--Facta non verba--
"Deeds not words"
U.K. Panavia Tornado GR.1
Designed and built as a collaborative project in the UK, Germany and Italy, the Tornado is in service with all three air forces and the German Navy. Tornado is also in service in Saudi Arabia and Oman. It is a twin-seat, twin-engined, variable geometry aircraft and is supersonic at all altitudes. The design authority for the Tornado is Panavia, the tri-national consortium which comprises British Aerospace, DASA of Germany and the Italian firm Alenia.
The wings of the the aircraft are high-mounted, variable, swept-back, and tapered with angular, blunt tips. There are two turbofan engines inside the body. The air intakes are diagonal and box-like alongside the fuselage forward of the wing roots. There are twin exhausts. The fuselage is solid and has a needle nose. The body thickens midsection and tapers to the tail section. There is a bubble cockpit. The tail is tall, swept-back, and has a tapered fin with a curved tip and a step in the leading edge. The flats are large, mid-mounted on the body, swept-back, and tapered with blunt tips.
The Tornado GR1 strike/attack aircraft is capable of carrying a wide range of conventional stores, including the JP233 anti-airfield weapon, the ALARM anti-radar missile, and laser-guided bombs, as well as the WE-177 nuclear variable-yield free-fall bomb, first introduced into service in 1966. The last WE-177 was withdrawn from service in 1998. The reconnaissance version, designated the GR1A, retains the full operational capability of the GR1. The GR1B, equipped with Sea Eagle air-to-surface missiles, undertakes the anti-surface shipping role. For self-defence, the Tornado carries Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and is fitted with twin internal 27mm cannons.
The GR1 originated from a UK Staff Requirement in 1969, calling for a medium-range, low-level, counter-air strike aircraft, with the further capabilities of interdiction and reconnaissance. The Tornado first saw action during the Gulf conflict of 1991, when several were lost as a result of daring ultra-low-level missions to close Iraqi airfields. The proliferation of anti-aircraft defences in Iraq, Bosnia and elsewhere that the UK might be called on to operate has meant that the standard GR1 is in danger of not being able to fulfil the covert deep penetration operations that it was designed for. Furthermore the advance of air-delivered weapons has meant that strike aircraft need to become ever more sophisticated, especially given the fears of ‘collateral damage’ or accidentally hitting civilian targets.
The Tornado F3 air defence fighter has an 80% commonality with the Tornado GR1 strike/attack aircraft. The Tornado F3 is optimised for long-range interception, for which it carries four Skyflash radar-guided missiles and four AIM 9-L Sidewinder infra-red homing air-to-air missiles, plus an internally-mounted 27mm Mauser cannon. Tornado F3s are being equipped with the new Joint Tactical Information Distribution System. Operating in conjunction with E-3D Sentry airborne early warning aircraft and other allied fighters, the system gives an unprecedented picture of the air battle, including information obtained by other sensors in other fighters or AEW aircraft. The crew can thus select its own target and move to within 'kill' distance without using the fighter's own search radar with its position-revealing signature until the very last moment.
The Tornado GR1A is a world leader in the field of all-weather, day and night tactical reconnaissance. The GR1A has no cannons mounted in the forward fuselage. Replacing these are a Sideways Looking Infra-Red system and a Linescan infra-red surveillance system.
Originally intended for use in Central Europe, interdicting Warsaw Pact armoured columns and operating in the counter-air role against enemy airfields, the GR1 is now facing a more challenging future, with improved air defences to face and more difficult targets to engage. The GR1 Mid-Life Update (MLU) is intended to enhance the capabilities of many of the GR1 fleet, allowing a wider range of missions in all weathers and permitting the use of the advanced, so-called ‘smart’ munitions now available. The new version will be known as the Tornado GR4.
A mid-life update program was completed by the end of 1998 which, as well as enhancing survivability and operational effectiveness, to give the aircraft the capability to carry advanced weapons such as the anti-armor weapon 'Brimstone' and the stand-off attack missile 'Storm Shadow'. The updated aircraft is designated Tornado GR4. The last of the updates is scheduled for early 2003. The MLU will allow the RAF’s Tornados to serve well into the next century until they are eventually replaced by the Future Offensive Air System (FOAS). The airframe’s life is to be extended as a result of more advanced technology and this will avoid the necessity of expensive refits or the acquisition of new aircraft.
Both offensive and defensive capabilities will be enhanced on the GR4, including a new Forward-Looking Infra Red (FLIR) system and Night Vision Goggles (NVG), laser designation facilities to allow the precision bombing that characterised the recent Gulf conflicts, plus a Defensive Aids sub-system to protect the aircraft from Surface to Air Missiles and radar-directed anti-aircraft guns. New avionics improve navigation and flight performance, including the installation of a Global Positioning System. In addition to the existing range of weaponry, such as laser-guided bombs and anti-radar missiles, the GR4 will be able to operate new and development equipment such as the Storm Shadow stand-off attack missile.
The GR4s will all be capable of using the Sea Eagle anti-shipping missile, whereas only the relatively small numbers of Tornado GR1Bs are presently fitted for maritime strike. The actual payload, speed, altitude and other performance characteristics of the GR4 will remain much the same as for the GR1. What will change, however, is the overall capability of the aircraft. The ability - literally - to see in the dark when using FLIR and NVG will permit GR4s to fly at terrain-following height, in close formation, without navigation lights or radar emissions. In effect the GR4 is a more stealthy aircraft, enhancing its chances of covert deep penetration and surviving the mission. It is now an all-weather strike aircraft, an important factor in Europe.
The program to upgrade 142 Tornado interdictor strike aircraft from GR1 to GR4 standard is proceeding to schedule. The aircraft system enhancements developed ensure that the aircraft can seek out and attack its targets more effectively, taking advantage of the new 'smart' weapons that will progressively become available, and make it less vulnerable to counter-attack.
The overall cost of the Tornado MLU is currently estimated to be £850 million. The first delivery was achieved on time on 31 October 1997 and the aircraft formally entered service on 30 September 1998 with the first Tornado GR4 squadrons started forming that same year. As of February 1999, 26 GR4s had been delivered to the RAF, from a total number of 142 planned updates. Thirty-two of this number will be training variants, capable of the range of missions that the standard GR4s carry out, but fitted with dual flight controls. Some 26 GR4s will be designated GR4A, being dedicated reconnaissance aircraft equipped with sophisticated equipment built into the airframe. Since only the RAF currently intends operating GR4, the actual MLU work is undertaken within the UK. The RAF at St Athan in Wales carries out preliminary work and then the main conversion is undertaken at BAe Warton in Lancashire.
Tornado GR4 aircraft gained a superior Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designator (TIALD) capability to that of GR1s by July 2000. While there had been problems with the integration of TIALD with the new systems of the GR4, a modification program designed by BAE Systems, GEC and DERA to rectify the problem wase implemented in three stages:
- Stage 1 giving limited medium level TIALD capability - by end of March 2000.
- Stage 2 offering full medium level TIALD capability (better than that of the GR1) - by 1 July 2000
- Stage 3 providing full low and medium level operational clearance - by mid February 2001, but it was hoped to bring this forward to the end of 2000.
There are currently some 45 GR4 and GR4As in RAF service and by the end of Stage 2 of the modification program in mid 2000, there were about 60 aircraft with this figure rising to 80 by the end of the year. Tornado GR4s were also deployed on operational detachments for the first time later in 2000. The lack of full TIALD integration on the GR4 had no effect on the RAF's operational capability. In Kosovo, even if TIALD integration had been complete, the GR4 would not have been used because their were insufficient aircraft and trained crews to meet the task.
Only half of the 200 German Tornados scheduled for modernisation will now be re-equipped. The procurement of the Eurofighter, much to the relief of Germany’s partners, will stay at 180. Planned German defense cuts run deeper than those announced in December 2002. Various drafts were in circulation in the defense planning establishment, suggesting the scrapping of the German navy’s 50 Tornado fighter-bombers.
Tornado GR4 Specifications
|Armament|| Two internal 27-mm Mauser cannon with 180 rounds per gun plus more than 9000 kg of external stores on seven |
hardpoints, including Sidewinder
Texas Instruments HARM
Hughes AGM-65 Maverick
British Aerospace ALARM
Laser guided bombs like Paveway
Bombs up to 450 kg
MW-1 munitions dispenser
Nuclear freefall bombs
|Power plant|| 2 x Turbo-Union RB199-34R turbofans |
Thrust: 38,7 kN (8700 lbs) dry and 66 kN (14480 lbs) with afterburner
|Dimensions|| Length: 16,72 m |
Height: 5,95 m
Span: 13,91 m fully forward, 8,60 m fully swept
Wing area: 26,6 sqm
|Weights|| Empty weight: approx. 13890 kg |
Max. external load: over 9000 kg
Max. fuel: 4660 kg (5100 kg in RAF and Saudi AF aircraft)
Max. take-off weigth: approx. 28000 kg
|Performance|| Max. speed : 1,452mph (2,336km/h) at 36,000ft (11,000m) |
Max. speed : Mach 2.2 at altitude
Max. speed with external stores: Mach 0.92 (1110 km/h)
Rate of climb: Time to 30000 ft (9150 m) less than 2 min
Take-off field length: 900 m or less
Landing run: 370 m
Ferry range: approx. 3900 km
Radius of action: 1390 km (750 NM) with heavy load, hi-lo-lo-hi
g-limit (g-Limit): + 7,5
|Customers||The IDS (interdictor-strike) version of Tornado is in service with the Royal Air Force, Luftwaffe, German Navy, Italian Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force.|
In front of the rising sun, an eagle, wings elevated and perched on a sword.
- approved by King George VI in June 1937-
The rising sun is intended to commemorate the unit's long association with the East.
The eagle is perched on 'Talwar' indicative of the Squadron's work with the Army in India.
1915 - Formed at Netheravon.
1917 - Sergeant T Mottershead was posthumously awarded the VC.
Current Aircraft and Location:
Current Aircraft: Harrier
Current Location: RAF Wittering
Western Front 1916-1918, Somme 1916*, Arras*, Ypres 1917*, Somme 1918*, Lys, Hindenburg Line, Mahsud 1919-1920, Waziristan 1919-1925, Mohmand 1927, North West Frontier 1930-1931, Mohmand 1933, North West Frontier 1935-1939, North Burma 1943-1944, Arakan 1943-1944, Manipur 1944*, Burma 1944-1945*, Gulf 1991.
(Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)
The History of XX(R) Squadron:
Formed at Netheravon on 1 September 1915 from No. 7 Reserve Squadron, the unit deployed to France in January 1916 with FE2Bs in the fighter-reconnaissance role. The Squadron devised the 'flying circle' where patrolling pilots flew a continuous orbit in formation while their gunners fires outwards, covering each other.
A year later, Sergeant T Mottershead was posthumously awarded the VC for saving the life of his observer, Lt WE Gower after their stricken aircraft had crash-landed and caught fire. Lt Gower managed to escape the burning wreck and with assistance dragged his pilot from the wreckage. However, Sgt Mottershead died four days later from his burns, and he became the only RFC NCO to be awarded the Victoria Cross during World War I.
In 1917, the Bristol Fighter arrived, and with the Squadron constantly refining their tactics, 56 German aircraft were accounted for in April 1918 alone. In May 1919, the Squadron left the continent for India and assumed army co-operation tasks along the North-West Frontier. The trusty 'Brisfits' were finally replaced in 1932 by Wapitis, and then Audaxes three years later. Lysanders replaced these in late 1941, and these were joined by Hurricane 'tank busters' in mid-1942.
In July 1947, No. 20 Squadron was disbanded whilst in India, reforming briefly as a target squadron during 1949-51. The Squadron was reformed at Jever in Germany in July 1952 with Vampire fighter-bombers, these lasting barely a year before Sabres arrived for interceptor duties before these aircraft were themselves replaced by Hunters. The Squadron was disbanded at the end of 1960. No. 20 Squadron reformed in July of the following year at Tengah in Singapore, again with Hunters, but in the ground attack role. The Squadron spent six months during 1962 in Thailand as a counter to communist incursions from Laos, but disbanded again during 1970 following the withdrawal of RAF units from the Far East.
By December, No. 20 Squadron had reformed at Wildenrath with Harriers, but these were replaced during 1977 with Jaguars. During 1984, Tornado GR1s arrived and these remained until under 'Options for Change' the unit disbanded in May 1992. Later that year, the Squadron numberplate was assigned to the Harrier OCU at Wittering.