounted to 1,500 aircraft. Canada and Belgium had departed before
any long-term commitments had been made to the programme; Canada
had found the project politically unpalatable; there was a perception
in political circles that much of the manufacturing and specifications
were focused on Western Europe. France had made a favourable offer to
Belgium on the Dassault Mirage 5, which created doubt as to whether
the MRCA would be worthwhile from Belgium's operational
Panavia Aircraft GmbH
Main article: Panavia Aircraft GmbH
On 26 March 1969, four partner nations – United Kingdom,
Italy and the Netherlands, agreed to form a multinational
company, Panavia Aircraft GmbH, to develop and manufacture the
MRCA. The project's aim was to produce an aircraft capable of
undertaking missions in the tactical strike, reconnaissance, air
defence, and maritime roles; thus allowing the MRCA to replace several
different aircraft then in use by the partner nations. Various
concepts, including alternative fixed-wing and single-engine designs,
were studied while defining the aircraft. The Netherlands pulled
out of the project in 1970, citing that the aircraft was too
complicated and technical for the RNLAF's preferences, which had
sought a simpler aircraft with outstanding manoeuvrability. An
additional blow was struck by the German requirement reduced from an
initial 600 aircraft to 324 in 1972. It has been suggested that
Germany deliberately placed an unrealistically high initial order to
secure the company headquarters and initial test flight in Germany
rather than the UK, so as to have a bigger design influence.
Formation take-off of an RAF Tornado GR.1 and a Tornado F.2 prototype
in September 1982
When the agreement was finalised, the
United Kingdom and West Germany
each had a 42.5% stake of the workload, with the remaining 15% going
to Italy; this division of the production work was heavily influenced
by international political bargaining. The front fuselage and tail
assembly was assigned to BAC (now BAE Systems) in the United Kingdom;
the centre fuselage to MBB (now EADS) in West Germany; and the wings
Aeritalia (now Alenia Aeronautica) in Italy. Similarly,
tri-national worksharing was used for engines, general and avionic
equipment. A separate multinational company, Turbo-Union, was formed
in June 1970 to develop and build the RB199 engines for the aircraft,
with ownership similarly split 40% Rolls-Royce, 40% MTU, and 20%
At the conclusion of the project definition phase in May 1970, the
concepts were reduced to two designs; a single seat Panavia 100 which
West Germany initially preferred, and the twin-seat Panavia 200 which
the RAF preferred (this would become the Tornado). The aircraft
was briefly called the Panavia Panther, and the project soon coalesced
towards the two-seat option. In September 1971, the three
governments signed an Intention to Proceed (ITP) document, at which
point the aircraft was intended solely for the low-level strike
mission, where it was viewed as a viable threat to Soviet defences in
that role. It was at this point that Britain's Chief of the
Defence Staff announced "two-thirds of the fighting front line will be
composed of this single, basic aircraft type".
Prototypes and testing
The first of more than a dozen Tornado prototypes took flight on 14
August 1974 at Manching, Germany; the pilot, Paul Millett stated of
the occasion: "Aircraft handling was delightful... the actual flight
went so smoothly that I did begin to wonder whether this was not yet
another simulation". Flight testing led to the need for minor
modifications. Airflow disturbances were responded to by re-profiling
the engine intakes and the fuselage to minimise surging and buffeting
experienced at supersonic speeds. Testing revealed that a
nose-wheel steering augmentation system, connecting with the yaw
damper, was necessary to counteract the destabilising effect produced
by deploying the thrust reverser during landing rollouts. In
August 1976, Soviet espionage activities were exposed trying to obtain
information on the aircraft.
Two prototypes were lost in accidents, both of which had been
primarily caused by poor piloting decisions and errors leading to two
ground collision incidents; a third Tornado prototype was
seriously damaged by an incident involving pilot-induced pitch
oscillation. During the type's development, aircraft designers of
the era were beginning to incorporate features such as more
sophisticated stability augmentation systems and autopilots. Aircraft
such as the Tornado and the
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon made
use of these new technologies. Failure testing of the Tornado's
triplex analogue command and stability augmentation system (CSAS) was
conducted on a series of realistic flight control rigs; the
variable-sweep wings in combination with varying, and frequently very
heavy, payloads complicated the clearance process.
F-15C flanked by Luftwaffe and RAF Tornados in 1987
The contract for the Batch 1 aircraft was signed on 29 July 1976.
The first aircraft were delivered to the RAF and
German Air Force
German Air Force on 5
and 6 June 1979 respectively. The first Italian Tornado was
delivered on 25 September 1981. On 29 January 1981, the Tri-national
Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE) officially opened at RAF
Cottesmore, remaining active in training pilots from all operating
nations until 31 March 1999. The 500th Tornado to be produced was
West Germany on 19 December 1987.
Export customers were sought after
West Germany withdrew its
objections to exporting the aircraft;
Saudi Arabia was the only export
customer of the Tornado. The agreement to purchase the Tornado was
part of the controversial
Al-Yamamah arms deal
Al-Yamamah arms deal between
BAE Systems and
the Saudi government. Oman had committed to purchasing
Tornados and the equipment to operate them for a total value of
£250 million in the late 1980s, but cancelled the order in 1990
due to financial difficulties.
During the 1970s, Australia considered joining the MRCA programme to
find a replacement for their ageing Dassault Mirage IIIs; ultimately
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet was selected to meet the
requirement. Canada similarly opted for the F/A-18 after
considering the Tornado. Japan considered the Tornado in the
1980s, along with the
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and
F/A-18; before selecting the Mitsubishi F-2, a domestically produced
design based on the F-16. In the 1990s, both
Taiwan and South
Korea expressed interest in acquiring a small number of Tornado ECR
aircraft. In 2001,
EADS proposed a Tornado ECR variant with a
greater electronic warfare capability for Australia.
Production came to an end in 1998; the last batch of aircraft being
produced going to the Royal Saudi Air Force, who had ordered a total
of 96 IDS Tornados. In June 2011, it was announced that the RAF's
Tornado fleet had flown collectively over one million flying
hours. Aviation author John Lake noted that: "The Trinational
Panavia Consortium produced just short of 1,000 Tornados, making it
one of the most successful postwar bomber programs". In 2008,
AirForces Monthly said of the Tornado: "For more than a quarter of a
century... the most important military aircraft in Western
Panavia Tornado is a multirole, twin-engined aircraft designed to
excel at low-level penetration of enemy defences. The mission
envisaged during the
Cold War was the delivery of conventional and
nuclear ordnance on the invading forces of the
Warsaw Pact countries
of Eastern Europe; this dictated several significant features of the
design. Variable wing geometry, allowing for minimal drag during the
critical low-level dash towards a well-prepared enemy, had been
desired from the project's start. Advanced navigation and flight
computers, including the then-innovative fly-by-wire system, greatly
reduced the workload of the pilot during low-level flight and eased
control of the aircraft. For long range bombing missions, the
Tornado has a retractable refuelling probe.
Flyover of a
German Navy Tornado during a training exercise in 2003
As a multirole aircraft, the Tornado is capable of undertaking more
mission profiles than the anticipated strike mission; various
operators replaced multiple aircraft types with the Tornado as a
common type – the use of dedicated single role aircraft for
specialist purposes such as battlefield reconnaissance, maritime
patrol duties, or dedicated electronic countermeasures (ECM) were
phased out – either by standard Tornados or modified variants,
such as the Tornado ECR. The most extensive modification from the base
Tornado design was the Tornado ADV, which was stretched and armed with
long range anti-aircraft missiles to serve in the interceptor
The Tornado operators have chosen to undertake various life extension
and upgrade programmes to keep their Tornado fleets as viable
frontline aircraft for the foreseeable future. The RAF and RSAF have
upgraded their Tornados to the GR4 standard to increase combat
effectiveness, while German Tornados have been undergoing periodic
upgrades under the multi-stage ASSTA (
Avionics System Software Tornado
in Ada) programme. With these upgrades, as of 2011, it is
projected that the Tornado shall be in service until 2025, more than
50 years after the first prototype took flight.
Further information: variable-sweep wing
A 27 Sqn RAF Tornado GR1 in flight; the wings are fully swept back
In order for the Tornado to perform well as a low-level supersonic
strike aircraft, it was considered necessary for it to possess good
high-speed and low-speed flight characteristics. To achieve high-speed
performance, a swept or delta wing is typically adopted, but these
wing designs are inefficient at low speeds. To operate at both high
and low speeds with great effectiveness, the Tornado uses a
variable-sweep wing. This approach had been adopted by earlier
aircraft, such as the American
General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark strike
fighter, and the Soviet
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 fighter. The F-111 has
many similarities with the smaller Tornado; however, the Tornado
differs in being a multi-role aircraft with more advanced onboard
systems and avionics.
The level of wing sweep, the angle of the wings in relation to the
fuselage, can be altered in flight at the pilot's control. The
variable wing can adopt any sweep angle between 25 degrees and 67
degrees, with a corresponding speed range for each angle; some Tornado
ADVs were outfitted with an automatic wing-sweep system to reduce
pilot workload. When the wings are swept back, the exposed wing
area is lowered and drag is significantly decreased, which is
conducive to performing high-speed low-level flight. The weapons
pylons pivot with the angle of the variable-sweep wings so that the
stores point in the direction of flight and do not hinder any wing
In development, significant attention was given to the Tornado's
short-field take-off and landing (STOL) performance. Germany, in
particular, encouraged this design aspect. For shorter take-off
and landing distances, the Tornado can sweep its wings forwards to the
25-degree position, and deploy its full-span flaps and leading edge
slats to allow the aircraft to fly at slower speeds. These
features, in combination with the thrust reverser-equipped engines,
give the Tornado excellent low-speed handling and landing
Forward cockpit of an RAF Tornado GR.4
Aft cockpit of an RAF Tornado GR.4
The Tornado features a tandem-seat cockpit, crewed by a pilot and a
navigator/weapons officer; both electromechanical and electro-optical
controls are used to fly the aircraft and manage its systems. An
array of dials and switches are mounted on either side of a centrally
placed CRT monitor, controlling the navigational, communications, and
BAE Systems developed the Tornado
Advanced Radar Display Information System (TARDIS), a 32.5-centimetre
(12.8 in) multi-function display, to replace the rear cockpit's
Combined Radar and Projected Map Display; the RAF began installing
TARDIS on the GR4 fleet in 2004.
The primary flight controls of the Tornado are a fly-by-wire hybrid,
consisting of an analogue quadruplex Command and Stability
Augmentation System (CSAS) connected to a digital Autopilot &
Flight Director System (AFDS); in addition a level of mechanical
reversion capacity was retained to safeguard against potential
failure. To enhance pilot awareness, artificial feel was built
into the flight controls, such as the centrally located stick; because
of the Tornado's variable wings enabling the aircraft to drastically
alter its flight envelope, the artificial responses adjust
automatically to wing profile changes and other changes to flight
attitude. As a large variety of munitions and stores can be
outfitted, the resulting changes to the aircraft's flight dynamics are
routinely compensated for by the flight stability system.
German Air Force
German Air Force Tornado undergoing maintenance in July 2004
The Tornado incorporates a combined navigation/attack Doppler radar
that simultaneously scans for targets and conducts fully automated
terrain-following for low-level flight operations; being readily able
to conduct all-weather hands-off low-level flight was considered one
of the core advantages of the Tornado. The Tornado ADV has a
different radar system to other variants, designated AI.24 Foxhunter,
as it is designed for air defence operations; it is capable of
continuously keeping track of up to 20 targets at ranges of up to 160
kilometres (100 mi). The Tornado was one of the earliest
aircraft to be fitted with a digital data bus for data transmission. A
link 16 JTIDS integration on the F3 variant enabled the exchange of
radar and other sensory information with nearby friendly aircraft.
Some Tornado variants carry different avionics and equipment,
depending on their mission. The Tornado ECR is devoted to Suppression
of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) missions, operated by
Germany and Italy.
The Tornado ECR is equipped with an emitter-locator system (ELS) to
spot radar use. German ECRs have a
Honeywell infrared imaging
system for reconnaissance flights. RAF and RSAF Tornados have the
Laser Range Finder and Marked Target Seekers (LRMTS) for targeting
laser-guided munitions. In 1991, the RAF introduced TIALD,
allowing Tornado GR1s to laser-designate their own targets.
The GR1A and GR4A were equipped with TIRRS (Tornado Infrared
Reconnaissance System), consisting of one SLIR (Sideways Looking Infra
Red) sensor on each side of the fuselage forward of the engine intakes
to capture oblique images, and a single IRLS (InfrarRed LineScan)
sensor mounted on the fuselage's underside to provide vertical
images. TIRRS recorded images on six
S-VHS video tapes. The
RAPTOR reconnaissance pod has replaced the built-in TIRRS
Armament and equipment
The Tornado is cleared to carry the majority of air-launched weapons
NATO inventory, including various unguided and laser-guided
bombs, anti-ship and anti-radiation missiles, as well as specialised
weapons such as anti-personnel mines and anti-runway
munitions. To improve survivability in combat, the Tornado
is equipped with onboard countermeasures, ranging from flare and chaff
dispensers to electronic countermeasure pods that can be mounted under
the wings. Underwing fuel tanks and a buddy store aerial
refuelling system that allows one Tornado to refuel another are
available to extend the aircraft's range.
German Air Force
German Air Force Tornado ECR, queuing to be refuelled by a
Stratotanker, in September 1997
In the decades since the Tornado's introduction, all of the Tornado
operators have undertaken various upgrade and modification programmes
to allow recently introduced weapons to be used by their squadrons.
Amongst the new armaments that the Tornado has been adapted to deploy
are the enhanced
Joint Direct Attack Munition
Joint Direct Attack Munition bombs, and
modern cruise missiles such as the Taurus and
Storm Shadow missiles;
these upgrades have increased the Tornado's capabilities and combat
accuracy. Precision weapons such as cruise missiles have
replaced older munitions such as cluster bombs.
Strike variants have a limited air-to-air capability with AIM-9
AIM-132 ASRAAM air-to-air missiles (AAMs); additionally
the Tornado ADV is outfitted with beyond visual range AAMs such as the
AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles. The Tornado is armed
with two 27 mm (1.063 in)
Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon
internally mounted underneath the fuselage; the Tornado ADV was only
armed with one cannon. When the RAF GR1 aircraft were converted to
GR4, the FLIR sensor replaced the left hand cannon, leaving only
one; the GR1A reconnaissance variant gave up both its guns to make
space for the sideways looking infra-red sensors. The Mauser BK-27
was developed specifically for the Tornado, but has since been used on
several other European fighters, such as the Dassault/Dornier Alpha
Jet, Saab JAS 39 Gripen, and Eurofighter Typhoon.
The Tornado is capable of delivering air-launched nuclear weapons. In
1979, Britain considered replacing its Polaris submarines with either
the Trident submarines or alternatively the Tornado as the main bearer
of its nuclear deterrent. Although the UK proceeded with Trident,
several Tornado squadrons based in
Germany were assigned to
deter a major Soviet offensive with both conventional and nuclear
weapons, namely the
WE.177 nuclear bomb, which was retired in
1998. German and Italian Tornados are capable of delivering US
B61 nuclear bombs, which are made available through NATO.
Britain considered the selection of Rolls-Royce to develop the
advanced engine for the MRCA to be essential, and was strongly opposed
to adopting an engine from an American manufacturer, to the point
where the UK might have withdrawn over the issue. In September
1969, Rolls-Royce's RB 199 engine was selected to power the MRCA. One
advantage over the US competition was that a technology transfer
between the partner nations had been agreed; the engine was to be
developed and manufactured by a joint company, Turbo-Union. The
programme was delayed by Rolls-Royce's entry into receivership in
1971; the nature of the multinational collaboration process helped
avoid major disruption of the Tornado programme. Research from the
Concorde contributed to the development and final
design of the RB.199 and of the engine control units.
RB199 on static display at the
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Museum Cosford
To provide the desired performance, several features were used in the
RB.199. To operate efficiently across a wide range of conditions and
speeds up to Mach 2, the RB.199 and several other engines make use of
variable intake ramps to control the air flow. The hydraulic
system is pressurised by syphoning power from both or either
operational engine; the hydraulics are completely contained within the
airframe rather than integrating with the engine to improve safety and
maintainability. In case of double-engine, or double-generator,
failure, the Tornado has a single-use battery capable of operating the
fuel pump and hydraulics for up to 13 minutes.
Relatively rare amongst fighter aircraft, the RB.199 is fitted with
thrust reversers to decrease the distance required to safely
land. To fully deploy the thrust reverser during landings,
the yaw damper is connected to the steering of the nosewheel to
provide greater stability.
In August 1974, the first RB.199 powered flight of a prototype Tornado
occurred; the engine completed its qualification tests in late
1978. The final production standard engine met both reliability
and performance standards, though the development cost had been higher
than predicted, in part due to the ambitious performance
requirements. At the time of the Tornado's introduction to
service, the turbine blades of the engine suffered from a shorter life
span than desired, which was rectified by the implementation of design
revisions upon early-production engines. Several uprated engines
were developed and used on both the majority of Tornado ADVs and
Germany's Tornado ECRs. The DECU (Digital Engine Control
Unit) is the current engine control unit for RB 199 engines
superseding the analogue MECU (Main Engine Control Unit) also known as
No. 9 Squadron RAF
No. 9 Squadron RAF shows off a payload including Paveway,
Brimstone and Litening pod
Being designed for low-level operations, the Tornado required
modification to perform in medium level operations that the RAF
adopted in the 1990s. The RAF's GR1 fleet was extensively
re-manufactured as Tornado GR4s. Upgrades on Tornado GR4s included a
Forward looking infrared, a wide-angle HUD (Head-up display), improved
cockpit displays, NVG (Night vision devices) capabilities, new
avionics, and a
Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System receiver. The upgrade eased
the integration of new weapons and sensors which were purchased in
parallel, including the
Storm Shadow cruise missile, the Brimstone
Paveway III laser-guided bombs and the RAPTOR
reconnaissance pod was integrated. The first flight of a
Tornado GR4 was on 4 April 1997, on 31 October 1997 the RAF accepted
the first delivery and deliveries were completed in 2003. In
2005, the RSAF opted to have their Tornado IDSs undergo a series of
upgrades to become equivalent to the RAF's GR4 configuration. On
21 December 2007 BAE signed a £210m contract for CUSP, the Capability
Upgrade Strategy (Pilot). This project would see RAF GR4/4A
improved in two phases, starting with the integration of the Paveway
IV bomb and a communications upgrade, followed by a new tactical
datalink in Phase B.
Beginning in 2000, German IDS and ECR Tornados received the ASSTA 1
Avionics System Software Tornado in Ada) upgrade. ASSTA 1 involved a
replacement weapons computer, new GPS and
Laser Inertial navigation
systems. The new computer allowed the integration of the HARM
III, HARM 0 Block IV/V and TAURUS
KEPD 350 missiles, the Rafael
Laser Designator Pod and GBU-24
Paveway III laser-guided
bombs. The ASSTA 2 upgrade began in 2005, primarily consisting of
several new digital avionics systems, a new ECM suite and provision
for the Taurus cruise missile; these upgrades are to be only applied
to 85 Tornados (20 ECRs and 65 IDSs), as the Tornado is in the process
of being replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon. The ASSTA 3
upgrade programme, started in 2008, will introduce support for the
Joint Direct Attack Munition
Joint Direct Attack Munition along with further
In January 2016 the Bild newspaper revealed that the newsest upgrade
of the ASSTA suite to version 3.1, which includes color
multifunctional LCD screens in place of monochrome CRT displays, is
interferring with helmet-mounted night-vision optical displays worn by
pilots, rendering German Tornado bombers deployed to
Syria useless for
night missions. The defense ministry admitted that bright
cockpit lights could be a distraction for pilots, and disclosed that
the solution will be implemented in a few weeks, but denied the need
to fly night missions in Syria.
Test platform for 3-D printed parts
BAE Systems announced that, in December 2013, the company had test
flown a Tornado equipped with parts that were made with 3D printing
equipment. The parts included a protective cover for the radio, a
landing-gear guard and air-intake door support struts. The test
demonstrated the feasibility of making replacement parts quickly and
cheaply at the air base hosting the Tornado. The company claimed
that, with some of the parts costing less than £100 per piece to
3D printing already resulted in savings of more than
£300,000 and would offer further potential cost savings of more than
£1.2 million through 2017.
The Luftwaffe is working with Airbus to define requirements for a
replacement of the Tornado, called FCAS (Future Combat Air System) in
the 2035 timeframe, under the Next-Generation Weapon System (NGWS)
future fighter programme. It is envisioned as a networked system of
systems, working with UAVs, complementing the Eurofighter and could be
optionally manned.  Due to time constraints
however (the Tornado is expected to need to be replaced around 2030),
Germany is instead looking into acquiring an already commercially
available system, probably the Lockheed Martin F-35. The FCAS
however isn't cancelled but now planned as successor to the
German Air Force
German Air Force (Luftwaffe)
German Air Force
German Air Force Tornado IDS flying above Nevada, US, in 2007
The first Tornado prototype made its first flight on 14 August 1974
Manching airbase, in what was then West Germany. Deliveries
of production Tornados began on 27 July 1979. The total number of
Tornados delivered to the
German Air Force
German Air Force numbered 247, including 35
ECR variants. Originally Tornados equipped five fighter-bomber
wings (Geschwader), with one tactical conversion unit and four front
line wings, replacing the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. When one of
the two Tornado wings of the
German Navy was disbanded in 1994, its
aircraft were used to re-equip a Luftwaffe's reconnaissance wing
formerly equipped with RF-4E Phantoms.
As many as 15 German Tornados undertook combat operations as a part of
NATO's campaign during the Bosnian War; this was the first combat
operation for the Luftwaffe since World War II. The Tornados,
operating from Piacenza, Italy, flew reconnaissance missions to survey
damage inflicted by previous strikes and to scout targets for other
aircraft to strike. These reconnaissance missions were reportedly
responsible for a significant improvement in target selection
throughout the campaign.
In 1999, German and Italian Tornados participated in Operation Allied
Force, NATO's military operation against the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. The ECR aircraft would escort
various allies' aircraft while carrying several
AGM-88 HARM missiles
to counter attempted use of radar against the allied aircraft.
During the Kosovo hostilities, Germany's IDS Tornados would routinely
conduct reconnaissance flights to identify both enemy ground forces
and civilian refugees within Yugoslavia.
A Luftwaffe Tornado of Jagdbombergeschwader 31 taking off from Eielson
Air Force Base,
Alaska in 2004
In June 2007, a pair of Luftwaffe Tornados were controversially used
to fly reconnaissance flights over an anti-globalisation demonstration
33rd G8 summit
33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm. Following the
mission, the German Defence Ministry admitted one aircraft had broken
the minimum flying altitude and that mistakes were made in the
handling of security of the summit.
In 2007, a detachment of six Tornados of the Aufklärungsgeschwader 51
"Immelmann" (51st reconnaissance wing) were deployed to
Mazar-i-Sharif, Northern Afghanistan, to support
NATO forces. The
decision to send Tornados to
Afghanistan was a controversial decision,
including one political party launching an unsuccessful legal bid to
block the deployment as unconstitutional. In support of the
Afghanistan mission, improvements in the Tornado's reconnaissance
equipment were accelerated; improving the Tornado's ability to detect
hidden improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The German Tornados
were withdrawn from
Afghanistan in November 2010.
Defence cuts announced in March 2003 resulted in the decision to
retire 90 Tornados from Luftwaffe service. This led to a reduction in
its Tornado strength to four wings by September 2005. On 13
January 2004, the then German Defence Minister
Peter Struck announced
further major changes to the German armed forces. A major part of this
announcement is the plan to cut the German fighter fleet from 426 in
early 2004 to 265 by 2015. The German Tornado force is to be
reduced to 85, with the type expected to remain in service with the
Luftwaffe until 2025. The aircraft being retained have been
undergoing a service life extension programme. Currently, the
Luftwaffe operates Tornados with Tactical Wings Taktisches
Luftwaffengeschwader 33 in Cochem / Büchel Air Base,
Rhineland-Palatinate and with Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 51
"Immelmann" in Jagel, Schleswig-Holstein. Aircrew training takes place
at Fliegerisches Ausbildungszentrum der Luftwaffe, based on Holloman
Air Force Base in New Mexico, US.
German Navy (Marineflieger)
German Navy Tornado landing at
RAF Mildenhall in 1984
In addition to the order made by the Luftwaffe, the German Navy's
Marineflieger also received 112 of the IDS variant in the
anti-shipping and marine reconnaissance roles, again replacing the
Starfighter. These equipped two wings, each with a nominal strength of
48 aircraft. The principal anti-ship weapon was the AS.34 Kormoran
anti-ship missile, which were initially supplemented by unguided bombs
BL755 cluster munitions, and later by
AGM-88 HARM anti-radar
missiles. Pods fitted with panoramic optical cameras and an infrared
line scan were carried for the reconnaissance mission.
The end of the
Cold War and the signing of the CFE Treaty gave rise to
a requirement for
Germany to reduce the size of its armed forces,
including the number of combat aircraft. To meet this need, one of the
Marineflieger's Tornado wings was disbanded on 1 January 1994; its
aircraft replaced the Phantoms of a Luftwaffe reconnaissance
wing. The second wing was enlarged and continued in the
anti-shipping, reconnaissance and anti-radar roles until it was
disbanded in 2005 with its aircraft and duties passed on to the
Italian Air Force
Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare)
The first Italian prototype made its maiden flight on 5 December 1975
from Turin, Italy. The
Aeronautica Militare received a total of 100
Tornado IDSs. 16 IDSs were subsequently converted to the ECR
configuration; the first Italian Tornado ECR was delivered on 27
February 1998. As a stop-gap measure for 10 years the Aeronautica
Militare additionally operated 24 Tornado ADVs in the air defence
role, which were leased from the RAF to cover the service gap between
the retirement of the
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and the introduction
of the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Two Italian Tornados participating in
NATO exercise Dragon Hammer, in
Italian Air Force
Italian Air Force Tornado IDS at the 1991 Paris Air Show
In 2000, with major delays hampering the Eurofighter, the Aeronautica
Militare began a search for another interim fighter. While the Tornado
itself was considered, any long term extension to the lease would have
involved upgrade to RAF CSP standard and thus was not considered cost
effective. In February 2001,
Italy announced its arrangement to lease
35 F-16s from the United States. The Aeronautica Militare
returned its Tornado ADVs to the RAF, with the final aircraft arriving
at RAF Saint Athan on 7 December 2004. One aircraft was retained for
static display purposes.
Italian Tornados, along with RAF Tornados, took part in the first Gulf
War in 1991. Operation Locusta saw eight Tornado IDS interdictors
deployed from Gioia del Colle, Italy, to Al Dhafra, Abu Dhabi, as a
part of Italy's contribution to the coalition. During the
conflict, one aircraft was lost to Iraqi anti-aircraft fire, the
pilots ejected safely and were captured by Iraqi forces.
A total of 22 Italian Tornados were deployed in the NATO-organised
Operation Allied Force
Operation Allied Force over Kosovo in 1999, the IDS variant was used
in the bombing role while the ECR variants patrolled the combat
region, acting to suppress enemy anti-aircraft radars, firing 115
AGM-88 HARM missiles. In response to anticipated violence during
Afghanistan elections, Italy, along with several other
nations, increased its military commitment in Afghanistan, dispatching
four IDS Tornados to the region.
Italian Tornado IDS and ECR aircraft participated in the enforcement
of a UN no-fly zone during the 2011 military intervention in
Libya. Various coalition aircraft operated from bases in Italy,
including RAF Tornados. Italian military aircraft delivered a
combined 710 guided bombs and missiles during the strikes against
Libyan targets. Of these
Aeronautica Militare Tornados and AMX
fighter-bombers released 550 guided bombs and missiles, and Italian
Navy AV-8Bs delivered 160 guided bombs. Italian Tornados launched 20
Storm Shadow cruise missiles with the rest consisting of Paveway
and JDAM guided bombs.
In July 2002,
Italy signed a contract with the Tornado Management
Agency (NETMA) and Panavia for the upgrading of 18 IDSs, the first of
which was received in 2003. The upgrade introduced improved
navigation systems (integrated GPS and laser INS) and the ability to
carry new weapons, including the
Storm Shadow cruise missile, Joint
Direct Attack Munition and
Paveway III laser-guided bombs.
Italy has opted to extend the Tornado's service life at the expense of
alternative ground-attack aircraft such as the AMX International AMX;
in 2010 a major upgrade and life extension program was initiated,
which will provide new digital displays,
Link 16 communications
capability, night-vision goggles compatibility, and several other
upgrades. In the long term, it is planned to replace the Tornado
IDS/ECR fleet in Italian service with the Lockheed Martin F-35
Lightning II, with the final Italian Tornado scheduled to be
phased out in 2025.
On 14 November 2014,
Italy announced it was sending four Tornado
aircraft with 135 support staff to
Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base and to 2
other bases in
Kuwait in participation of coalition operations against
the Islamic State. The four aircraft will be used for reconnaissance
Royal Air Force
A Tornado GR1 of XV Sqn RAF at
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1987
Nicknamed the "Tonka" by the British, the Tornado made its combat
debut as part of the British contribution to the
Gulf War in 1991.
Operation Granby saw nearly 60 RAF GR1s deploy to air bases at
Muharraq in Bahrain and Tabuk and
Dhahran in Saudi Arabia. Several
Tornado ADVs were deployed to provide air cover, the threat of their
long range missiles being a significant deterrent to Iraqi pilots, who
would deliberately avoid combat when approached.
Early on in the conflict, the GR1s targeted military airfields across
Iraq, deploying a mixture of 450 kg (1,000 lb) unguided
bombs in loft-bombing attacks and specialised
JP233 runway denial
weapons. Six RAF Tornados were lost in the conflict, four were lost
while delivering unguided bombs, one was lost after delivering JP233,
and one trying to deliver laser-guided bombs. On 17 January 1991,
the first Tornado to be lost was shot down by an Iraqi
following a failed low-level bombing run. On 19 January, another
RAF Tornado was shot down during an intensive raid on Tallil Air
Base. The impact of the Tornado strikes upon Iraqi air fields is
difficult to determine.
In an emergency deployment, the UK sent out a detachment of Blackburn
Buccaneer aircraft equipped with the
Pave Spike laser designator,
allowing Tornado GR1s to drop precision guided weapons. A further
crash programme in support of the sudden military action saw multiple
GR1s outfitted with the
TIALD laser designation system; author
Claus-Christian Szejnmann declared that the
TIALD pod enabled the GR1
to "achieve probably the most accurate bombing in the RAF's
history". Although laser designation proved effective in the
Gulf War, only 23
TIALD pods were purchased by 2000; shortages
hindered combat operations over Kosovo.
Following the initial phase of the war, the GR1s switched to medium
level strike missions, typical targets for these strikes included
munition depots and oil refining facilities. Only the
reconnaissance Tornado GR1As continued to operate at the low-altitude
high-speed profile throughout the war, the GR1A emerged unscathed
despite the inherent danger posed by missions such as conducting
pre-attack reconnaissance. In the war's aftermath, Britain
maintained a military presence in the Gulf, around half a dozen GR1s
were based at
Ali Al Salem
Ali Al Salem airbase in
Kuwait for operations over the
southern no fly zone as part of Operation Southern Watch; another half
a dozen GR1s participated in missions over Northern Iraq in Operation
RAF Tornados lined up at CFB Goose Bay, June 1992
In March 1993, a Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) project of the Tornado was
launched to upgrade the GR1/GR1A to GR4/GR4A standard. The Tornado GR4
made its operational debut in Operation Southern Watch; patrolling
Iraq's southern airspace from bases in Kuwait. Both Tornado GR1s and
GR4s based at Ali Al Salem, Kuwait, took part in coalition strikes at
Iraq's military infrastructure during
Operation Desert Fox
Operation Desert Fox in
1998. In December 1998, an Iraqi anti-aircraft battery fired six
to eight missiles at a patrolling Tornado, the battery was later
attacked in retaliation, no aircraft were lost during the
incident. It was reported that during Desert Fox RAF Tornados had
successfully destroyed 75% of allotted targets, and out of the 36
missions planned, 28 had been successfully completed.
The GR1 participated in the
Kosovo War in 1999. The Tornados initially
operated from RAF Bruggen, Germany; they later moved to Solenzara Air
Base, Corsica. Experience from fighting in Kosovo led to the RAF
AGM-65 Maverick missiles and Enhanced
Paveway smart bombs
for the Tornado fleet. Following the Kosovo War, the GR1 was
phased out as more aircraft were upgraded to GR4 standard. The final
GR1 was upgraded and returned to the RAF on 10 June 2003.
The GR4 was heavily used in Operation Telic, the British contribution
to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. RAF Tornados flew in the opening phase
of the war, flying alongside American strike aircraft to rapidly
attack key installations. Following an emphasis on minimising
casualties, Tornados of No. 617 Squadron deployed the new Storm Shadow
precision cruise missile for the first time in the Iraq conflict;
while 25% of the UK's air-launched weapons in Kosovo were
precision-guided, four years later in Iraq this ratio increased to
On 23 March 2003, a Tornado GR4 was shot down over Iraq by friendly
fire from a US Patriot missile battery, killing both crew
members. In July 2003, a US board of inquiry exonerated the
battery's operators, observing the Tornado's "lack of functioning IFF
(Identification Friend or Foe)" as a factor in the incident.
Problems with Patriot were also suggested as a factor, multiple
incidents of mis-identification of friendly aircraft have occurred,
including the fatal shootdown of a
US Navy McDonnell Douglas F/A-18
Hornet a few weeks after the loss of the Tornado.
Britain withdrew the last of its Tornados from Iraq in June 2009.
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Tornado in flight during Operation Iraqi Freedom
In early 2009, several GR4s arrived at
Kandahar airfield, Afghanistan
to replace the Harrier GR7/9 aircraft deployed there since November
2004. In 2009,
Paveway IV guided bombs were brought into service
on the RAF's Tornados, having been previously used in
the Harrier II fleet. In Summer 2010, extra Tornados were
Kandahar for the duration of the 2010 Afghan
election. British Tornados ended their operations in Afghanistan
in November 2014. They flew over 5,000 pairs sorties over 33,500
hours, including 600 "shows of force" to deter Taliban attacks. During
more than 70 engagements, some 140 Brimstone missiles and
bombs were deployed in total (roughly half each) and over 3,000
27 mm cannon shells were fired.
Prior to the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR)'s
publication, the retirement of the entire Tornado fleet was under
consideration, savings of £7.5 billion were anticipated.
The SDSR announced the Tornado would be retained at the expense of the
Harrier II, although Tornado numbers are to decline in transition to
the Eurofighter Typhoon, and later on, the F-35 Lightning
On 18 March 2011, British Prime Minister
David Cameron announced the
deployment of Tornados and Typhoons to enforce a no-fly zone in
Libya. In March 2011, several Tornados flew 3,000-mile
(4,800 km) strike missions against targets inside Libya in what
were, according to Defence Secretary Liam Fox, "the longest range
bombing mission conducted by the RAF since the Falklands
conflict". A variety of weapons were used in operations over
Laser-guided bombs and Brimstone missiles. 59
RAF aircraft are receiving the CUSP avionics upgrade which achieved
Initial Service Date (ISD) in March 2013 and the type will be
withdrawn from RAF service on 31 March 2019.
Tornado over Iraq in 2014
On 11 August 2014, a Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR) emergency
meeting concluded that the RAF would deploy Tornado GR4s to RAF
Akrotiri, Cyprus in support of refugees sheltering from Islamic State
militants in the
Mount Sinjar region of Iraq. The decision came three
days after the United States began conducting air attacks against the
Islamic State. Tornados were pre-positioned to use their surveillance
capabilities to gather situational awareness to help with humanitarian
efforts. On 29 September 2014, three days after Parliament
approved of airstrikes against Islamic State forces inside Iraq, two
Tornados conducted their first armed reconnaissance mission over the
country, in conjunction with other coalition aircraft, and were
cleared to conduct airstrikes if needed. Britain's first
airstrike was conducted the next day, when two Tornados hit a heavy
weapons post and an armored vehicle in the process of supporting
Kurdish forces in northwest Iraq. By 1 March 2015, eight RAF
Tornados had been deployed to Akrotiri and conducted 159 airstrikes
against IS targets in Iraq.
On the 2 December 2015, the British Parliament voted to begin air
Syria as well as Iraq, to combat the growing threat of
ISIS. Tornados began their bombing that evening.
Royal Saudi Air Force
RSAF Tornado ADV, prior to embarking on a combat mission during
Operation Desert Storm, February 1991
On 25 September 1985, the UK and
Saudi Arabia signed the Al Yamamah I
contract including, amongst other things, the sale of 48 IDS and 24
ADV model Tornados. The first flight of a RSAF Tornado IDS was on
26 March 1986, and the first Saudi ADV was delivered on 9 February
1989. Saudi Tornados undertook operations during the Gulf War. In June
1993 the Al Yamamah II contract was signed, the main element of which
was 48 additional IDSs.
Following experience with both the Tornado and the McDonnell Douglas
F-15E Strike Eagle, the RSAF discontinued low-level mission training
in the F-15E in light of the Tornado's superior low-altitude flight
performance. In addition, 10 of the Saudi Tornados were outfitted
with equipment for performing reconnaissance missions. The 22 Tornado
ADVs were replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon; the retired aircraft
were being purchased back by the UK as of 2007.
By 2007, both the Sea Eagle anti-ship missile and the ALARM
anti-radiation missile that previously equipped the RSAF's Tornados
had been withdrawn from service. As of 2010,
Saudi Arabia has
signed several contracts for new weapon systems to be fitted to their
Tornado and Typhoon fleets, such as the short range air-to-air IRIS-T
missile, and the Brimstone and
Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
In September 2006, the Saudi government signed a contract worth
£2.5 billion (US$4.7 billion) with
BAE Systems to upgrade
up to 80 RSAF Tornado IDS aircraft to keep them in service until 2020.
RSAF Tornado 6612 was returned to
BAE Systems Warton in December 2006
for upgrade under the "Tornado Sustainment Programme" (TSP), which
will "equip the IDS fleet with a range of new precision-guided weapons
and enhanced targeting equipment, in many cases common with those
systems already fielded by the UK's Tornado GR4s." In December
2007, the first RSAF aircraft to complete modernisation was returned
to Saudi Arabia.
Starting from the first week of November 2009, Saudi Air Force
Tornados, along with Saudi F-15s performed air raids during the Shia
insurgency in north Yemen. It was the first time since Operation
Desert Storm in 1991 that the
Royal Saudi Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force participated in a
military operation over hostile territory. Saudi Air Force
Tornados are playing a central role in Saudi-led bombing campaign in
On 7 January 2018 Houthi rebels claimed to have shot down a Saudi
warplane which was conducting air-raids over northern Yemen.
According to Saudi reports, the downed aircraft is a Panavia Tornado
of the Saudi
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force was on a combat mission in the skies over
Saada province in northern Yemen. Saudi reports claimed that it was
lost for 'technical reasons' and that both crew were rescued.
Italian Air Force
Italian Air Force Tornado in flight over
Afghanistan in 2008
RAF Tornado GR4 (ZA597) displaying at
Kemble Air Show
Kemble Air Show in 2008, the
wings are partially swept
Luftwaffe Tornado ECR participating in
Operation Allied Force
Operation Allied Force in April
RAF IDS (interdictor/strike) variants were initially designated the
Tornado GR1 with later modified aircraft designated Tornado GR1A,
Tornado GR1B, Tornado GR4 and Tornado GR4A. The first of 228 GR1s was
delivered on 5 June 1979, and the type entered service in the early
1980s. A total of 142 aircraft were upgraded to GR4 standard from 1997
The Tornado GR1B was a specialised anti-shipping variant of the GR1. A
total of 26 were converted, which were based at RAF Lossiemouth,
Scotland, replacing the Blackburn Buccaneer. Each aircraft was
equipped to carry up to four Sea Eagle anti-ship missiles. At
first the GR1B lacked the radar capability to track shipping, instead
relying on the missile's seeker for target acquisition, later updates
allowed target data to be fed from aircraft to missile.
In 1984, the UK Ministry of Defence began studies for a GR1 Mid-Life
Update (MLU). The update to GR4 standard, approved in 1994, would
improve capability in the medium-altitude role based on lessons
learned from the GR1's performance in the 1991 Gulf War. British
Aerospace (later BAE Systems) upgraded 142 Tornado GR1s to GR4
standard, beginning in 1996 and finished in 2003. 59 RAF aircraft
are receiving the CUSP avionics package which integrates the Paveway
IV bomb and installs a new secure communications module from
Cassidian in Phase A, followed by the Tactical Information
Exchange (TIE) datalink from General Dynamics in Phase B.
The GR1A is the reconnaissance variant used by the RAF and RSAF,
fitted with the TIRRS (Tornado Infra-Red Reconnaissance System),
replacing the cannon. The RAF ordered 30 GR1As, 14 as GR1 rebuilds
and 16 as new-builds. When the Tornado GR1s were upgraded to
become GR4s, GR1A aircraft were upgraded to GR4A standard. The
switch from low-level operations to medium/high-level operations means
that the internal TIRRS is no longer in use. As the GR4A's
internal sensors are no longer essential, the RAF's Tactical
Reconnaissance Wing operate both GR4A and GR4 aircraft.
Germany and Italy, the ECR (Electric Combat /
Reconnaissance) is a Tornado variant devoted to Suppression of Enemy
Air Defenses (SEAD) missions. It was first delivered on 21 May 1990.
The ECR has sensors to detect radar usage and is equipped with
AGM-88 HARM missiles. The Luftwaffe's 35 ECRs were
delivered new, while
Italy received 16 converted IDSs. Italian Tornado
ECRs differ from the Luftwaffe aircraft as they lack built-in
reconnaissance capability and use RecceLite reconnaissance pods, also
only Luftwaffe ECRs are equipped with RB199 Mk.105 engine, which has a
slightly higher thrust rating. The German ECRs do not carry a
cannon. The RAF uses the IDS version in the SEAD role instead of
the ECR. It also modified several of its Tornado F.3s to undertake the
Panavia Tornado ADV
The Tornado ADV (air defence variant) was an interceptor variant of
the Tornado, developed for the RAF (designated Tornado F2 or F3) and
also operated by
Saudi Arabia and Italy. The ADV had inferior agility
to fighters like the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, but it was not
intended as a dog-fighter, instead it was a long-endurance interceptor
to counter the threat from
Cold War bombers. Although the ADV had
80% parts commonality with the Tornado IDS, the ADV had greater
acceleration, improved RB199 Mk.104 engines, a stretched body, greater
fuel capacity, the
AI.24 Foxhunter radar, and software changes. It had
only one cannon to accommodate a retractable inflight refuelling
Operators of the Panavia Tornado
Main article: List of
Panavia Tornado operators
Luftwaffe / Marineflieger:324 IDS and 35 ECR Tornados delivered
(including 112 IDS to Marineflieger). By December 2015 64 IDS and 29
ECR aircraft remained in service.
Aeronautica Militare:100 IDS Tornados delivered (18 converted to ECR),
24 F3 ADV aircraft later leased from the RAF. By December 2011, 62 IDS
and 16 ECR aircraft remained in service.
Royal Saudi Air Force:96 IDS and 24 ADV Tornados delivered. By
December 2011 82 IDS aircraft remained in service.
Royal Air Force: 385 IDS and ADV variants delivered, including 18 F.2
ADVs, 147 F.3 ADVs and 230 IDS aircraft. By 1 January 2017 80 GR4/GR4A
aircraft remained in service.
Aircraft on display
Gate guardian Tornado on display in Jagel, Germany
An RAF Tornado GR1 at the National Museum of the United States Air
Tornado F3 ZH552 gate guardian RAF Leeming
44+13 Tornado IDS on display at the National Museum of Military
History, Sofia 
D-9591 Tornado Prototype P.01 on display at Militärhistorisches
Museum Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow 
XX948 Tornado Prototype P.06 on display at Hermeskeil
43+01 Tornado IDS (first series aircraft) at Taktisches
Luftwaffengeschwader 33 in Cochem / Büchel 
43+96 Tornado gate guard at the German air base in Jagel, near
Schleswig, Schleswig-Holstein
44+97 Tornado IDS of the Einsatzgeschwader (Expeditionary Air Wing)
Mazar-i-Sharif at the
Deutsches Museum Flugwerft Schleissheim,
44+31 Tornado IDS (Blue Lightning paint scheme) of the 31st Fighter
Bomber Wing "Boelcke" at Nörvenich AB
Tornado IDS on display at the Luftwaffenmuseum, in Berlin[citation
Tornado IDS on display at the Technikmuseum Speyer
43+86 Tornado (MTU corporate design paint scheme) at MTU Aero Engines,
MM7210 Tornado F3 on display at the
Italian Air Force
Italian Air Force Museum, Vigna di
Tornado ADV on display at King Abdul-Aziz Air Base, Dhahran
Tornado ADV on display at the
Royal Saudi Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force Museum in
Tornado IDS on display the
Royal Saudi Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force Museum in
Tornado IDS on display at King Abdul-Aziz Air Base, Dhahran
ZA361 Tornado GR1 on display at RNAS Can Florit, Calvia, Palma
Mallorca, Spain - not on public display
XX946 Tornado Prototype P.02 on display at the RAF Museum Cosford,
XX947 Tornado Prototype P.03, was gate guardian at
Shoreham Airport in
West Sussex, England but was for sale in September 2014.
XZ631 Tornado GR4 Prototype P.15 on display at Yorkshire Air Museum,
ZA319 Tornado GR1T Gate Guard, MoD DSDA Arncott, Bicester,
ZA326 Tornado GR1 on display at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome,
ZA354 Tornado GR1 on display at Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington,
ZA362 Tornado GR1 on display at Highland Aviation Museum, Inverness,
ZA452 Tornado GR4 on display at Midland Air Museum, Coventry,
ZA457 Tornado GR1B on display at RAF Museum, Hendon, England
ZA465 Tornado GR1 on display at Imperial War Museum, Duxford,
ZA475 Tornado GR1 on the gate at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland.
ZA407 Tornado GR4 on display at RAF Marham, Norfolk, England.
ZE760 Tornado F3 on the gate at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire,
ZE887 Tornado F3 on display at
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Museum London, Hendon,
ZE934 Tornado F3 on display at National Museum of Flight, East
ZE966 Tornado F3 on display at Tornado Heritage Centre, Hawarden
ZH552 Tornado F3 on display at RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire,
43+74 Tornado IDS of the
German Navy on display at the Pima Air &
Space Museum, Arizona
ZA374 Tornado GR1 on display at the National Museum of the United
States Air Force, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio
43+74 Tornado IDS of the German Navy, Marinefliegergeschwader 1 at the
Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, AZ
Specifications (Tornado GR4)
Data from International Warbirds: An Illustrated Guide to World
Military Aircraft, 1914–2000, Tornado, Modern Fighting
Length: 16.72 m (54 ft 10 in)
Wingspan: 13.91 m at 25° wing sweep, 8.60 m at 67° wing
sweep (45.6 ft / 28.2 ft)
Height: 5.95 m (19.5 ft)
Wing area: 26.6 m2 (286 ft2)
Empty weight: 13,890 kg (30,620 lb)
Loaded weight: 20,240 kg (44,620 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 28,000 kg (61,700 lb)
Powerplant: 2 ×
Turbo-Union RB199-34R Mk 103 afterburning turbofans
Dry thrust: 43.8 kN (9,850 lbf) each
Thrust with afterburner: 76.8 kN (17,270 lbf) each
Maximum speed: Mach 2.2 (2,400 km/h, 1,490 mph) at
9,000 m (30,000 ft) altitude; 800 knots, 1,482 km/h,
921 mph indicated airspeed near sea level
Range: 1,390 km (870 mi) for typical combat mission
Ferry range: 3,890 km (2,417 mi) with four external drop
Service ceiling: 15,240 m (50,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 76.7 m/s (15,100 ft/min)
Guns: 1× 27 mm (1.06 in)
Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon
internally mounted under starboard side of fuselage with 180 rounds
Hardpoints: 4× light duty + 3× heavy duty under-fuselage and 4×
swivelling under-wing pylon stations with a capacity of 9,000 kg
(19,800 lb) of payload, the two inner wing pylons have shoulder
launch rails for 2× Short-Range AAM (SRAAM) each and provisions
to carry combinations of:
AIM-9 Sidewinder or
AIM-132 ASRAAM air-to-air missiles for
6× AGM-65 Maverick; or
12× Brimstone missile; or
2× Storm Shadow
9× ALARM anti-radiation missile
5× 500 lb
Paveway IV; or
3× 1000 lb (UK Mk 20)
Paveway II; or
2× 2000 lb
Paveway III (GBU-24)/Enhanced
Paveway III (EGBU-24);
BL755 cluster bombs; or
Up to 2×
MW-1 munitions dispensers (for runway cratering
Up to 4× B61 or
WE.177 tactical nuclear weapons
Other: Up to 4× drop tanks for ferry flight/extended range/flight
RAPTOR aerial reconnaissance pod
LITENING targeting pod; or
TIALD laser designator pod
BAE Systems Sky Shadow electronic countermeasure pod
Panavia Tornado in fiction
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force portal
Future Offensive Air System
Panavia Tornado ADV
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Dassault Mirage 2000
General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
Grumman F-14 Tomcat
McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle
List of active
United Kingdom military aircraft
List of military aircraft of Germany
List of active Italian military aircraft
List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force
^ a b c d e Segell 1997, p. 124.
^ "British-French Work On New Military Plane Periled by Cost Fight."
Wall Street Journal, 22 June 1967.
^ Willox 2002, p. 11.
^ a b c Morris, Joe Alex Jr. "Messerschmitt Back in Business." St.
Petersburg Times, 30 April 1969.
^ a b c Scutts 2000, p. 53.
^ Jefford et al. 2002, p. 25.
^ Haglund 1989, pp. 47–48.
^ "European Nations Plan Mammoth Military Aircraft." Sarasota Journal,
14 January 1969.
^ Jefford et al. 2002, p. 28.
^ a b Haglund 1989, p. 48.
^ Jefford et al. 2002, p. 26.
^ Haglund 1989, p. 49.
^ Jefford et al. 2002, pp. 28–29.
^ Black, Ian (July 2014). RAF Tornado 1974 onwards(all marks and
models). Yeovil: Haynes Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 978 0 85733
^ Haglund 1989, pp. 52, 56.
^ a b Segell 1997, p. 125.
^ a b c Long, Wellington. "Swing-Wing Wonder Weapon Is Going Into
Production." Ludington Daily News,24 August 1976.
^ Dorrell, David, ed. "Britain's Aircraft Industry enters the 1970s."
Air Pictorial, Volume 32, No. 9, September 1970, p. 306.
^ Lewis, Paul. "Europe's Fighter Jet Program: Tornado Offers
Competition for U.S. Concerns Project Valued at $17 billion." The
New York Times, 13 November 1979. Retrieved 13 November 1979.
^ Jefford et al. 2002, pp. 89–90.
^ Jefford et al. 2002, pp. 91–92, 95–96.
^ Burger, Κ.Η. "In-Flight Short Field Landing Investigations on a
Combat Aircraft with Thrust Reverser." International Journal of Turbo
and Jet Engines. 3, (2–3), pp. 99–104, ISSN 2191-0332.
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