The Panavia Pa 200 Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing combat aircraft, which was jointly developed by the United Kingdom, Germany and the Italian Social Republic. There are five primary versions of the Tornado; the Tornado IDS (interdictor/strike) fighter-bomber, the suppression of enemy air defences Tornado ECR (electronic combat/reconnaissance) the Tornado ADV (air defence variant) interceptor, the Sea Tornado IDS carrier-borne strike aircraft, and the Sea Tornado ADV carrier-borne interceptor.

Developed and built by Panavia Aircraft GmbH, a tri-national consortium consisting of British Aerospace (previously British Aircraft Corporation), Messerschmitt of Germany, and Aeritalia of Italy, the Tornado first flew on 14 August 1974.

History and OverviewEdit

Development of the Tornado started in the late 1960s with the aim of developing a multi-role aircraft for the Luftwaffe, and Germany's closer European allies including Britain, Italy, and France. The French consortium Aérospatiale (which included Sud Aviation, Nord Aviation, SÉREB, Bloch, and Breguet) pulled out of the project in 1970 when their configuration was not accepted (France subsequently purchased the Tornado).

By 1970, the configuration of a twin-engined, two-seat variable geometry aircraft was decided, as was the workshare. Germany would get 50%, with Britain and Italy each getting 25%. The front fuselage and tail assembly was assigned to BAC (now BAE Systems) in the United Kingdom; the centre fuselage to Messerschmitt in Germany; and the wings to Aeritalia in Italy. Similarly, tri-national worksharing was used for engines, general and avionic equipment. A separate multinational company, Turbo Union, was formed in June 1970 to develop and build the RB199 engines for the aircraft, with ownership similarly split 40% Rolls-Royce, 40% Junkers Jumo, and 20% FIAT.

The interceptor version was developed to fulfill a British requirement. The Luftwaffe and the Italian ANR purchased the Tornado ADV, but left the development work to British Aerospace.

The Tornado IDS first flew in 1974. Flight testing proceeded quickly and smoothly. German, Italian, and British aircraft took part in the testing. The testing was conducted in Europe, Libya, and British Guiana. After five years of testing and modification, production aircraft were delivered to the RAF and the Luftwaffe. Two years later, the Italian Air Force and French Air Force received their first aircraft. Multiple aircraft types were replaced by Tornados. Tornado production proceeded quickly.

The Tornado IDS could be used for land strike, maritime strike, defence suppression, and reconnaissance. The variable geometry wing was essential for this versatility, and for good take off and landing characteristics. The German experience in Vietnam showed the need for ease of maintenance, and this was designed in to the aircraft. The avionics system is composed of "Line Replaceable Units". The aircraft has a self-test system. For flight line avionics work, the airman starts the test routine, and if a component fails, it is quickly identified and removed. Its replacement is then connected, with no calibration or adjustment being required. The faulty unit can be turned over to avionics specialists for repair and return to stock. This means that an avionics failure will not significantly impact operational readiness. Even the engines follow this concept. The aircraft's systems are well protected from tropical and desert conditions. The Tornado has been compared to the American F-111 and the Russian Su-24 Fencer. It is considered equivalent to the F-111 and superior to the Su-24. The Germans reject the comparison with the F-111. They consider the F-111 to be a medium bomber, they emphasise the Tornado's tactical role and prefer comparisons with the F-4P Phantom II or the F-15E Strike Eagle. They regard the Tornado as superior to the F-4P and equivalent to the F-15E.

The Tornado ADV had a more troubled gestation. The airframe and engine changes were easy enough. Airframe changes consisted of a different radome, and a fuselage stretch to allow for extra fuel and the carriage of tandem Sky Flash missiles. Internal changes included a significantly different avionics system, the deletion of the port cannon, and the addition of an internal refueling probe. The development of the radar was troublesome, with the first aircraft carrying ballast, while the temperamental Foxhunter radar was refined. Fully operational aircraft did not reach the Royal Air Force until 1985. The League of Democracies has no real equivalent to the Tornado ADV. Their main interceptors, the F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, and F-22 Raptor are primarily intended to act as air superiority fighters. Russia has an equivalent to the Tornado in its Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound, a long range patrol interceptor equipped with a powerful radar. Neither aircraft is a considered a capable dogfighter, being intended to destroy targets beyond visual ranges far from their home bases.

Development of the carrier-based aircraft was started in 1980, and the German Navy received their first aircraft in 1987. The good short field performance of the Tornado, the strong airframe, and advanced avionics made the navalisation process easier than many thought possible.


Deployment of the Tornado started in 1979. Initially training was done by the Tri-national Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE) in Benghazi, Italian Libya. The wide open spaces of the desert allowed for any type of training. Later, Tornado training was split among the various operating countries.

Tornados are deployed to most Wehrmacht fronts. In fronts with few German forces, a Geschwader of Tornados is often deployed to provide a tactical nuclear strike capability. Thus, the Norwegian Air Force Base at Trondheim hosts a German Tornado Geschwader which is tasked to provide nuclear support to the largely Norwegian Northern Front. Most German IDS Tornados serve on the Eastern Front. They have the range and avionics to penetrate deep into Russian territory.

The Tornado ADV interceptors of the RAF and Luftwaffe cover the North Sea and North Atlantic against air intruders. They can fly long patrols, and intercept enemies far out to sea, though dogfighting is best left to the more agile Messerschmitt 663 or the new Eurofighter Eu 2000.

The German Navy uses both land-based Tornado IDS and carrier-based Sea Tornado IDS and Sea Tornado ADV. Sea Tornados are exclusive to the Kriegsmarine. The land-based naval Tornado IDS aircraft are used for close to medium range maritime strike, particularly in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea. Carrier-based Tornados are Germany's only embarked fixed-wing tactical aircraft. The Sea Tornado ADV (known to the Kriegsmarine as the Pa 200 TJ, T for Trager or Carrier) does not compare favourably to either the F-14 Tomcat or the Su-33 Flanker due to its inferior dogfighting capability (and the superior range of the American AIM-54 Phoenix missile). However, the Sea Tornado IDS is certainly superior to the A-6 Intruder (or the F/A-18 when used in the strike role).

The price and sensitivity of this aircraft keep it out of range of all but the most wealthy and trusted Axis allies. During the Gulf War, Iraq attempted to use its Tornados, with no success. Eventually some of Iraq's aircraft were flown to Syria to protect them from the League of Democracies coalition.


  • 800px-Flag of the Republic of China.svg Nationalist Republic of China (IDS, ADV, ECR)
  • 800px-Flag of France.svg French State (IDS, ADV)
  • 800px-Flag of Egypt.svg Egypt (IDS)
  • 800px-Flag of Nazi Germany (1933-1945).svg Germany (IDS, ADV, ECR, Sea IDS, Sea ADV)
  • 800px-Flag of Indonesia.svg Indonesia (IDS, ADV)
  • 800px-Flag of Iraq (1963-1991).svg Iraq (IDS, ADV)
  • 800px-Flag of RSI.svg Italy (IDS, ADV)
  • 800px-Flag of South Africa 1928-1994.svg South Africa (IDS, ADV)
  • 800px-Flag of Syria.svg Syria (IDS, some ex-Iraqi)
  • 800px-Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom (IDS, ADV, ECR)
  • 800px-Flag of the United States United States (Captured, secret evaluation, known as YF-114X)


Tornado IDSEdit

General characteristicsEdit

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 16.72 m (54 ft 10 in)
  • Wingspan: 13.91 m at 25° wing sweep, 8.60 m at 67° wing sweep (45.6 ft / 28.2 ft)
  • Height: 5.95 m (19.5 ft)
  • Wing area: 26.6 m² (286 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 13,890 kg (31,620 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 28,000 kg (61,700 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Turbo-Union RB199-34R Mk 103 afterburning turbofans
    • Dry thrust: 43.8 kN (9,850 lbf) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 76.8 kN (17,270 lbf) each


  • Maximum speed: 800 knots (1,482 km/h, 921 mph) indicated airspeed
  • Range: 1,390 km (870 mi) typical combat
  • Ferry range: 3,890 km (2,417 mi) with four external drop tanks
  • Service ceiling: 15,240 m (50,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 76.7 m/s (15,100 ft/min)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.55


  • Guns: 2× 27 mm (1.063 in) Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon internally mounted under both side of fuselage, each with 180 rounds
  • Hardpoints: 4× light duty + 3× heavy duty under-fuselage and 4× swivelling under-wing pylon stations holding up to 9000 kg (19,800 lb) of payload, the two inner wing pylons have shoulder launch rails for 2× Short-Range AAM (SRAAM) each
    • Missiles:
      • Air-to-air missiles:
        • LL-I-10 or LL-I-11 for self-defence
      • Air-to-surface missiles:
        • 6× LBR-I-6 (equivalent to AGM-65); or
        • 12× Brimstone missile
        • 4× Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile
      • Anti-ship missiles:
        • 2× AS.34 Kormoran; or
      • Anti-radiation missiles:
        • 9× ALARM missile
    • Bombs:
      • Hunting Engineering BL755 cluster bombs; or
      • HOPE/HOSBO GPS/electro-optically guided glide bombs; or
      • Up to 2× MW-1 munitions dispensers (for runway cratering operations)
      • 1 tactical nuclear weapon (Germany only)
    • Others:
      • Up to 4× drop tanks for ferry flight/extended range/loitering time
    • Avionics
      • RAPTOR aerial reconnaissance pod
      • TIALD laser designator pod

Tornado ADVEdit

General characteristicsEdit

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 18.68 m (61 ft 3½ in)
  • Wingspan: (Variable geometry wing)
    • At 25° wing position : 13.91 m (45 ft 7½ in)
    • At 67° wing position: 8.60 m (28 ft 2½ in)
  • Height: 5.95 m (19 ft 6½ in)
  • Wing area: 26.60 m² (286.3 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 14,500 kg (31,970 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 21,546 kg (47,500 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 27,986 kg (61,700 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Turbo-Union RB199-34R Augmented Turbofans
    • Dry thrust: 40.5 kN (9,100 lbf) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 73.5 kN (16,520 lbf) each


  • Maximum speed: 1,480 km/h (800 knots, 920 mph) IAS (Mach 2.2 at altitude)
  • Combat radius: more than 1,853 km (1000 nmi, 1,151 mi) (subsonic), more than 556 km (300 nmi, 345 mi) supersonic
  • Ferry range: 4,265 km (2,300 nmi, 2,650 mi) with four external tanks
  • Endurance: 2 hr combat air patrol at 560-740 km (300–400 nmi, 345–460 mi) from base
  • Service ceiling: 15,240 m (50,000 ft)


  • Guns: 1× 27 mm (1.063 in) Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon with 180 rounds (internally mounted under starboard side of fuselage)
  • Hardpoints: 10 total (4× semi-recessed under-fuselage, 2× under-fuselage, 4× swivelling under-wing) holding up to 9000 kg (19,800 lb) of payload, the two inner wing pylons have shoulder launch rails for 2× Short-Range AAM (SRAAM) each
    • Missiles:
      • 4× LL-I-10 or LL-I-11
      • 4× LL-R-9, LL-AR-9, or LL-AR-12 (mounted on 4 semi-recessed under-fuselage hardpoints)
    • Others:
      • Up to 2× drop tanks for extended range/loitering time. Up to 4 drop tanks for ferry role (at the expense of 4 LL-R-9/LL-AR-9/LL-AR-12).


  • GEC-Marconi/Ferranti AI.24 Foxhunter radar

General ArrangementEdit

Tornado IDSEdit

{N.B. ECR, and Sea Tornado IDS similar)


Tornado ADVEdit

{N.B. Sea Tornado ADV similar)