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Tornado IDS Panavia
Tornado IDS
Attack Bomber

The Tornado Interdictor Strike (IDS) was an international project designed by the three members of Panavia--the UK's British Aerospace, Germany's MBB, and Italy's Aeritalia. Though its design is over 30 years old, the Tornado IDS is still quite effective in its multi-role strike mission. The Tornado can carry a wider range of weaponry than any other aircraft ever built and can fly at the fastest combat speed at sea level of any aircraft in history. The Tornado is also noteworthy for having the highest payload weight to empty weight ratio of any combat plane other than the F-16.

In addition to its exceptional performance, the Tornado is well-suited to low-level high-speed bombing missions thanks to its advanced nav/attack system. At the heart of this system is a powerful radar that can operate in search, ground-mapping, and terrain-following modes. These features allowed British, Italian, and Saudi Tornados to engage in many low-level anti-runway bombing sorties early in the 1991 war against Iraq. However, the aircraft was found to be extremely vulnerable to anti-aircraft guns as well as Iraqi fighters during these low-altitude missions. Later in the war, the Tornado switched to medium-level attacks using laser-guided bombs.

So successful was the Tornado IDS that nearly 1,000 examples were built, including 402 for the UK, 359 for Germany, 99 for Italy, and 96 for Saudi Arabia. About 744 of this total remained in service by 2004. A further development is the Tornado ADV variant.

Data below for Tornado GR.1
Last modified 06 April 2011

First Flight 14 August 1974
Service Entry July 1980


two: pilot, weapons officer



Wing Root unknown
Wing Tip unknown

Length 54.88 ft (16.72 m)
Wingspan unswept: 45.63 ft (13.91 m)
swept: 28.21 ft (8.60 m)
Height 19.52 ft (5.95 m)
Wing Area unknown
Canard Area

not applicable

Empty 31,065 lb (14,090 kg)
Normal Takeoff 45,000 lb (20,410 kg)
Max Takeoff 60,000 lb (27,215 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: 14,000 lb (6,350 kg)
external: unknown
Max Payload

19,840 lb (9,000 kg)

Powerplant two Turbo-Union RB199-34R afterburning turbofans
Thrust 33,600 lb (149.5 kN) with afterburner

Max Level Speed at altitude: 1,450 mph (2,335 km/h) at 36,090 ft (11,000 m), Mach 2.2
at sea level: 915 mph (1,470 km/h), Mach 1.2
Initial Climb Rate unknown
Service Ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m)
Range typical: 1,500 nm (2,780 km)
ferry: 2,105 nm (3,895 km)
g-Limits unknown

Gun two 27-mm IWKA-Mauser BK-27 cannons (180 rds ea)
Stations seven to nine external hardpoints
Air-to-Air Missile AIM-9 Sidewinder
Air-to-Surface Missile Wasp, Kormoran, AS.30, Alarm ARM, Sea Eagle, AGM-65 Maverick
Bomb nuclear bombs, 500 kg and Paveway Mk 13/18 LGB, GBU-15, 1,000 lb free-fall, BL.755 cluster bombs
Other Container Weapon System, MW-1 lateral dispenser, JP.233 dispenser, ECM pods, reconnaissance pods, laser pods, Napalm dispenser, rocket pods

GR.1 Baseline standard ground attack model
T.2 Trainer
GR.1A Improved GR.1 with a multi-sensor reconnaissance suite
GR.4 Latest British upgrade to improve the nav/attack system, weapons carriage capability, and stealth characteristics; 142 converted

KNOWN COMBAT RECORD: Iraq - Operation Desert Storm (Italy, Saudi Arabia, UK, 1991)
Iraq - Operation Southern Watch (UK, 1991-2003)
Bosnia - Operation Deliberate Force (Germany, Italy, UK, 1995)
Iraq - Operation Desert Fox (UK, 1998)
Kosovo - Operation Allied Force (Italy, 1999)
Afghanistan - Operation Enduring Freedom (UK, Germany, 2001-present)
Iraq - Operation Telic (UK, 2003-?)
Yemen - Houthi rebel airstrikes (Saudi Arabia, 2009)
Libya - Operation Unified Protector / Ellamy (Italy, UK, 2011)

KNOWN OPERATORS: Germany, Deutsche Luftwaffe (German Air Force)
Germany, Deutsche Marineflieger (German Naval Air Arm)
Italy, Aeronautica Militare Italiana (Italian Air Force)
Saudi Arabia, Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Malakiya as Sa'udiya (Royal Saudi Air Force)
United Kingdom (Royal Air Force)



  • Bishop, Chris, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Military Weapons: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Weapon Systems from 1945 to the Present Day. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1999, p. 242, 266.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 721-722, Panavia Tornado.
  • Donald, David and Lake, Jon, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 2000, p. 342-345, 347, Panavia Tornado IDS, Panavia Tornado ECR and GR.Mk 1A.
  • Gunston, Bill, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1995, p. 223, 225, Panavia Tornado IDS, Panavia Tornado ECR.
  • Gunston, Bill and Spick, Mike. Modern Air Combat: The Aircraft, Tactics and Weapons Employed in Aerial Combat Today. NY: Crescent Books, 1983, p. 142-145.
  • Isby, David C. Jane's Fighter Combat in the Jet Age. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1997, p. 176.
  • Munro, Bob and Chant, Christopher. Jane's Combat Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995, p. 190-193.
  • Paul Nann's Military Aviation Photo Gallery
  • Taylor, Michael. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1996/1997. London: Brassey's, 1996, p. 165-167, Panavia Tornado Interdictor Strike (IDS) and Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance (ECR).
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000. London: Brassey's, 1999, p. 140-142, Panavia Tornado Interdictor Strike (IDS) and Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance (ECR).

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