The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing multirole combat aircraft, jointly developed and manufactured by Italy, the United Kingdom, and West Germany. There are three primary Tornado variants: the Tornado IDS (interdictor/strike) fighter-bomber, the suppression of enemy air defences Tornado ECR (electronic combat/reconnaissance) and the Tornado ADV (air defence variant) interceptor aircraft.
The Tornado was developed and built by Panavia Aircraft GmbH, a tri-national consortium consisting of British Aerospace (previously British Aircraft Corporation), MBB of West Germany, and Aeritalia of Italy. It first flew on 14th August 1974 and was introduced into service in 1979–1980. Due to its multirole design, it was able to replace several different fleets of aircraft in the adopting air forces. The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) became the only export operator of the Tornado in addition to the three original partner nations. A tri-nation training and evaluation unit operating from RAF Cottesmore, the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment, maintained a level of international co-operation beyond the production stage.
The Tornado was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), Italian Air Force, and RSAF during the Gulf War of 1991, in which the Tornado conducted many low-altitude penetrating strike missions. The Tornados of various services were also used in conflicts in the former Yugoslavia during the Bosnian War and Kosovo War, the Iraq War, Libya during the Libyan civil war, as well as smaller roles in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria. Including all variants, 992 aircraft were built.
In 1984, the UK Ministry of Defence began studies for a GR1 Mid-Life Update (MLU). The update to GR4 standard, approved in 1994, would improve capability in the medium-altitude role based on lessons learned from the GR1’s performance in the 1991 Gulf War. British Aerospace (later BAE Systems) upgraded 142 Tornado GR1s to GR4 standard, beginning in 1996 and finished in 2003. 59 RAF aircraft are receiving the CUSP avionics package which integrates the Paveway IV bomb and installs a new secure communications module from Cassidian in Phase A, followed by the Tactical Information Exchange (TIE) datalink from General Dynamicsin Phase B.
Corgi Aviation Archive Tornados available from Flying Tigers!
The two latest Corgi Aviation Archive Tornado Special Model Releases are due to be delivered to Flying Tigers in the next few days. If you have already pr-ordered your models they will be with you shortly.
Flying Tigers has been able to secure a few extra models, and as these two models are limited, they are set to sell out very quickly as soon as they have arrived.
Every retailer has been limited to how many they will get from Corgi as they may have not made sufficient for the large anticipated demand.
If you haven’t yet ordered your models, then please order ASAP to avoid missing out ! Please click on the images / links below to go straight to the model page to order now.
The GR.4 ZG752 was provided with a striking wrap around retro camouflage scheme, similar to the markings applied to the first RAF GR.1 Tornado aircraft in 1982. The tail of the aircraft carries the markings ‘Tornado GR 1982-2019’ with the spine proudly displaying all the badges from the RAF squadrons, reserve units and training establishments to operate the Tornado during its service career.
Entering service back in 1980 with the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE) formed by the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany, the last of these fighter-bombers were retired by the RAF in spring of 2019. Three aircraft from IX and 31 Squadrons performed a three-day farewell tour throughout the United Kingdom in February. No IX Squadron was the first combat unit to receive the “Tonka” in 1982. ZG775 sports a special farewell colour scheme on the stabiliser, including the unit’s famous green bat.
Having the distinction of being one of final two RAF squadron’s to operate the Panavia Tornado, No.31 squadron were determined not to allow their long association with this exceptional aircraft go unheralded. During November 2018, Tornado GR.4 ZA548 emerged from the paint shop at RAF Marham wearing a distinctive new disbandment scheme, which marked 35 years of Tornado operations for the squadron and featured the silhouette of a Tornado on the tail of the aircraft, with the unit’s famous ‘Goldstar’ emblem placed on top of it. The black spine of the aircraft also carries the wording ’31 Squadron Tornado 1984-2019′ and marks 35 years of Tornado operation, initially from bases in Germany, right up until the final days at RAF Marham. The gold star, which appears on the squadron’s crest is a representation of the ‘Star of India’ and marks No.31 Squadron’s heritage as the first military unit to fly in India. Tornado ZA548 would go on to undertake a series of high profile national flypasts and official RAF events during the final months of the Tornados service career, helping to give this Cold War warrior the fitting send-off it deserved.
Thankfully, the last two squadrons operating these hard working aircraft were allowed to mark the final few months of RAF Tornado operation in some style, which included presenting no fewer than three of the remaining aircraft in special commemorative schemes and allowing them to undertake a national farewell tour. With three aircraft flying three different routes on three consecutive days, the formation overflew RAF stations and locations associated with the Tornado during its long service career, with many thousands of people lining the route to catch one last look at this aviation classic. Unfortunately, due to aircraft serviceability issues, these flights were not undertaken by all three of the specially presented aircraft at the same time, however, a previously arranged RAF photoshoot featuring the illustrious Tornado trio produced a series of iconic images, which will help to commemorate almost 40 years of exceptional service by this aircraft.
Hobbymaster Latest Model Announcements
Hobbymaster have just announced their latest models and they are now available to pre-order at Flying Tigers today. Many of these models have extremely low worldwide production quantities, so please order early to avoid disappointment.
Don’t forget NO DEPOSIT necessary with Flying Tigers and if you order with your debit or credit card your payment is not taken until your model is available to dispatch.
Flying Tigers will also consolidate your orders to save on postage costs across all brands !
Please click on the image of your choice to go straight to the model page or CLICK HERE to see them all.
That is all for this week.
Thank you for reading this week’s Newsletter.