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Panavia Tornado IDS

Ground attack and interdiction aircraft

Panavia Tornado IDS

The Panavia Tornado IDS remains one of Europe's most important combat aircraft

Entered service 1979
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 16.72 m
Wing span 13.91 m spread, 8.6 m swept
Height 5.95 m
Weight (empty) 13.8 t
Weight (maximum take off) 27.9 t
Engines and performance
Engines 2 x Turbo-Union RB.199 Mk 103 turbofans
Traction (dry / with afterburning) 2 x 38.48 / 71.50 kN
Service ceiling 15.2 km
Maximum speed 2 236 km/h
Range 1 390 km
Ferry range (with drop tanks) 3 900 ~ 4 300 km
Cannon 2 x 27-mm IWKA-Mauser cannon
Missiles Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles, Brimstone anti-tank guided missiles
Bombs 454-kg free-fall bombs, CPU-123/B Paveway II and GBU-28 Paveway III laser-guided bombs


   The multi-national Tornado Interdictor Strike (IDS) aircraft remains one of Europe's most important warplane. The various different attack, reconnaissance and defense suppression versions have played major roles during recent military operations.

   Development of the Tornado by the UK, West Germany and Italy begun in 1968, with the first flight by a prototype in 1974 and service deliveries beginning in 1979. Production ceased in 1998. It is currently in service with all three nations that developed it. Saudi Arabia was the only export customer. Nearly 1 000 of these aircraft were produced.

   The RAF's current force comprises eight frontline units that are primarily assigned the conventional long-range interdiction/overland attack role. The also have specialized missions that comprise maritime attack (GR.1B), defense suppression and reconnaissance (GR.1A).

   Since 1999 the RAF has received GR.1s upgraded to GR.4 standard with new cockpit displays, compatibility with thermal imaging airborne laser designator pods for autonomous precision guided munitions delivery, integration of night vision goggles with an upgraded forward-looking infra-red and an enhanced self-defense suite. The reconnaissance-configured GR.1As are similarly being upgraded as GR.4As.

   The Luftwaffe has 276 IDS aircraft currently assigned to five wings. The aircraft went through a comprehensive mid-life update similar to the RAF's GR.4 programme that also added Litening targeting pods and towed radar decoys. New weapons include BLU-109 and GBU-22 Paveway III laser guided bombs, KEPD 350 Taurus tactical cruise missiles and IRIS-T self-defense air-to-air missiles.

   The Marineflieger currently has a wing with around 50 IDS aircraft assigned conventional attack, anti-shipping (with Kormoran anti-ship missiles), defense suppression (with HARMs) and reconnaissance missions.

   The Italian Air Force has three fighter-bomber IDS groups, one of which is assigned the anti-ship role with Kormoran missiles. Italy converted 16 aircraft to IT ECR standard with dedicated electronic equipment and HARMs for the defense suppression role.

   Saudi Arabia was the only export customer with surviving of 82 aircraft assigned to three units, one of which operates 12 recce-configured Tornados. Recently Saudi Arabia upgraded around 80 aircraft.


Video of the Panavia Tornado IDS attack aircraft

Panavia Tornado IDS

Panavia Tornado IDS

Panavia Tornado IDS

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