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IDS was the first production type developed from the MRCA (multi-role combat aircraft) program prototype. The IDS (interdictor/strike) variant is a true strike aircraft specialised at high speed low level flight with the variable wings and terrain following equipment.


The ADV (air defence variant) was developed for the air defense role. Primarily as an interceptor with look down shoot down capability to counter the threat of Soviet bombers. This variant features new engines for long high altitude flights and a longer airframe and nose to accommodate the Foxhunter air-to-air radar and Skyflash medium range air-to-air missiles.


The ECR (electronic combat and reconnaissance) version was a Tornado variant developed by the Germans for the reconnaissance role and suppression of enemy air defence with the AGM-88A HARM anti-radar missile.


GR.1 is the RAF designation for the RAF Tornado IDS aircraft. the GR.1A was a modified variant optimised for the reconnaissance role and the GR.1B for the maritime attack role equipped with Sea Eagle missiles. All GR.1 and GR.1B aircraft that remain in service, have been upgraded to GR.4 standard. All GR.1A have been upgraded to GR.4A, the reconnaissance version of the GR.4. The GR.4/4A update enables the RAF Tornado IDS aircraft to remain in service for at least another 10-15 years.


Germany's Mid Life Update (MLU) for the Tornado is in progress. And also the Italian Air Force (AMI) Tornado IDS and ECR are scheduled to receive a mid life update in the coming years. AMI Tornado F.3s that were leased from the RAF have been returned to the UK recently, and will be replaced by leased F-16s until the arrival of the Eurofighter Typhoon.


Technical Specifications


Power plant:

two Turbo-Union RB.199-34R Mk.101 turbofans each rated at 37.70kN (8,475lbst) dry and 66.01kN (14,840lbst) with afterburning; Later aircraft: two Turbo-Union RB.199-34R Mk.103 turbofans each rated at 38.48kN (8,650lbst) dry and 71.50kN (16,075lbst) with afterburning



length 16.72m (54ft 10.25in); height 5.95m (19ft 6.25in) ; wingspan at minimum sweep (25) 13.91m (45ft 7.5in) wingspan at maximum sweep (67) 8.60m (28ft 2.5in)



take-off ('empty') 14091kg (31,065lb); Max Take-Off Weight 27961kg (61,620lb)



max level speed 'clean' at 11000m (36,090ft) more than Mach 2.2: or 2337km/h (1453mph) ; service ceiling

more than 50,000ft (15420m)



two internal Mauser BK.27 27mm cannons with 180 rounds each, AIM-9 air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles air-to-ground missiles, anti ship, anti radiation missiles, dispenser weapons, free fall bombs, guided bombs, cluster bombs, jammers, drop tanks, buddy refuelling pod carried on up to nine external hardpoints.







Role: Interdiction, strike, reconnaissance, air defence fighter

Builder: Panavia (BAe, DASA, Alenia)

Variants: IDS, ECR, ADV

Operators: United Kingdom (RAF), Germany (Luftwaffe and Marine Flieger), Italy, Saudi Aradia