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Operation Granby   >   Equipment   >   Tornado

   
 

Tornado


The Panavia Tornado is a twin-engine swing-wing multi-role combat aircraft that was jointly developed by Britain, Germany and Italy, and which is also used by the Royal Saudi Air Force.

Panavia Tornado F3 ADV

During Operation Granby, Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado F3 (air-defence variant) and Tornado GR1 (attack variant) were deployed to the region:
  • 18 Tornado F3s were deployed to Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, however they did not engage any enemy aircraft during the war. The main reason for this was that since the F3s lacked modern IFF and defensive aids, it as decided to fly the aircraft further back from the enemy and allow other fighters to patrol further forward.

  • Just under 60 Tornado GR1s were deployed to Muharran in Bahrain, and Tabuk and Dhahran in Saudi Arabia. These were used in the initial stages of the war to drop unguided ("dumb") bombs and the JP233 runway denial weapon on Iraqi airbases. Later, the GR1s switched to medium-level strike missions using laser-guided bombs. Since the GR1s lacked laser designators, Blackburn Buccaneers equipped with the Pave Spike designator system were flown to the region as an emergency measure, and a crash program was initiated to fit some GR1s with Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designator (TIALD) pods.

    A total of 6 RAF GR1s were shot down during the war, this includes 1 shot down during a JP233 mission (although about 3 minutes after deploying the weapon), 4 shot down at low-level dropping unguided bombs during the initial stages of the war, and 1 lost during a medium-level mission involving laser-guided munitions.
Here is a summary of the Panavia Tornado's (IDS variant) technical specifications:

Crew 2
Wingspan 45 feet 8 inches (13.9 metres) with wings swept 25°
28 feet 3 inches (8.6 metres) with wings swept 67°
Length 54 feet 10 inches (16.7 metres)
Height 19 feet 7 inches (6 metres)
Wing Area 286 ft2 (26.6 m2)
Maximum Take-off Weight 61,700 lb (28,000 kg)
Maximum Speed Mach 2.34 - 1,511 mph (2,418 km/h)
Range 870 miles (760 nautical miles, 1.390 kilometres)
Service Ceiling 50,000 feet (15,240 metres)


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