Role Multirole aircraft, strike aircraft
National origin Italy, West Germany, United Kingdom
Manufacturer Panavia Aircraft GmbH
First flight 14 August 1974
Status In service
Primary users German Air Force / Italian Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force / Royal Air Force
Number built 990:
745, Panavia Tornado IDS
194, Panavia / Tornado ADV / 51, Panavia Tornado ECR
Variants Panavia Tornado ADV
The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing multirole combat aircraft, 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 Aeritalia of 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 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 allowed for minimal drag during the low-level dash towards a well-prepared enemy. 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 missions, the Tornado has a retractable refuelling probe.
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Operated by Germany and Italy, the ECR (Electronic 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 anti-radiation 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. Further, only Luftwaffe ECRs are equipped with RB199 Mk.105 engine, which has a higher thrust rating. The German ECRs do not carry a cannon. The RAF used the IDS version in the SEAD role instead of the ECR and also modified several of its Tornado F.3s to undertake the mission
Length: 16.72 m (54 ft 10 in)
Wingspan: 13.91 m (45 ft 8 in) at 25° sweep
Lower wingspan: 8.60 m (28 ft 3 in) swept at 67° sweep
Height: 5.95 m (19 ft 6 in)
Empty weight: 13,890 kg (30,622 lb)
Gross weight: 20,240 kg (44,622 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Turbo-Union RB199-34R Mk 103 afterburning 3-spool turbofan, 43.8 kN (9,800 lbf) thrust each dry, 76.8 kN (17,300 lbf)
Maximum speed: 2,400 km/h (1,500 mph, 1,300 kn) at 9,000 m (30,000
Maximum speed: Mach 2.2
Range: 1,390 km (860 mi, 750 nmi)
Ferry range: 3,890 km (2,420 mi, 2,100 nmi)
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: 3 × under-fuselage and 4 × under-wing pylon stations[note 3] with a capacity of 9,000 kg (19,800 lb),with provisions to carry combinations of:
The Tornado was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), Italian Air Force, and RSAF during the Gulf War of 1991, in which the Tornado conducted many low-altitude penetrating strike missions