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Panavia Tornado IDS

Photo ID 196723 by Rich Bedford - SRAviation. Italy Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS, CSX7041
During the late 1960's a number of countries were looking at replacing their existing military aircraft fleets. Many of these countries had or were considering variable geometry as a means of making an aircraft perform well throughout a wider flight envelope. Variable geometry allows the pilot and/or fly by wire system to adapt the aircraft wing shape to the optimal settings dependant on its height, speed and load. The Tornado takes this one step further and incorporates swivelling weapons pylons that always ensure the stores are parallel to the airframe and therefore the airflow, thus minimising drag.

Britain and France joined forces on a variable geometry aircraft project, called the AFVG. (Anglo French Variable Geometry). France was already in the process of developing a variable geometry airframe of its own. In 1968, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, and Canada formed a working group to look at replacements for the F104. The outcome of this project was initially called the MRA or Multi Role Aircraft, later changed to the MRCA, Multi Role Combat Aircraft. Britain later joined this group on the strength of its variable geometry design.

The MRCA was initially viewed as two different aircraft, a single seat F104G replacement for Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Canada, and as a two seat strike aircraft for Britain and Germany.

In July 1968 a memorandum of understanding was signed by Germany, Italy and Britain covering the proposals for the MRCA. Canada and Belgium pulled out the following year. Holland later pulled out over technical concerns with the MRCA.

The initial Tornado design was for a deep penetration all weather bomber, known as the IDS (Interdictor Strike). This aircraft is designed to fly at extremely low level at high speed in almost any weather. At low level the Tornado excels, the large all moving tailerons and fin provide the necessary damping action to keep the ride relatively smooth and on track.
  • Country of Origin: United Kingdom / Germany / Italy
  • First Flight: 1974
  • Initial Service Date: 1980
  • No. Built: 397
  • No. In Service: 366 (approx.)
  • No. of Hardpoints: 8
  • Crew: 2

Power:

2 Turbo-Union RB199-34R Mk. 101 turbofan at 8,475 lbf or 2 Turbo-Union RB199-34R Mk. 103 turbofan at 8,650 lbf

Weapons:

2 27mm Mauser BK-27 cannon with 180 rounds per cannon

Missiles:

Air-to-air missiles:
AIM-9 Sidewinder or IRIS-T or AIM-132 ASRAAM

Air-to-surface missiles:
6 AGM-65 Maverick; or
12 Brimstone missile; or
4 Storm Shadow or Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile

Anti-ship missiles:
2 AS.34 Kormoran; or
2 BAe Sea Eagle

Anti-radiation missiles:
4 AGM-88 HARM; or
6 ALARM missile

Bombs:
Hunting Engineering BL755 cluster bombs; or
HOPE/HOSBO GPS/electro-optically guided glide bombs; or
Joint Direct Attack Munition; or
Paveway series of Laser-guided bomb (LGB); or
Up to 2 JP233 or MW-1 munitions dispensers (for runway cratering operations)
Up to 4 B61 or WE.177 tactical nuclear weapons

Dimensions:

Length:54 ft. 10.25 in.
Wing Span:45.64 ft. / 28 ft, 2 in.
Wing Area:286.33 sq.ft
Height:19 ft. 6.25 in.
Empty Weight:31,065 lbs
Max. Weight:61,620 lbs
Max. Ordnance Load:19,841 lbs
Internal Fuel:10,273.53 lbs

Performance:

Max. Speed:1,453 mph
Cruise Speed:585 mph
Service Ceiling:50,000 ft.
Normal Range:750 nm
Max. Range:2,100 nm

Operators:

Germany (Air Force and Navy), Italy, Saudi Arabia.

Random great photos of the Panavia Tornado IDS:

Photo ID 182310 by Lieuwe Hofstra. Italy Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS, MM7013
Photo ID 28323 by Mick Balter - mbaviation-images. Germany Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS, 45 44
Photo ID 165150 by Alex Staruszkiewicz. Italy Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS, MM7082
Photo ID 60995 by Rob Hendriks. Italy Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS, MM7065
Photo ID 28327 by Mick Balter - mbaviation-images. Germany Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS, 45 36
Photo ID 183294 by Radim Spalek. Germany Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS, 45 35
Photo ID 78710 by Alex van Noye. Germany Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS, 45 93
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