Panavia Tornado GR.4 "1974"

Role Multirole aircraft, strike aircraft
National origin Italy, West Germany, United Kingdom
Manufacturer Panavia Aircraft GmbH
First flight 14 August 1974
Introduction 1979
Status In service
Primary users German Air Force / Italian Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force / Royal Air Force 
Produced 1979–1998
Number built 990:
745, Panavia Tornado IDS
194, Panavia / Tornado ADV / 51, Panavia Tornado ECR
Variants Panavia Tornado ADV

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Tornado GR.4 "1974"

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Tornado GR.4 "1974"

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.[54][55] For long range missions, the Tornado has a retractable refuelling probe.[56]

Flyover of a German Navy Tornado during a training exercise in 2003
  • Luftwaffe: 210 IDS and 35 ECR Tornados delivered. By December 2018, 94 IDS and 28 ECR aircraft remained in service.
  • Marineflieger: 112 IDS Tornados delivered, retired in June 2005 with some aircraft being reallocated to the Luftwaffe.
  • Aeronautica Militare: 100 IDS A-200 Tornados delivered (18 converted to ECR EA-200s), 24 ADV F3 aircraft later leased from the RAF between 1995 and 2004. By December 2018, 70 A-200 and 5 EA-200 aircraft remained in service.
 Saudi Arabia
  • Royal Saudi Air Force: 96 IDS and 24 ADV Tornados delivered, ADVs retired in 2006. By December 2018, 81 IDS aircraft remained in service.

Former operator

 United Kingdom
  • Royal Air Force: 385 IDS GR1 and ADV F2/F3 Tornados delivered, including 230 GR1s (142 later upgraded to GR4s), 18 F2s and 147 F3s (retired in 2011). GR4 was retired on 1 April 2019

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Panavia Tornado GR.4 "1974"

Tornado ECR

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


Crew: 2

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) 

Thrust/weight: 0.77

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:

AIM-9 Sidewinder (AIM-9B / AIM-9G / AIM-9L) (GR.1) or AIM-132 ASRAAM air-to-air missiles for self-defence (GR.4)

Aircrafttoaal encyclopedia

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