Panavia tornado

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Panavia 200 tornado
Tornado IDS of the German Air Force
Tornado IDS of the German Air Force
Type: Fighter bomber
Design country:

GermanyGermany Germany United Kingdom Italy
United KingdomUnited Kingdom 


Panavia Aircraft GmbH

First flight:

August 14, 1974



Production time:

1973 to 1999

Number of pieces:


Tornado IDS (46 + 02) and ECR (46 + 38) of the Air Force

The Panavia 200 (PA-200) Tornado is a two-seat twin-engine multi-role combat aircraft with pivoting wings jointly by Germany , the UK and Italy was built.

The development and production of the aircraft was carried out by Panavia Aircraft GmbH , a consortium of BAE Systems , Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (now Airbus ) and Aeritalia (now Leonardo ). There are three main variants of the tornado, some of which are due to national modifications. The Tornado Interdiction / Strike or IDS is intended as a low-flying fighter-bomber , the Tornado ECR for electronic warfare and fighting opposing radar positions and the Tornado ADV as an interceptor . Not all variants were procured by all nations. The Air Force of Saudi Arabia was the only export customer to purchase the aircraft.

Its first combat missions took place in the second Gulf War by the British, Italian and Saudi Arabian air forces. Missions in the wars of Yugoslavia and Kosovo followed , in which the Bundeswehr participated for the first time . German tornados also flew reconnaissance missions as part of the ISAF mission and in northern Iraq .



British tornado at Niederrhein Airport

In 1967, the Netherlands , Belgium , Canada , Italy and the Federal Republic of Germany joined forces to form the F-104 Replacement Group in order to take up joint plans for a multi-role aircraft ( Multi-Role Aircraft 75 - MRA-75 ) as the successor to the Starfighter .

In Great Britain at the same time there was a need for a successor to the Canberra . Initially, a national development, the BAC TSR.2 , was worked on here. After this project was discontinued in 1965, the development of a joint fighter aircraft with swivel wings in the Anglo-French Variable Geometry (AFVG) program began together with France . In addition, the British armed forces considered the introduction of the General Dynamics F-111 . However, France withdrew from the AFVG project in June 1967 and about six months later the intention to purchase the F-111 was abandoned.

Great Britain decided in 1967 after initial coordination talks with the nations of the F-104 Replacement Group to participate in a joint project. In 1968, the participating countries signed an initial memorandum aimed at a joint project called Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA). At this point Canada and Belgium withdrew their participation, and the Netherlands followed shortly afterwards.

The definition phase began in 1969. The goal of the remaining nations Germany, Italy and Great Britain was to build a multi-purpose fighter that could cover the roles of conventional and especially nuclear air raids, aerial reconnaissance and naval warfare from the air. In the Warsaw Pact you saw an opponent who had a strong air defense and at the same time was able to use a large amount of force to take offensive action against NATO. The focus of the resulting operational requirements was therefore on a high degree of assertiveness and survivability. This should be achieved, among other things, through the ability to fly extremely low and to use weapons precisely in all weather conditions, day and night, and through effective self-protection equipment. In addition, it should be possible to use runways that could only be used to a limited extent after air raids. Britain also defined the need for a long-range interceptor.

Air Force Tornado IDS takes off from Eielson Air Force Base , Alaska

In order to ensure that the governments involved are adequately represented in this multinational project, the nations decided to set up a joint organization under the umbrella of NATO, the NATO Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Development and Production Management Organization (NAMMO) . A separate agency, NAMMA, with staff from the three countries was founded as the executive body. In 1987, NAMMA's field of activity was expanded to include support during operations ( NATO Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Development, Production and In-Service Support Management Agency ). In 1995 the agency merged with NEFMA from the Eurofighter program to form NATO EF 2000 and Tornado Development, Production & Logistics Management Agency (NETMA).

The industrial groups involved in the program, British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) and Fiat Aviazione , have merged to form the independent international Panavia Aircraft GmbH based in Munich , which had overall responsibility and sole responsibility in the production phase Was the contact for NAMMA.

In 1969 the tender to develop the engine was issued. Here, the British company Rolls-Royce with the Turbo Union RB199 engine prevailed against the American manufacturers Pratt & Whitney and General Electric , partly because of the high degree of technology transfer offered to the other participating nations. The consortium Turbo-Union Ltd. based in Great Britain, which comprised the companies Rolls-Royce, Motoren- und Turbinen-Union (MTU) and Fiat.


Development began on July 20, 1970, after Great Britain had established itself with the concept of the two-seat twin-engine aircraft. Characterized by the use of the F-104 and the Fiat G.91 as well as for cost reasons, Germany originally had only one pilot and only one engine. The number of aircraft planned was from 1,500 (GB: 300, D: 550, I: 200, others: 600) in 1968 including the British fighter version to 809 (GB: 385, D: 324, I: 100) in 1972 decreased. Overall, the delivery figures over the production and usage period added up to GB: 402, D: 357, I: 100. The production of the assemblies was based on a division of labor. The cockpit and tail section as well as the vertical stabilizer were manufactured by BAC (later BAE Systems), MBB (later: DASA or EADS ) manufactured the fuselage center section and the air intakes, Fiat (later: Aeritalia or Alenia Aeronautica ) the wings with the high- lift aids . The final assembly took place from 1973 on the three lines in Warton (Great Britain), Manching (Germany) and Turin (Italy).

Panavia Tornado prototypes
No. Mark First flight place crew
P01 D-9591 August 14, 1974  GermanyGermany Manching Paul Millett, Nils Master
P02 XX946 October 30, 1974  United KingdomUnited Kingdom Warton Paul Millett, Pietro Trevisan
P03 XX947 5th August 1975  United KingdomUnited Kingdom Warton David Eagles, Tim Ferguson
P04 D-9592 2nd September 1975  GermanyGermany Manching Hans-F. Rammen lake, Nils master
P05 X-586 5th December 1975  ItalyItaly Caselle Pietro Trevisan
P06 XX948 20th December 1975  United KingdomUnited Kingdom Warton David Eagles
P07 98 + 06 March 30, 1976  GermanyGermany Manching Nils Meister, Fritz Eckert
P08 XX949 July 15, 1976  United KingdomUnited Kingdom Warton Paul Millett, Ray Woolett
P09 X-589 5th February 1977  ItalyItaly Caselle Pietro Trevisan, Manlio Quarantelli
P10 Used for soil testing only

The first flight took place in Manching on August 14, 1974, and in 1976 the aircraft, previously known as MRCA, was named Tornado. The cost per aircraft was then given as 29.2 million  DM . Additional expenses for spare parts, weapons, ground equipment and training were estimated at 15 million Deutschmarks. Ten prototypes and six pre-series aircraft, designated as P01 to P16 , were built for flight testing . The prototype P10 was only used for tests on the ground and has never flown. In 1979, the P08 prototype was the first tornado to crash, killing both crew members.

In 1980 the first tornado was delivered to the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE) in Cottesmore for training the aircrews. Equipment for the task forces in Great Britain and Germany began in 1982, followed by Italy in 1984 and Saudi Arabia as the only export customer in 1986 .

At the end of 1989, the US Department of Defense was investigating whether the tornado could be used by the American Air Force in the Wild Weasel role to replace the Phantom F-4G . However, this consideration was discarded in the early 1990s in favor of the existing F-16 .

The German Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance (ECR) variants were produced from 1990 to 1991. In 1991, the South Korean Air Force expressed an interest in purchasing 50 Tornado ECRs. Due to delays due to technical problems, the number was initially reduced to 24 and finally the intention was given up.

In 1995, 339 Tornado fighter planes were in service with the Bundeswehr (Air Force and German Navy ). The unit price (aircraft costs) was estimated at 55 million DM at that time.

In 1999 the last newly built tornado was delivered to the Saudi Arabian Air Force. A total of 977 aircraft were manufactured.


Panavia Tornado (scheme)

The Tornado is a twin-engine shoulder- wing aircraft with swiveling wings in various, sometimes very different versions , within which there are numerous modifications. This results from the different requirements of the user states, the mission role or from urgent immediate needs, for example in missions.


Extended air refueling boom
Air refueling of a British tornado
Secured emergency catch hook

The materials used for the cell are light metals (71%), titanium (18%; mainly for the wing box), steel (6%) and other materials (5%).


The fuselage was provided with numerous access flaps due to the required ease of maintenance.

The wings of the tornado do not have conventional ailerons . The so-called tailerons attached to the stern serve as combined elevator and ailerons . They are supported by spoilers in the wings. The rudder is located on the rudder unit, and two parallel air brakes in front of the rudder unit .

For low flight speeds, for example during take-off and landing, the wing position of 25 degrees guarantees high maneuverability. In addition, all high-lift aids are only fully available in this sweep . The fuselage remains closed at the trailing edges of the wings by a self-inflating seal (wing pocket seal). The wings are basically swept in three positions (25, 45, 67 degrees), but can be adjusted continuously. An exception applies to the British GR.4 when 2250 liter under wing outer tanks are attached. In this case, the outermost pivot position is mechanically limited to 65 degrees. At very high speeds, the rearward-swept wings only cause minimal physical stress for the crew, even with strong gusts and turbulence in deep flight .

The pilot adjusts the wings manually. Only the F.3 tornadoes have automatic wing adjustment. However, this was not permitted in the RAF and only used by the RSAF.

Fuel systems

The Tornado has internal tank groups in the fuselage and in the wings. British-made tornadoes also use a tank in the vertical stabilizer. On the external load carriers under the wings and the fuselage there are mounting options for up to four external ones (1 × each on the inner wing load carrier L / H and R / H, 1 × each on the fuselage load carrier L / H and R / H or 1 × on the middle fuselage carrier) Additional tanks with 1,500 l (around 1,200 kg) or 2,250 l (around 1,800 kg) capacity. In addition, there is the option of air refueling using the extendable air refueling boom attached on the right-hand side below the cabin roof. The F.3 variant has a boom integrated in the fuselage on the left side.

landing gear

The three-legged landing gear from the English manufacturer Dowty, consisting of the main landing gear and the controllable twin nose wheel, is operated hydraulically. In an emergency, the extension can be achieved with an emergency system.

Emergency safety device

For emergencies (for example in the event of technical defects) in which an emergency safety system is to be used, the Tornado is equipped with a safety catch .


The required skills to be able to carry out precise attacks by day and night and in any weather at low altitude were decisive factors for the composition of the avionics components of the Tornado.

The Tornado has a fly-by-wire system. On the one hand, this enables the simple integration of an autopilot and the best possible computer-assisted damping or amplification of control inputs depending, for example, on the flight speed, the angle of attack or the position of the wings or lift aids.

A heads -up display was installed in the front cockpit, primarily to support the deepest flight at treetop height during the day and aiming during weapon operations . This projects information from the main instruments and the navigation systems into the pilot's field of vision and serves as a sighting device. In case of bad weather or at night allowing terrain-following radar ( Terrain Following Radar - TFR ) in conjunction with the autopilot low altitude 60 meters altitude above ground.

In order to increase the probability of hits in blind attacks, the accuracy of the navigation system can be improved by comparing the image of the ground mapping radar (GMR) with measured reference points. By installing a laser gyro - INS and a GPS receiver in all aircraft, this is now only an emergency solution. The TFR and the GMR were produced by the American manufacturer Texas Instruments and were therefore the only parts in the basic version of the Tornado that were not made in Europe. It was not until the 219th radar was built that production was transferred to a consortium led by AEG .

In both cockpits there are display devices on which the aircraft position is shown on a map.

Tornado Self Protection Jammer

Radar warning receivers with appropriate displays are installed to visualize the threat situation . The self-protection systems are only integrated in the fuselage of the Tornado F.3 (Vicon 78 series 400). For all other variants are jammer (for example, Cerberus CIII, Sky Shadow), Heckling (eg Tornado Self Protection Jammer ) and decoy for chaff (chaff) and flares (flare) (for example Bofors BOZ-101 / -102 / -107 ) attached to the outer load carriers under the wings.


Rolls-Royce / Turbo-Union RB.199 engine
Arrangement of the secondary power system
Thrust reversal and extended spoilers on landing

The three-shaft RB199 engines of the Tornado have infinitely adjustable afterburners and are equipped with a thrust reverser . This can be preselected in flight (activated when the main landing gear is put on) and enables - especially in connection with the wheel brakes - to shorten the required runway length. The engines can be lowered down for easy repairs.

For the autonomous startup on the ground without external support is an auxiliary power unit (English auxiliary power unit -. APU) used by KHD Oberursel developed and built single-shaft gas turbine T312. When the main engines are still inactive, they first drive the equipment carrier gears assigned to the two main engines via switchable friction clutches, and thus the power generators and the aircraft's hydraulic pumps. The starting process of the main engines can then be effected by means of the switchable hydraulic converters arranged in the equipment carrier gears.

Crew / cockpit layout

Cockpit of a Tornado GR.4

The tornado is a two-seat fighter aircraft . The crew usually consists of the pilot in the front cockpit and the weapons system officer (WSO) in the rear cockpit . The control devices and the avionics of the aircraft are designed in the so-called strike version so that there is a clear division of labor. The aircraft can only be controlled from the front cockpit. There is no control stick installed in the rear cockpit. The pilot's focus is on the safe conduct of the flight, a task that requires full attention, especially in deep flight. The WSO is mainly responsible for the navigation , the preparation of weapons and the operation of the self-protection equipment. Depending on the mission role and phase, individual tasks in the cockpit can be distributed differently, but maximum mutual support is always sought.

With the so-called trainer version, pilots can be trained and educated. These machines have a double steering system to enable a flight instructor to control the controls from the rear cockpit. Although these aircraft also differ from the regular emergency aircraft through various adjustments, for example in the instrumentation, they can largely be used for emergency flight operations (but only as IDS).

Rescue systems

As a rescue system for the Tornado of Martin-Baker - ejection seat , including the so-called "Zero / Zero" capacity, so the rescue of a Mk selected 10A which has the ability to rescue the crew of a wide band of attitudes on. aircraft standing on the ground.

After initiating rejects by pulling the trigger, a fully automatic sequence starts. First, the arms and legs of the pilot and WSO are pulled to the seats by belts to prevent injuries from wind pressure at high flight speeds. Almost at the same time, the cabin roof is blown off and the entire ejection seats are catapulted out of the aircraft. In order not to collide in the air, the respective rocket sets fire in such a way that first the rear seat and then, after a short delay, the front seat leave the aircraft. Subsequently, depending on the barometric altitude, a control screen is ejected, which brakes the seat and brings it into a favorable position in order to enable the main screen to be optimally opened and the seat to be separated from the pilot (seat-man separation).

An emergency oxygen bottle is attached to the seat, which ensures a supply of breathing air in the event of large rejects. In a container on which the crew member sits and to which they are connected by a narrow belt, various life-saving appliances are stowed that are required after landing on the ground or at sea (e.g. lifeboat, signaling devices, etc.). The life jackets, which are worn on every flight, include an emergency radio and, in the case of special vests for flights over sea, an integrated float that inflates itself when it comes into contact with water.

Technical specifications

Parameter Tornado IDS / RECCE / ECR / GR.4 Tornado ADV
length 17.23 m 18.68 m

8.56 m (swept 67 °)
13.91 m (swept 25 °)

8.56 m (swept 67 °)
13.91 m (swept 25 °)

height 5.95 m 5.95 m
Wing area 26.60 m² 26.60 m²
Wing extension

2.78 (arrowed 67 °)
7.27 (arrowed 25 °)

2.77 (arrowed 68 °)
7.27 (arrowed 25 °)

Wing loading

minimum (empty weight): 530 kg / m²
nominal (normal take-off mass): 767 kg / m²
maximum (max. take-off mass): 1,023 kg / m²  1)

minimum (empty weight): 545 kg / m²
nominal (normal takeoff mass): 819 kg / m²
maximum (max. takeoff mass): 1,052 kg / m²

Empty mass 14,092 kg 14,501 kg
Max. Takeoff mass

IDS / RECCE: 28,500 kg
GR.4: 27,216 kg

27,987 kg
internal tank capacity

IDS / RECCE: 4,800 kg
GR.4: 5,300 kg

6,030 kg
Top speed

2,337 km / h ( Mach 2.2) at over 10,975 m
1,480 km / h (Mach 1.2) at sea level

2,414 km / h ( Mach 2.27) at over 10,975 m
1,480 km / h (Mach 1.2) at sea level

Rate of climb 165 m / s 203 m / s
Service ceiling 15,240 m 17,070 m
Engines two turbofans Turbo-Union RB199 -34R Mk.103
(ECR: Mk.105)
two Turbofans Turbo-Union RB199-34R Mk.104
Thrust (per engine)

40.5 kN (ECR: 42.5 kN) (without afterburner)
71.3 kN (ECR: 74.3 kN) (with afterburner)

40.5 kN (without afterburner)
73.0 kN (with afterburner)

Thrust-to-weight ratio

maximum (empty weight): 1.09
nominal (normal starting weight): 0.75
minimum (max.starting weight): 0.56 1)

maximum (empty weight): 1.16
nominal (normal starting weight): 0.78
minimum (max.starting weight): 0.60

1) Information relates to the Tornado GR.4


There were two main variants of the Tornado , the Tornado IDS and the Tornado ADV . From the former there were later various derivations, among other things for the Enlightenment. The modifications were carried out at the national level, which is why there were a large number of different configuration states. To simplify matters, the modifications to its successor, the Eurofighter Typhoon , should be managed uniformly by NATO .

armed forces

Bottom view of a Tornado IDS of the German Air Force

Tornado IDS

The Tornado IDS / IDS-T ( Interdiction Strike ; German: Lockdown / Attack) is the basic version of the Tornado as a fighter-bomber and for the Recce reconnaissance version, the IDS-T is the trainer version with double controls. In contrast to the two other program partners (see below), the Bundeswehr has not introduced its own series designations.

Tornado Recce

Tornado Recce in the Nato Tiger Meet design

The Tornado Recce (English military jargon for "Reconnaissance"; German reconnaissance ) is a Tornado IDS that can be used for imaging reconnaissance from the air (IMINT) through a reconnaissance container attached to the middle lower trunk station . Various technical adjustments are made for this, including the installation of an additional control panel in the cockpit. The tornadoes of the reconnaissance wing 51 also received the necessary wiring and cockpit displays for the new reconnaissance pod as part of the ASSTA-1 modernization.

Since 2009, the Bundeswehr Air Force has had the RecceLite digital reconnaissance system , with which a significantly higher quality of reconnaissance results and improved evaluation options can be achieved during operations. In addition, the reconnaissance results can be transmitted to the ground station in flight.

Since there is a limited evaluation possibility in the air, the system is only used optimally in connection with the ground evaluation station ( Recce-Ground-Station ). Reconnaissance missions are flown at low or medium altitude, depending on the sensors used and the threat.

Tornado ECR

After the production of the last IDS, 35 Tornado ECR ( Electronic Combat Reconnaissance ) were ordered by the Luftwaffe . The delivery lasted from January 1990 to September 1991. The special mission equipment includes improved cockpit displays, a forward-facing infrared sensor ( FLIR ) and the emitter locator system from the manufacturer Raytheon TI Systems - a system with which the precise position of radar systems is possible . The on-board cannons were removed due to the increased space required for the avionics. Upgraded MK-105 engines were used in the new aircraft.

Italian tornado ECR

Contrary to the original planning - with corresponding devices on the German aircraft - no ECR has an infrared reconnaissance sensor.

The task of the Tornado ECR is to detect, identify and, if necessary, combat enemy radar positions before enemy air defense forces endanger their own aircraft or the forces to be supported.


Tornado ASSTA 1

With the introduction of the ASSTA 1 (Avionics System Software Tornado in Ada , based on the experiences previously made when upgrading the British Tornadoes to the GR.4 (A) standard), the first increase in combat value of the basic version of the IDS essentially comprised the renewal of the weapons computer and its software on MIL-STD 1553 /1760 or Ada (MIL-STD 1815) . in addition, received a new navigation platform with laser inertial navigation (LINS) and the Tornado GPS , which replaced the previously only externally mounted GPS receiver. Moreover, Des was the Tornado the new ECM equipment Tornado Self Protection Jammer (TSPJ). The new weapon computer made it possible to integrate new weapons and components. This included HARM III, HARM 0 Block IV / V , Kormoran II , Litening II (Precision Target lighting container) .In the context of the latter, steering kits for the laser-guided bombs of the type GBU-24A / B Paveway III were procured.

ASSTA 1 also brought about organizational changes. Since increasing combat value is more and more a software development task, a cooperation with EADS Military was founded on the basis of the previous programming center of the Air Force, which was only responsible for the ECR tornadoes , which takes over the software maintenance for all Tornado versions .

All Tornado still in service have now received the ASSTA-1 modernization.

Tornado ASSTA 2

The next adaptation with ASSTA 2 covers two main areas: The Display System Upgrade (DSU) in both cockpits, including the human / machine interface (HMI), and the Tornado Defensive Aids Subsystem (TDASS), which improves the self-protection and survival systems. Capability over modern air defense systems.

As part of the display system upgrade, the pilot and weapon system officer receive more information than before in a clearer presentation. A new Pilot's Head Down Display (PHDD) is installed in the front cockpit and the Navigator's Head Down Display (NHDD) is installed in the rear cockpit . The screens provide the crew with a digital map of the area to be overflown, can show the tactical situation and give technical messages about the weapon system. In addition, a new colored Electronic Warfare Indicator (EWI) shows the pilot the current threat situation. In addition, the weapons system officer receives a control and display unit (CDU), a programmable combined control and display device to operate the various computers and, above all, the Tornado's Electronic Warfare Suite .

The modernization of the Tornado Defensive Aids Subsystem (TDASS) is running parallel to the changes in the cockpit . The assertiveness of the Tornado weapon system is to be sustainably improved against modern ground and airborne threats. In addition to the CDU, it includes a new radar warning receiver and an integrated Defensive AIDS Subsystem Computer (DAC). This computer coordinates all self-protection processes on board and thus relieves the crew during operations.

ASSTA 2 also integrates the HARM PNU and the Taurus cruise missile into the tornado. The first ASSTA-2 tornado was handed over to the Air Force in April 2010.

Tornado ASSTA 3

The modernization of ASSTA 3 is currently being carried out and includes the installation and integration of a Link-16 data connection via a MIDS-LVT and the integration of the laser and GPS-guided precision ammunition GBU -54 LJDAM .

The installation of the ASSTA-3 package in the tornado is planned for all remaining 85 Air Force tornadoes, which will also include Tornado ECRs (see above). The first two machines converted to this status were handed over to the Air Force in summer 2012 and are used by the Tactical Air Force Squadron 33 . By 2018, from mid-2015 as a "release" ASSTA 3.1, all 85 remaining machines should be upgraded to the ASSTA 3 or 3.1 status. On the software side, the remaining IDS and ECR tornadoes will then be identical. In terms of hardware, such as the on-board cannons missing from the ECR or the ELS missing from the IDS, there will still be differences that rule out that all tornadoes can be used for all operational roles.

Royal Air Force

Tornado GR.1

The Tornado GR.1 ( Tornado IDS ) was the original fighter-bomber version of the Royal Air Force . It provided the basis for various modifications.

Tornado GR.1A

A special version of the Tornado GR.1 was the Tornado GR.1A, which was specialized for the reconnaissance role. The reconnaissance sensors and the recording devices were completely built into the fuselage in this version. The space requirement of the sensors made it necessary to dispense with the two on-board cannons.

Tornado GR.1B

Another version was the Tornado GR.1B (24 pieces built), which could be used to support naval forces through the integration of the anti-ship missile Sea Eagle .

Tornado F.2

Tornado F.3 of the RAF

The introduction of the Tornado ADV ( Air Defense Variant dt .: air defense variant ) received the RAF a powerful long-range interceptor , the English Electric Lightning and the McDonnell Douglas F-4 superseded. The ADV differs from the fighter-bomber in various areas. The requirement for low-drag, semi-recessed accommodation for the Skyflash guided missiles as the main armament led to an elongated fuselage. This had the advantage that the tank capacity was increased by 900 liters. At the same time, the nose for the installation of the Foxhunter Radar was extended and new displays and electronics were installed. Because of these structural measures, it was given the nickname "Longnose". With the combat value increase for the ADV, the Capability Sustainment Program ( CSP ), the F.3 receives an AMRAAM (UK only) and ASRAAM integration, an enhanced Foxhunter radar, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) data communication system and more Avionics improvements. The first ADV were delivered to the RAF from 1979 as the Tornado F.2 with the MK-103- IDS engines. A total of 18 F.2 were built.

Tornado F.3

The final version of the Tornado ADV is the Tornado F.3 with AI.24 Foxhunter radar and more powerful MK-104 engines, which were delivered from 1985 onwards , which were optimized for use at medium and high altitudes.

Tornado EF.3

A special version of the Tornado F.3 was the Tornado EF.3. It was a matter of a few machines of the 11 Squadron, which were used against ground-based systems in the course of preparations for the 2003 Iraq war by integrating the ALARM in connection with the radar warning receiver Air defense could be used.

Tornado size 4

A GR.4 tornado during training for an Afghanistan mission (2012)

142 Tornado GR.1 / GR.1A were subjected to an upgrade (including the Sea-Eagle integration) to the version Tornado GR.4 / GR.4A. Essential components of the conversion were the installation of the forward-looking infrared sensor, improvements to the avionics (weapon electronics, head-up display, navigation system ( GPS , LASER INS , GPWS , digital map display)) and expansion of night combat capabilities. Due to the increased space requirement, an on-board cannon had to be omitted. The retrofitting began in 1997, and the first retrofitted machines arrived in 1998.

Tornado GR.4A

The Tornado GR.4A is the reconnaissance variant of the GR.4. The Tornado GR.4A is largely identical to the GR.4. The biggest difference is the internal sideways-looking infrared reconnaissance system for imaging reconnaissance in low-level flight.

To expand the capabilities and increase the flexibility of this system, the RAF on GR.4 (A) also uses external reconnaissance tanks with the RAPTOR (Reconnaissance Airborne Pod TORnado) and the Joint Reconnaissance Pod (JRP).

Aeronautica Militare

A-200A / C tornado

The 88 used machines of the Aeronautica Militare were (87 series and one modified pre-production) initially only Tornado IDS , of which some Recces with Aufklärungspod, with the Italian name A-200A. After a "mid-life update" they were named A-200C.

TA-200A / B tornado

The training units with double control, of which 12 were procured, were given the designation TA-200A. After a "mid-life update" they were named TA-200B.

EA-200B / D tornado

The Italian Air Force also decided to introduce Tornado ECR . However, they did not acquire any new ones, but converted sixteen aircraft from the IDS fleet between 1992 and 1994. German and Italian ECR are therefore different in a number of ways, such as avionics, engines, etc. After a “mid-life update” analogous to the IDS version, they were named EA-200CD.


Blue - on-board cannons
Orange - carrier for external load and tanks
green - carrier only for external load

The conception as a multi-purpose fighter aircraft requires the use of a wide spectrum of loads and armaments. For this purpose, on the one hand, it must be possible to attach it to corresponding external load carriers and, on the other hand, it must be possible to drop or operate it using the avionics.

  • Attachment: The suspension points are on attachable / detachable external load carriers with heavy and light load suspension devices. As a rule, the heavy-duty suspensions are provided with detonation cartridges for an emergency release. The carriers on the swivel blades are automatically adjusted to the degree of the wing sweep.
  • Avionics: System integration is required for the use of armament. It includes, among other things, the software adaptation of the weapon computer and the corresponding hardware equipment, for example the creation of appropriate cabling. For cost reasons in particular, all tornadoes were never brought to a uniform level.

Permanently installed internal on-board cannon

The Tornado is the only permanently installed armament to have one (GR.1A / 4A, ADV and GR.4) or two (IDS and GR.1 (B)) 27 mm Mauser BK-27 revolver automatic cannons . The BK-27 has a selectable cadence of 1,000 or 1,700 rounds per minute and can be used against air and ground targets. 180 rounds of belted ammunition of different modes of action can be carried per cannon.

Arming at external load stations

The standard basic load of a tornado used as a fighter-bomber includes two additional tanks under the wings on the indoor station and a maximum of two air-to-air missiles are mounted on launchers on the inner carrier for self-protection. Some external loads can only be added to the lower hull stations. For use as an interceptor, the Tornado ADV carries a maximum of eight air-to-air guided missiles .

Depending on the mission role, the tornado can carry the following weapons and sensors:

AIM-9L (top)
GBU-24 Paveway III
B-61 on a weapon carrier
GBU-54 of the Air Force
Number of
per station
weapon description Users
GermanyGermany ItalyItaly United KingdomUnited Kingdom Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia
Air-to-air guided missile
2-4 1 AIM-9L Sidewinder infrared controlled short-range air-to-air guided missiles x x x
2-4 1 AIM-132 ASRAAM infrared controlled short-range air-to-air guided missiles x
2 1 IRIS-T infrared controlled short-range air-to-air guided missiles x
4th 1 Skyflash radar-controlled medium-range air-to-air guided missile x x
4th 1 AIM-120A AMRAAM radar-controlled medium-range air-to-air guided missile x
Air-to-surface guided missile
4th 1 AGM-88B HARM Block IIIB Anti-radar air-to-ground guided missile x x
4th 1 AGM-88E AARGM Anti-radar air-to-ground guided missile x
9 1 ALARM Anti-radar air-to-ground guided missile (x) x
4th 1 AS.34 cormorant Anti-ship missile (x) x
4th 1 Sea Eagle Anti-ship missile (x) x
4th 3 Brimstone Anti-tank guided missile x
2 1 Taurus Air-to-surface cruise missiles x
2 1 Storm Shadow Air-to-surface cruise missiles x x (x)
Guided bombs
4th 1 GBU-12 "Paveway II" laser-guided precision bomb x x
4th 1 GBU-16 "Paveway II" laser-guided precision bomb x x
2 1 GBU-24 "Paveway III" laser-guided precision bomb x x x
4th 1 GBU-32 GPS-guided precision bomb x
3 1 GBU-38/54 GPS / laser-guided precision bomb x
2 1 Enhanced Paveway II laser-guided precision bomb x
2 1 Paveway IV laser-guided precision bomb x
Unguided bombs
9 1 Mk-80 series Various unguided multi-purpose bombs x x x
1 1 MW-1 Submunition container with variable submunition (x) (x)
2 1 JP233 Submunition container with fixed submunition (x) (x)
4th 1 BL755 Cluster bomb with variable submunition (x) (x)
2 1 B61 unguided nuclear weapon x x
2 1 WE.177 unguided nuclear weapon (x)
  1. a b c Tornado ADV only
  2. a b c d e Retired
  3. Not yet integrated
  4. a b c d e Due to the Ottawa Convention retired

Additional container

Buddy refueling

By adding an air refueling container and installing the operating module, the Tornado is able to refuel other aircraft in flight with what is known as “buddy refueling”.

Drop tanks are available in two different sizes to increase the range :

  • up to 4 × additional tanks for 1500 liters of fuel GermanyGermany United KingdomUnited Kingdom ItalyItaly Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia
  • up to 2 × additional tanks for 2250 liters of fuel (so-called Hindenburg tanks) United KingdomUnited Kingdom ItalyItaly Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia

The following container is used to practice bombing:

  • up to 2 × CBLS 200 (Carrier Bomb, Light Stores) GermanyGermany United KingdomUnited Kingdom ItalyItaly

One of the following target light containers is used to direct precision bombs :

  • Rafael Litening ( L ASER D esignator P od)GermanyGermany United KingdomUnited Kingdom
  • TIALD-Pod ( T hermal I maging A irborne L aser D esignator Pod)United KingdomUnited Kingdom
  • Thomson CLDP ( C onvertible L aser D esignation P od)ItalyItaly

Reconnaissance tank

The basic load of the reconnaissance plane corresponds to that of the fighter-bomber. In the case of the Tornado Recce and GR.4, one of the following reconnaissance containers is also attached under the fuselage:

  • EADS Recce-Pod or Telelens-Pod (optical and infrared sensors) GermanyGermany ItalyItaly
  • Rafael RecceLite (electro-optical and infrared sensors) GermanyGermany ItalyItaly
  • RAPTOR ( R econnaissance A irborne P od Tor nado) (electro-optical and infrared sensors)United KingdomUnited Kingdom

Self-protection systems

The following electronic jamming containers are used as active measures :

  • 1 × GEC-Marconi (Selex) Sky Shadow or ARI.23246 / 1 United KingdomUnited Kingdom Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia
  • 1 × Selenia ALQ-234 ItalyItaly
  • 1 × Elta Cerberus III GermanyGermany
  • 1 × AEG-Telefunken Cerberus 1 GermanyGermany
  • 1 × Elta TSPJ (Tornado Self Protection Jammer, radar jammer)GermanyGermany

The following decoy launchers are also used:

  • 1 × CelsiusTech / SAAB BOZ-101/102 GermanyGermany ItalyItaly
  • 1 × CelsiusTech / SAAB BOZ-105 with launcher for 28 × flares and 540 × chaff strips United KingdomUnited Kingdom Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia
  • 2 × Saab Avitronics BOZ-EC with four integrated MAW-300 missile approach warning devices and 5 × SAAB BOP-L-39 flare launchers, each with 39 × 1 "flare cartridges

The integrated radar warning receiver is a passive self-protection system .


In addition to Germany, which received a total of 359 tornadoes from August 1980 to September 1991 and still had 185 copies in October 2011, Great Britain (398 copies), Italy (100 copies) and Saudi Arabia (120 copies) also introduced the tornado. In 2015, the Bundeswehr only had 85 tornadoes for the Air Force. The Navy has no more tornadoes in action. Great Britain, Germany and Italy operated a joint association, the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE), from 1981 to 1999 to train their crews at RAF Cottesmore airfield in Great Britain.

The user states are increasingly replacing the tornado with modern patterns for some of the intended tasks. Great Britain started a study with the Future Offensive Air System (FOAS) in the early 1990s , which was to find a successor. France and Germany showed interest in working on a joint successor model. However, the cooperation failed because of the exit of France and Germany's unwillingness. The Eurofighter and the US F / A-18 Superhornet are currently planned to close some of the capability gaps after the Tornado has been decommissioned. Later - if the findings of the FOAS studies are taken into account - the remaining skill gap will be closed by a combat drone .


Responsibilities in the support structure of the Bundeswehr

In 2018, a total of 13 departments were responsible for the Bundeswehr's support structure for the Tornado fighter aircraft:

Federal ministry of defense:

Armed forces:

Air Force :

Armed Forces Base (SKB):

Associations / agencies

In the Bundeswehr , the Tornado is or was used in the Air Force and the Navy with the IDS, Recce and ECR variants. The Navy used the tornado with a more extensive package of tasks than the Air Force. After the two naval aviation squadrons were dissolved, their main tasks were taken over by reconnaissance wing 51. The tornado is expected to be phased out by 2025.

JaboG tornado 38
Panavia Tornado of the WTD  61
Marine tornado in Laage
Tornado in Jagel
Users Association Stationing place comment
air force Jagdbombergeschwader 31 "Boelcke" Norvenich first unit of the air force with the tornado (introduction: 1983/1984); Conversion to the Eurofighter weapon system since July 2010
Fighter-bomber squadron 32 Lagerlechfeld dissolved on March 31, 2013
Tactical Air Force Squadron 33 Büchel Special weapons order in the context of nuclear participation and equipment with the conventional Taurus stand-off missile
Tactical Air Force Squadron 51 "Immelmann" Jagel only association with the RECCE Tornado; 2009 reduction to a scout squadron, 2012/13 takeover of ECR ​​tornados from the disbanded JaboG 32, 2017 takeover of the training company from Holloman
Air Force Aviation Training Center Holloman AFB ,
New Mexico / USA
Training association, training company discontinued in 2017
Fighter Bomber Squadron 34 "Allgäu" Memmingen Dissolved in 2003
Fighter Bomber Squadron 38 "Friesland" Jever Disbanded in 2005
German Navy Naval Aviation Squadron 1 Jagel Dissolved in 1993; first task force of the Bundeswehr with the tornado The machines were taken over by the air force.
Naval Aviation Squadron 2 Eggebek Disbanded in 2005
armor Defense Technical Office 61 Manching testing

German tornadoes in action

Air refueling over the Iraqi Mosul in November 2016

The tornado was used by the German Air Force both in the Bosnian conflict and in the Kosovo war for reconnaissance purposes and to combat enemy radar stations . At the request of NATO , the German government decided to undertake a time-limited reconnaissance mission to support NATO partners in Afghanistan within the framework of ISAF . This was of 20 April 2007 to 27 November 2010, six in Mazar-e Sharif in Mazar-i-Sharif completed stationed machines. In the Syria conflict , the German air force has six tornadoes from Incirlik for reconnaissance purposes. These are also used as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in northern Iraq .

Storage in the AMARG

From 1995 to March 2002, two specimens of the type were stored in the AMARG in Tucson , Arizona , in order to examine the consequences and possibilities of long-term conservation. Due to the need for retrofitting after the demotion, it was found that this was unprofitable, the two aircraft were then scrapped.

Great Britain

Tornado GR.1 and F.2 1982


From the beginning of the 1980s, the GR.1 was introduced to the RAF - and also to the RAF Germany . At the end of the decade, four and three fighter-bomber squadrons were stationed at the RAF Brüggen and RAF Laarbruch bases . The first aircraft were withdrawn from RAF Laarbruch as early as the early 1990s , while the aircraft in RAF Brüggen were the last RAF aircraft in Germany and were still flying combat missions from Germany during the Kosovo war in 1999. The final season only moved back to the UK in 2001. The squadrons with the Tornado GR.4 are now stationed at the RAF Marham base . The last operational flight took place at the end of January 2019, at the beginning of February the last aircraft returned to Marham, where they took off for training flights until March before the last copies of the jet were decommissioned in the United Kingdom.

unit Stationing locations comment
2 (AC) Squadron RAF Laarbruch  December 1988 to November 1991
RAF Marham November 1991 to January 2015
The Tornado GR4 will remain in Marham, but will be
subordinated to the 12 (B) Squadron, the 2nd will be reorganized as Typhoon Squadron
9 Squadron RAF Honington June 1982 to October 1986
RAF Brüggen to July 2001
RAF Marham 2001 to March 2019
12 (B) Squadron RAF Lossiemouth October 1993 to March 2014
RAF Marham January 2015 to March 2018
was reactivated again for “ Counter-Daesh ” in 2015
13 Squadron RAF Honington January 1990 to February 1994
RAF Marham 1994 to May 2011
14 Squadron RAF Brüggen November 1985 to January 2001
RAF Lossiemouth 2001 to May 2011
15 (Reserve)
RAF Laarbruch July 1983 to December 1991
RAF Honington April 1992 to November 1993
RAF Lossiemouth November 1993 to March 2017
at RAF Germany as a deployment relay
in England and Scotland as GR.1 / GR.4 retraining relay
16 Squadron RAF Laarbruch January 1984 to September 1991
17 Squadron RAF Brüggen March 1985 to March 1999
20 Squadron RAF Laarbruch April 1984 to July 1992
27 Squadron RAF Marham May 1983 to October 1993
31 Squadron RAF Brüggen September 1984 to August 2001
RAF Marham 2001 to March 2019
617 Squadron RAF Marham January 1983 to 1994
RAF Lossiemouth 1994 to March 2014
will be reactivated as Lightning II season
41 (Reserve)
RAF Coningsby April 2006 to October 2017 "Fast Jet and Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit";
Trial relay

From the late 1980s, first the F.2 and then the improved F.3 were introduced to the RAF. The aircraft were stationed at RAF Coningsby in East Anglia, RAF Leeming in Yorkshire and RAF Leuchars near St Andrews in Scotland. The last Tornado F.3 squadron was decommissioned on March 22, 2011 at the RAF Leuchars airfield, from now on the tasks will be carried out by multi-purpose fighter aircraft of the type Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4.

Another user (not listed in the following table) was QinetiQ , whose tasks are similar to those of the German WTD 61. This organization used version F.3 in MOD Boscombe Down until July 2012.

unit Stationing locations comment
5 Squadron RAF Coningsby 1987 to January 2003
11 Squadron RAF Leeming 1988 to October 2005
23 Squadron RAF Leeming November 1989 to February 1994
25 Squadron RAF Leeming October 1989 to April 2008
29 Squadron RAF Coningsby 1987 to October 1998
43 Squadron RAF Leuchars September 1989 to June 2009
56 (Reserve) Squadron RAF Coningsby July 1992 to April 2003
RAF Leuchars 2003 to April 2008
was the F.3 retraining relay
65 (Reserve) Squadron RAF Coningsby December 1986 to June 1992 In mid-1992 renaming to 56 (R) Squadron
111 Squadron RAF Leuchars January 1990 to March 2011

British tornadoes in action

Tornado GR.4 of the 15th Squadron over Iraq

During the Second Gulf War , British and Saudi Arabian tornadoes flew around 1,600 bombs, dropping 4,250 free-fall bombs and 950 laser-guided bombs in Iraq. Six planes were lost during the war.

As part of Operation Desert Storm ( Operation Granby ), Great Britain stationed tornadoes in the Second Gulf War from August 1990 on the Saudi airfields Tabuk (GR.1) and Dhahran (GR.1, GR.1A, ADV) as well as in Muharraq (GR.1) in Bahrain .

At the beginning of the war, GR.1 first attacked airfields and air defense positions with JP233 , unguided 1,000-pound Mk-83 bombs and ALARM anti-radar missiles. After the loss of six machines, the Royal Air Force changed its approach and instead of flying at low altitude, had its aircraft operate exclusively at higher altitudes - and thus outside the range of enemy anti-aircraft guns. Furthermore, it fixed the lack of ability to use precision ammunition by moving Blackburn B-103 Buccaneer from Great Britain to the area of ​​operation. They used the pave spike laser pod to illuminate targets for tornadoes armed with Paveway II bombs . In the further course of Operation Desert Storm, Tornado GR.1 were briefly equipped with the Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designator (TIALD) target illuminator in order to be able to design targets independently and fight them with laser-guided bombs.

The focus of the British GR.1A's mission was the aerial reconnaissance of Iraqi R-17 systems, which Tornado ADV operated in cooperation with Saudi forces to protect Saudi Arabia.

On 16./17. December 1998, Great Britain participated in Operation Desert Fox with the Tornado GR.1 stationed in Kuwait . Together with American cruise missiles and aircraft of the United States Navy (USN), these targets attacked Iraq.

Tornado GR.4 when ejecting flares

As part of Operation Southern Watch , British tornadoes were used until 2003 to enforce the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. For this purpose, Tornado ADV flew from Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia and GR.1, later GR.4, from Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait .

In the third Gulf War from March 2003, British GR.4 flew from Kuwait and Qatar and Tornado ADV from Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom ( Operation TELIC ), which lasted until 2011. The Tornado GR.4 were subordinate to the 901 Expeditionary Air Wing , a mixed task force, at Al Udeid Air Base ( Qatar ).

Operation Shader (fight against IS in Iraq and Syria)

As of August 2014, six tornadoes, stationed in RAF Marham , flew from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on reconnaissance flights over Iraq and Syria. Since September 30, 2014, they have also been involved in combat missions there, and moved back to Marham in February 2019 . This was the last time British tornadoes were used.

Southeast Europe

With its Tornado ADV from March 31, 1993, the RAF reinforced the forces deployed in NATO's Deny Flight operation to enforce a no-fly zone over Bosnia.

During the Kosovo War , British tornadoes were used as part of Operation Allied Force . From April 4, 1999 they flew from Bruggen and from June 5, 1999 from Solenzara in Corsica, attacks against Serbia. Her mission ended when she was transferred back on June 22, 1999.

Falkland Islands

To protect the Falkland Islands , the Royal Air Force operated a mixed squadron ( 905 Expeditionary Air Wing ) at RAF Mount Pleasant airfield near Stanley . As a contribution to the airborne air defense, four Tornado ADV were stationed there at 1435 Flight. In mid-September 2009, four Typhoon FGR.4 arrived on the islands to replace the tornadoes.


In mid-2009, the RAF replaced the Harrier stationed in Kandahar , Afghanistan, with eight tornadoes. The aircraft were assigned to the 904 Expeditionary Air Wing as a fighter-bomber and for aerial reconnaissance.


Tornadoes of 6º (red), 36º (yellow) and 50º Stormo (blue) in original colors, including 1991 desert camouflage


Four squadrons were equipped with the combat aircraft until September 2016, and since then there have been three: The 154º Gruppo (squadron) of 6º Stormo (squadron) in Ghedi received the first tornado at the end of August 1982. This fighter-bomber squadron has remained in Ghedi to this day and can use US nuclear weapons as part of nuclear participation . 155º Gruppo was temporarily stationed in Ghedi and Istrana (51º Stormo) in the 1980s and came to the modernized Piacenza airfield in 1991 . After the conversion to ECR tornadoes, the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) became their main mission. In September 2016 the 155º Gruppo returned to Ghedi. The 156º Gruppo was part of the 36º Stormo in Gioia del Colle in southern Italy until 2008 . This squadron could also use nuclear weapons. Another mission of the squadron was sea warfare from the air (Tactical Support of Maritime Operations) . In the train of the stationing of the F-2000A Typhoon (Eurofighter) at the airfield in Gioia del Colle, the 156º Gruppo was moved to Ghedi in July 2008 and disbanded there in September 2016. The 102º Gruppo flew the F-104ASA "Starfighter" until the 1990s and was then relocated and converted from Rimini-Miramare (5º Stormo) to Ghedi. It is responsible for the retraining and training of pilots and weapons system officers.

The Italian Air Force leased a total of 24 Tornado F.3 interceptors from the British Royal Air Force between 1994 and 2004 due to the delays in the introduction of the Eurofighter. These were mainly used at the 12º Gruppo / 36º Stormo in Gioia del Colle. After the lease expired, the RAF gave the Italian Air Force Museum in Vigna di Valle a Tornado ADV. Italy waived an extension of the leasing contract in favor of the F-16 and the F-2000A Typhoon, which is now being sold.

unit Stationing place comment
102º Gruppo / 6º Stormo Ghedi since 1993 A / TA-200A Tornado IDS; primarily training tasks
154º Gruppo / 6º Stormo Ghedi since August 1982 A / TA-200A Tornado IDS; primarily fighter-bombers
155º Gruppo / 6º Stormo
155º Gruppo / 50º Stormo
155º Gruppo / 6º Stormo
Ghedi 1985 to July 1990
Piacenza July 1990 to September 2016
Ghedi since September 2016
A / EA-200A / B Tornado IDS / ECR; primarily SEAD
156º Gruppo / 66º Stormo
156º Gruppo / 6º Stormo
Gioia del Colle 1984 to July 2008
Ghedi July 2008 to September 2016
A-200A Tornado IDS; primarily education
12º Gruppo / 36º Stormo Gioia del Colle 1994 to 2004 Tornado F.3
21º Gruppo / 53º Stormo
21º Gruppo / 36º Stormo
Cameri 1997 to 1999
Gioia del Colle 1999 to 2001
Tornado F.3

Italian tornadoes in action

Italian Recce tornado of 6º Stormo 2008 over Afghanistan

Italy stationed IDS tornadoes in Abu Dhabi (“Operazione Locusta”) during the Second Gulf War . A tornado was shot down in the air war operations against Iraq. The crew became a prisoner of war.

In 1999 Italy deployed 18 IDS and four ECR tornadoes as part of Operation Allied Force .

From November 2008, the Italian Air Force deployed two tornadoes from Mazar-e Sharif as reconnaissance aircraft in Afghanistan. In November 2009 it was replaced by AMX .

Saudi Arabia


Tornado F.3 of the RSAF 1991

Saudi Arabia is Panavia's only export customer. As part of the Al-Yamamah arms treaties, Saudi Arabia and Great Britain agreed to deliver tornadoes to the Royal Saudi Air Force . The aircraft manufacturer is BAE Systems. From 1986 to 1999 96 Tornado GR.1 (including 6 GR.1A) and 24 Tornado ADV were delivered from Great Britain to Saudi Arabia. The ADV were retired in 2007. 84 machines are to be upgraded as part of the Tornado (Capability) Sustainment Program (introduction of GPS, improved cockpit displays, new radios, integration of new target systems and armament). The fighter-bombers and scouts are stationed in Dhahran on King Abdullah Aziz Air Base.

Users unit Stationing place comment
11 wing 7 Squadron Dhahran additional information and training assignment
75 Squadron Dhahran -
83 Squadron Dhahran -
7 wing 29 Squadron Taboo only ADV season; Inflow from 1989
- 66 Squadron Dhahran dissolved

Saudi tornadoes in action

Tornadoes of the Saudi Arabian Air Force were used in both air-to-air and air-to-ground roles from Dhahran airfield during the second Gulf War. In November 2009, Saudi Arabia carried out air strikes against rebels in Yemen using tornadoes .


All user states of the tornado suffered numerous casualties in peacetime and training flight operations from ground and aviation accidents, in which mostly the crews were able to save themselves thanks to the sophisticated ejection seat, but numerous soldiers also lost their lives. The number of German tornadoes alone has decreased by around 45 machines since its introduction. Even before operational use, a prototype crashed on April 16, 1980 near Geiselhöring , killing both test pilots. On July 3, 2012, two Tornado GR.4 of the Royal Air Force crashed over the Scottish east coast ( Moray Firth ). One crew was rescued, the other has so far been missing. The Italian Air Force suffered the last total loss of a tornado during training flight operations with loss of the crew on August 19, 2014. After a mid-air collision, two tornadoes of the 6º Stormo from Ghedi crashed.

In a few cases, the causes of the accidents could only be traced back to technical failure; the reasons for the crash were mostly blamed on the crews. On the part of the pilots, these are, for example, spatial disorientation or incorrect distribution of attention, and on the part of the organization, for example, training deficits or missing equipment, which, in addition to exceeding the performance parameters of the aircraft or restricting the avionics, can lead to accidents. But even with - at first glance - unambiguous "pilot errors", aircraft accident investigations showed that - as with other weapon systems - often no clear, sole misconduct could be defined as the cause, but almost always a combination of several factors led to the accident or incident. Overall, however, the ratio of flight hours to accidents in a tornado is comparable to that of other western military aircraft.

The most common cause of losses from British, Italian and Saudi Arabian tornadoes in combat operations was fire from (usually enemy) air defense . Most recently, however, a Royal Air Force tornado was unintentionally shot down by an American MIM-104 Patriot anti-aircraft missile system .

The last crash of a tornado of the Bundeswehr ( Tactical Air Force Squadron 33 ) occurred on January 16, 2014 at around 9:30 p.m. near Laubach (Eifel) near the A 48 . The machine was approaching the Büchel Air Base before it crashed into a wooded area about four kilometers from the runway. The crew was able to save themselves with the ejection seat.

Comparable types

See also

Issued copies

In the meantime, some tornadoes can already be viewed in museums, examples of the Luftwaffe in the Military History Museum at Berlin-Gatow Airfield and in the Schleissheim aircraft yard near Munich (Deutsches Museum FWS) as well as in the Bulgarian National Military History Museum in Sofia , two of the Navy (MFG 2) in the Aeronauticum south of Cuxhaven . One example was set up in the Siegburg Brückberg barracks in 2008 , and there is also a tornado on the grounds of the Fürstenfeldbruck air base not far from the Luftwaffe officers' school . The sixth prototype with the serial number 06 can be seen in the Hermeskeil flight exhibition . 43 + 96 is in front of the main gate in Jagel. Two copies are set up at TaktLwG33 in Büchel, one in the air barracks in front of the troop kitchen with work number 45 + 44 and one at the main station of the air base with work number 43 + 01. The tornado with the tactical sign 43 + 86 is set up at the main entrance of MTU Aero Engines in Munich. The aircraft with the tactical number plate 44 ÷ 31 (Blue Lightning) is at the TaktLwG31 in Nörvenich behind the main station. The 44 + 08 from JaboG 38 “Friesland” with its special paint scheme is in the entrance area of ​​the main guard at Upjever Air Base.


  • Hans Apel : The descent. Politisches Tagebuch 1978-1988 , Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart, 3rd edition 1990, ISBN 3-421-06559-4 , pp. 162-172
  • Glenn Ashley: Panavia Tornado in Action , Squadron / Signal Publications, Carrollton 1991, ISBN 0-89747-234-9 .
  • Federal Ministry of Defense: White Paper 2006 on Germany's Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr, Berlin 2006.
  • Paul Eden & Soph Moeng: Modern military aircraft. Bassermannverlag, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-8094-1532-4 .
  • Bill Gunston: Panavia Tornado (Modern Combat Aircraft 6) , Ian Allan, Shepperton 1980, ISBN 0-7110-1009-9 .
  • Paul Jackson: RAF Tornado , Ian Allan, Shepperton 1986, ISBN 0-7110-1656-9 .
  • Walter Jertz : Tornado . Technology tactics use. 1st edition. Bernard & Graefe, Bonn 2005, ISBN 3-7637-6256-6 .
  • Francis K. Mason: Tornado. Development - technology - commitment. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 1989, ISBN 3-613-01286-3 .
  • Werner Meyer-Larsen: The Manching Monster , in: Der Spiegel 6/1981, p. 34-46 here:
  • Thomas Raabe: Soaring ambitions. The federal governments and the Airbus project (1969-1981) , Campus Verlag, Frankfurt / New York 2020, ISBN 978-3-593-51219-8 .
  • Peter Steinmüller: How the Panavia Tornado advanced European aircraft construction ,
  • Bernd Vetter / Frank Vetter: The Tornado , Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-613-03224-8 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f The birth of Tornado. In: Royal Air Force Museum. Royal Air Force Historical Society, 2002 Postcombe, ISBN 0-9530345-0-X .
  2. The retired fighter bomber. In:
  3. NETMA ( Memento from June 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), Transformation Network Website of NATO (English)
  4. a b Jertz: Tornado. 2005, p. 101.
  5. Like on a rocket . In: Der Spiegel . No. 19 , 1976 ( online ).
  6. RSAF tornadoes on; accessed on January 8, 2008
  7. Tornado gets Wild Weasel chance. (PDF) in: flightglobal, September 10, 1988
  8. a b c Tornado ECR - Archived 03/2003.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ( Microsoft Word , 64 kB) In: Forecast International (English)@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  9. German Bundestag : Printed Matter 13/5571, September 23, 1996
  10. Panavia website accessed on January 8, 2009
  11. Vicon 78 on International 14. – 20. November 1990 (PDF; 1.48 MB; engl.)
  12. Hujer, Helmut; 125 years of Motorenfabrik Oberursel - 1892 - 2017; Oberursel 2017; Chapter 10 "The auxiliary power system of the MRCA Tornado"
  13. Mk. 10A on the website of Martin-Baker Aircraft Co. Ltd. ( Memento of the original from October 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  14. Strategy and Technology 04/07  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 336 kB)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  15. >
  16. Description of the upgrades on the manufacturer's website; accessed on January 1, 2010
  17. Article in: Aktuell - Zeitung für die Bundeswehr, Volume 48, No. 27 of July 16, 2012  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , P. 8. ISSN 1618-9086@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /   
  18. ^ Tornado ADV on the official RAF website; accessed on January 8, 2009
  19. Description of the expanded capabilities through the CSP on the Panavia website; Accessed January 5, 2009
  20. Tornado F3 ( Memento of the original from March 14, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on the RAF website; Accessed January 9, 2009 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  21. British Military Aviation in 1997. ( Memento of the original from September 5, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on the RAF Museum website; accessed on February 1, 2009 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  22. Tornado GR.4 boosts front-line ( Memento of the original from July 9, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on aviation news; accessed on February 1, 2009 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  23. Description of the Tornado GR.4 (A) ( Memento of the original from January 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on the BAE Systems website; accessed on January 11, 2009 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  24. Report on (English); accessed on April 28, 2018
  25. Report on, accessed on February 28, 2014
  26. ^ Report on the Bundeswehr website, viewed on August 16, 2013
  27. Bundestag printed paper 16/2456 of August 25, 2006 (PDF; 176 kB)
  28. Phasing out of the MW-1 with mine loading by the Italian Air Force ( Memento of the original from July 21, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 1.1 MB) on the landmine action website @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  29. Official report of the British Parliament of October 25, 1999 at, accessed on November 23, 2008
  30. ^ Report on the FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) Center website, accessed November 23, 2008
  31. RecceLite of the Air Force on the Air Force website; Accessed September 21, 2009
  32. Keyword: tornado and reconnaissance tornado. In: November 26, 2015, accessed November 29, 2015 .
  33. Information from the Armed Forces Commissioner - Annual Report 2018 (60th report), page 14. In: . January 29, 2019, accessed January 29, 2019 .
  34. Tornado successor: Team Eurofighter presents offer to Germany
  35. ^ Introduction of the tornado on the Air Force website ; accessed on January 8, 2009
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