Text and ilustration: Michal Fárek

Panavia Tornado ECR

In the Luftwaffe service


In the second half of 1960s it became clear that the

gradually aging combat aircraft, such as F-104G, Fiat

G.91, BAC Lightning needed to be replaced by a new

generation of the airplanes combining the intercepting and attacking capabilities in one design meeting

the requirements of the several Western European

countries at the same time.

German Tornado ECR reg. 46+30 (cn 837/GS263/4330) and 46+29

(cn 833/GS262/4329) during take-off in Volkel, Netherlands, during NTM

2010 (7 October 2010).

(photo: Petr Soukop)

In 1969 a consortium Panavia Aircraft Gmbh

was established consolidating the requirements of Great Britain, Germany, Italy and

Netherlands (in 1970 withdrew from the development due to its complexity) into one

common program to develop a new combat

aircraft. Initial plans counted on developing

one single version which would meet all the

requirements. This solution led to a dead end

and ultimately the basic attack version IDS

(Interdictor/Strike) was developed and utilized by all program participants in moderately different variants and several further special versions for specific air forces. Thus, in

the Great Britain ADV (Air Defense Variant)

version was developed with a reworked fuselage nose section to enable an interceptor

role. It was designated by the RAF as F2 or

wing technology enabling the best flight performance within a wide range of altitudes

and airspeeds. The P01 prototype made its

maiden flight on August 14, 1974 in Manching,

West Germany. The first production aircraft

were delivered to the RAF and Luftwaffe in

June 1979. Italian AMI followed in September

1981. In June 1980, at RAF base Cottesmore

the common training unit was established

and designed Tri-National Tornado Training

Establishment -TTTE. The Tornado program

is frequently quoted as the most successful

common European combat aircraft project.

The total production almost reached 1000 airframes, a very respectable number.


F3 depending on the version and a reconnaissance variant GR1A/GR4A based on the

essential design GR1/GR4. Another version

is ECR (Electronic Combat/Reconnaissance)

whose role is to suppress the enemy’s air

defense and radio-electronic reconnaissance. This version is flown by German Luftwaffe and in moderately modified variants by

Italian Aeronautica Militare. Further development in Germany led to the Recce version to fulfill the reconnaissance roles. Many

aircraft are equipped with the second set of

controls in the rear cockpit for an instructor.

These aircraft are used for training but retain

their full combat capability.

Tornado is the first European aircraft design

equipped with fly-by-wire controls and at the

time of development quite fashionable swept

INFO Eduard - FEBRUARY 2022