Panavia Tornado Family

source for photo


  • the Panavia tornado is a Twin-Engine, Variable-sweep wing, multirole combat aircraft, which was jointly developed and manufactured by Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany. It was developed and built by Panavia Aircraft, a tri-country consortium of BAE (UK), MBB (west-germany) and Aeritalia (italy). it first flew on the 14th of august 1974, and entered service in 1979-1980.

  • Due to the wide range of variants and its multirole design, it was able to replace various different fleets of Aircraft with various different countries. The only export customer outside of the three partner nations was Saudi Arabia and their Royal Saudi Air force (RSAF).

  • it was first thought up in the 1960s, by Aeronautical engineers who were interested in using Variable-Geometry wings as they could provide high manoeuvrability, but also the efficient, high cruise speed of swept wings. The United Kingdom needed a replacement for their Avro Vulcan’s and Blackburn Buckaneer strike aircraft as they had cancelled the TSR-2 and F111K projects.

  • on the 26th of march, 1969, four partner nations, the UK, Netherlands, Italy and Germany jointly created the multinational company Panavia to develop and manufacture the MRCA (project name for multi role combat aircraft).

  • the main aim of the Project was to create an aircraft capable of a variety of different missions such as tactical strike, Reconnaissance, Air defence and Maritime therefore allowing it to replace a variety of different aircraft in each different air Forces’ fleet. This helped reduce potential costs, making the project more economically-viable.

prototypes and testing phase

  • the first of more than a dozen prototypes took flight on the 14th of august 1974 at Manching, Germany. The pilot, Paul millet described the plane as “Aircraft handling was delightful… the actual flight went so smoothly that i did begin to wonder if it was just yet another simulation”.

  • minor modifications to the aircraft were made whilst flight testing continued and, as new technologies were continually being implemented such as more sophisticated stability control systems. by the end of the flight testing period, more than 5,000 hours had been flown, making it one of the largest in history.

Armament and Equipment

  • The aircraft is able to carry the Majority of NATOs main air launched missiles, including anti-ship, Anti-radiation, unguided and laser guided bombs, and more specialised weapons such as anti-runway cluster munitions.

  • it is also equipped with onboard countermeasures to improve survivability such as infrared flares and chaff dispensers. Due to the age of the platform, various large upgrades to systems such as avionics and new laser designating systems.


  • the RAF wanted their GR1 tornadoes (strike variant) to be able to perform well in medium altitude operations as well as low level, and so they were extensively re-manufactured in the 1990s including forward looking infrared, wide angle head up display (HUD), a GPS reciever. This upgraded eased the integration of new weapons and systems such as the brimstone anti-tank missile, Storm-Shadow cruise missile and the RAPTOR reconnaissance pod.

RAF service history

  • the Tornado made its combat debut in the gulf war in 1991. Operation Granby meant the deployment of 60 Tornado GR1s to airbases at Muharraq in Bahrain and Tabuk and Dahran in saudi arabia. Over the conflict, 6 Tornadoes were shotdown by iraqi SAM systems, 4 of them being whilst delivering unguided bombs. This showed the need for laser designating abilities and in the latter stages of the war, tornadoes were able to deliver laser guided munitions thanks to the laser designating targeting pods on a detachment of Blackburn Buccaneer aircraft equipped with the Pave spike laser designator. In addition, some Tornadoes were equipped with the TIALD system, leading to what the author Claus Christian-Szejnmann as the most accurate bombing in the history of the RAF.

  • The Tornado later saw service in the Kosovo war from RAF Bruggen in Germany, and later Solenzara air base in Corsica. They also served as part of Operation Southern Watch, operating from air bases in Kuwait patrolling the southern airspace of Iraq. Following the Kosovo War, the final GR1s were phased out and replaced by the upgraded GR4s, which entered operational service in Operation Telic, the British support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, flying alongside american strike aircraft to take out key installations. While in the Kosovo war, only 25% of munitions deployed were laser guided, 3 years later, in the Iraq war, it was up to 85%.

  • on the 23rd of March, 2003, an RAF Tornado GR4 was shotdown in a friendly fire incident by an American Patriot missile system, killing both crewmembers, an investigation later cited that the lack of a Friend or foe identification system, and issues with the patriot system recognising friendly or enemy aircraft were the main factors. Britain withdrew the last of its Tornadoes from Iraq in 2009.

  • Since then, the Tornado has seen service from Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan and Libya, they enforced no-fly zones over Libya, and also took part in strike missions including 3,000 mile ones which were the longest since the Falklands war and the RAF’s infamous “Black Buck” missions which i’m sure many of you have heard of. The tornadoes were also deployed to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in 2014 to fly bombing missions over Syria, and, in 2015 were also flying missions over Iraq.

  • some other notable dates include the 14th april 2018 where four tornadoes launched storm shadow cruise missile attacks on syrian facilities after a suspected chemical weapons attack on Douma, the previous week. In addition, on the 10th of July 2018, 9 tornadoes from RAF Marham took past in the RAF 100 years flypast over london.

  • The last RAF operation mission with the “Tonka” as it was Nicknamed in RAF service, was on the 19th of January 2019, as part of Operation Shader. The Tornado will be retired after an incredibly distinguished career from the RAF on the 31st of March, 2019.
    (i know that the Tornado also had strong careers for the italian air force, german air force, german maritime air arm and saudi air force but i decided to only feature the RAF service history as it was the most distinguished and longest).


  • Crew: 2

  • length: 16.72m (54 ft 10 in)

*empty weight: 13,890kg (30,620lb)

  • loaded weight: 20,240kg (44,620lb)

  • MTOW: 28,000kg (61,700lb)

  • Max speed: mach 2.2 (2,400 km/h, 1,490mp/h) at FL300, 800 knots, 1,482 km/h, 921 mp/h near sea level

  • rate of climb: 76.6 m/s (15,100 ft/min)

  • Range: 1,390km (870mi, 750nm) for typical combat mission, 3,890km (2,417mi,2100nm) ferry range with drop tanks

  • guns: 1x 27mm mauser cannon with 180 rounds on the starboard side of the fuselage (2x for GR1 and IDS variants)

  • hardpoints: 4x light duty and 3x heavy duty on the central fuselage and 4x swivelling underwing pylon stations with a total capacity of 9,000kg (19,700lb), the two inner pylons with shoulder launch trays for two air to air missiles each.

  • potential missile/bomb loads: AIM-9 sidewinder or AIM-132 ASRAAM air to air missiles for self defence. 6x AGM-65 Maverick missile; or 12x Brimstone missile; or 2x Storm Shadow missile; or 9x ALARM anti-radiation missile; or 5x 500lb paveway IV; or 3x 1000lb paveway II; or 2x 2000lb paverway III; or BL755 cluster bombs; or up to 4x B61/WE.177 tactical nuclear weapons; or up to 2x JP-223 or MW-1 munitions dispensers for runway destroying ops; or up to 4x drop tanks for extending range. (the airframe can obviously carry combinations of different munitions in one load but i was unable to find data on what those are

why do i think this would be a brilliant addition to the sim?

  • well, firstly, the pictures i think have shown off aptly that this is a stunning aircraft, and as the specifications show, it has outrageously good performance. In addition, the different roles this aircraft has and can perform creates great flexibility and allows for lots of creativity for recreating or creating different scenarios in the sim.

  • Furthermore, this Airframe has brilliant opportunities for the implementation of new features such as live weapons, realistic munitions loading e.g. the ability to swap and choose different munitions to fly with, the implementation of afterburner effects and more!

  • moreover, the popularity of the A10 release shows there is a definite demand and also enjoyment at the release of military aircraft.

  • Finally, the various different variants of the aircraft and liveries from different air forces and different periods including special RAF liveries commemorating the tornado as it nears retirement provide ample oppurtunity to fly in different periods and for different air forces, and they also look hella nice:)

NB: please let me know how i could improve my feature Requests in the future. Thanks, Zachie:)
my sources for the request:

Hi, although we appreciate you taking your time to make this wonderful Features Request, I’d like to remind you that only 1 feature per request is allowed. In your case, you’d be allowed to only post one aircraft you want and not a whole family of aircraft.

Check below for more info :)

Also, only 1 picture per topic. Take a look through the topic @Captain_JR linked.

Im sure this is one request, the Panavia Tornado,

However he does need to chose only 1 picture

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oh sorry, i saw other posts on families of aircraft such as A350XWB or 777 family rework so i assumed you could

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Well the title suggests otherwise, saying Family. I’d call that some clickbait then…? 🤨


doesn’t look as nice:( but now only 1 pic

  1. Change the Title to which ever variant of the Panavia Tornado you’re requesting. Since the wikipedia page you linked to says: There are three primary [Tornado variants]:

1.1 the Tornado IDS ([interdictor] fighter-bomber.
1.2 the [suppression of enemy air defences] Tornado ECR [electronic combat][reconnaissance].
1.3 the [Tornado ADV] (air defence variant) [interceptor aircraft].

So which of these are you requesting?

  1. Put the Picture on the top, that’s make it look better perhaps.

  1. Try and see if you can shorten down on the history and/or keep the Wiki page, to make the request post look more clean. Those interested may look into the Wikipedia page.

These are just some healthy tips and adivce :)

i know which variants of the tornado there are, and that’s not all of them, also i just don’t get why you can leave as family for an A350 request like this:

Oh, wait, you’re right, let me check up on that.

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Well in that case, I don’t think you did wrong to begin with. You should be allowed to request the whole family then?

You know what, keep the original post copied and saved and I’ll let a mod handle this, as they know better than me. But from the looks of it, a request for the whole family would be okay 🤔

Although this particular request, similar to yours says otherwise, hmm?

cheers thanks for your help mate, will do:)

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But stick to the one picture rule though :)

will do 😂 thanks again

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