The Panavia Tornado was a joint effort between the UK, West Germany and Italy to produce a
two-seat, dual-engine aircraft with variable-sweep wings. The Tornado took its maiden flight on
August 14, 1974 with the first aircraft being delivered to the German Air Force on July 27, 1979.
There are three main variants of the Tornado, the IDS (interdictor/strike), ECR (electronic
combat/reconnaissance) and ADV (air defense variant) interceptor. By the end of production in
1998 there had been 992 aircraft of all versions built of which 745 were IDS variants.
The British participation in the Gulf War was called “Operation Granby” with No. 15 Squadron
based at Tabuk AB in Saudi Arabia. One No. 15 Tornado GR.1 was ZA447/EA that was painted
a desert pink scheme and flew 40 combat missions making it one of the busiest Tornados. On
one airfield denial mission over Iraq ZA447/EA destroyed what was thought to be a MiG-29 so the
aircraft was given nose art “Mig Eater”. Later it was discovered that it was actually a Mirage F.1.
RAF Tornados flew a total of 2,500 sorties.
General specifications for the Panavia Tornado IDS
Country of origin – Italy, UK, West Germany
Service entry date – 1979
Crew – 2
Length – 17.72 m (58.1 ft)
Wingspan – 13.92 m (45.7 ft) expanded 8.6m swept (28.2 ft)
Height – 5.95m (19.5 ft)
Empty – 13.8 t (30,423 lb)
Maximum take off – 27.9 t (61,508.9 lb)
2 X Turbo-Union RB.199 Mk. 103 turbofans
Producing dry with afterburners 2 X 38.48 / 71.50 kN
Maximum speed – 2,236 km/h (1,389 mph)
Service ceiling – 15.2 km (49,868.77 ft)
Range – 1,390 km (863.7 miles)
Ferry range with drop tanks – 3,900 (2,423.3) – 4,300 km (2,671.9 miles)
Cannon – 2 X 27 mm IWKA-Mauser
Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles
Brimstone anti-tank guided missiles
454 kg free-fall bombs
CPU-123/B Paveway II
GBU-28 Paveway III laser-guided bombs