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Panavia Tornado ECR

Electronic warfare aircraft

Tornado ECR

The Tornado ECR is tailored for air defense suppression and reconnaissance missions

Entered service 1990
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 16.72 m
Wing span (spread) 13.91 m
Wing span (swept) 8.6 m
Height 5.95 m
Weight (empty) 13.9 t
Weight (maximum take off) 28 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x Turbo-Union RB.199 Mk.103 turbofans
Traction (dry / with afterburning) 2 x 38.48 / 71.5 kN
Maximum speed 2 236 km/h
Service ceiling 15.2 km
Ferry range ~ 4 300 km
Combat radius 1 390 km
Cannon 2 x 27-mm IWKA-Mauser cannon
Missiles AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles
Bombs 454 kg free fall bombs, CPU-123/B Paveway II and GBU-28 Paveway III laser-guided bombs
Other ECM pods, including jammers, chaff and flare dispensers, passive radar, and ECCM equipment


   Based on the design of the Tornado IDS, the Tornado ECR (Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance) is a dedicated SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) and reconnaissance aircraft. It was directly converted from the Tornado IDS design, its flight performance data is essentially the same. It can also use its jamming and surveillance equipment for a variety of other missions, including the general disruption of enemy communications.

   The Tornado ECR can carry most of the same weapons as the IDS version, but is typically armed instead with anti-radiation missiles, usually the AGM-88 HARM. The Luftwaffe's ECRs are the only production model Tornados that don't have a gun armament, but Italy's ECRs are armed with the same Mauser BK.27 27mm cannons as used in the Tornado ADV and IDS models.

   The reconnaissance equipment built into the Luftwaffe's ECRs was not integrated into Italian ECRs, with the Aeronautica Militare preferring externally-carried equipment. Another structural difference is that Luftwaffe ECRs have the RB.199 Mk.105 engines instead of Mk.103s, the former of which has a slightly higher thrust output.

   A total of 52 Tornado ECRs were manufactured, with the first deliveries made on May 21st 1990. 35 were new-built for Germany's Luftwaffe, while the 16 acquired by Italy's Aeronautica Militare were converted from existing IDS airframes. These two nations are also the only present operators of the ECR, as of mid-2014. The RAF did not opt for the specialized ECR, and instead operates the IDS and ADV models for SEAD and Reconnaissance missions. The RSAF has not acquired the ECR either, and primarily employs the F-15S Strike Eagle for SEAD and Reconnaissance missions.

   The Tornado ECR was flown by both the Luftwaffe and Aeronautica Militare during the Kosovo War and the Afghan War. It was reportedly successful in both conflicts, though many decoy targets were attacked by ECRs in Kosovo, while what remained of Afghanistan's air defenses by 2001 offered little resistance. The future of the ECR in Luftwaffe service is also unclear; the German government has begun dramatically downsizing the Luftwaffe's Tornado inventory, and the relatively rare ECR would appear to be the odd man out.

   The unit cost of the Tornado ECR is approximately $50 Million, but the Tornado family of aircraft are no longer in production.



   Article by BLACKTAIL

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Video of the Panavia Tornado ECR electronic warfare aircraft


Tornado ECR

Tornado ECR

Tornado ECR

Tornado ECR

Tornado ECR

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