Panavia Tornado in Combat
Background and History from Wikipedia
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 defenses Tornado ECR (electronic combat/reconnaissance) and the Tornado ADV (air defense 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 14 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 The Bosnian War, Kosovo War, Iraq War, in Libya during the 2011 Libyan civil war, as well as smaller roles in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria. Including all variants, 990 aircraft were built.
In this section the authors provide the history of the Tornado's development. Several images of prototype aircraft from the three countries involved in the aircraft development and manufacturers. Images from the various component factory assembly lines are included as well as an interesting picture of a Vulcan bomber with the RB 199 engine fitted in a ventral location on the bomber. This section includes a striking image of an RAF IDS with ALARM antiradiation missiles in a climb. Noteworthy is the staining of the underside of the aft fuselage section.
The Tornado IDS
- The Airframe - This is a very detailed description of the Tornado's airframe components and identifies some of the manufacturers involved in the various components. Several images of prototype and production aircraft are included.
- The Powerplant - The powerplants used are detailed here, along with description of components and features. The Tornado exhaust is equipped with thrust reversers which can be activated in less than one second. Fasten your seat belt!
- The Avionics - The authors provide information on the combat systems included with the avionics. The Tornado is beginning to look like a complicated and capable warplane.
- The Radars - The Ground Mapping Radar and Terrain Following Radar are detailed.
- The Navigation System - The navigation systems allowed the Tornado to attack identified targets at high speeds and low altitudes day or night.
- Weapons Delivery - The weapons aiming and delivery systems were designed to integrate with the navigation systems. The system allowed the navigator to program up to three different attack packages.
- Self - Defense Systems - Three main subsystems were provided for the Tornado's self - defense: radar warning receivers, chaff and flare decoys, and electronic counter measures.
- Armament - All NATO high - explosive and cluster bombs were compatible with the Tornado, and were carried on a fuselage rack, while the wing pylons were dedicated to fuel tanks and self - defense missiles.
The above is just a brief synopsis of the more detailed text in the book. Worthwhile reading.
Tornado at War
- Middle East - The Tornado's use in Desert Shield and Desert Storm is addressed in this section. Modifications and upgrades based on combat experience is covered. This is a comprehensive narrative for this combat theater.
- The Balkans - The use of Tornados flown by the RAF, the Luftwaffe and the Italian Air Force are addressed. This was the first combat operation for the Luftwaffe since World War II.
- Afghanistan - Although combat operation began in 2001 Luftwaffe Tornados were first involved in 2007, with RAF and Italian services not involved until 2008.
- Libya - RAF Tornados were the first to be employed in the operation "Odyssey Dawn" campaign. The RAF Tornados flew from their home base in Marham and were refueled in flight by VC.10 tankers.
- Operations Against the Islamic Republic - RAF Tornados were stationed on Cyprus in their efforts to attack Islamic State targets. Italian Tornados were also involved later and operated from bases in Kuwait. RAF Tornados also participated in attacks on a Syrian chemical weapons facility.
- The End of the Tonka - RAF Tornados first entered service in 1979 and were retired after 40 years of service, being replaced by Typhoons and F - 35's.
- Several pages of color profiles as well as plan and profile line drawings are included here.
Tornado SEAD & ECR
- The Tornado ECR - The ECR is a Tornado variant operated by Germany and Italy devoted to the suppression of enemy air defenses.
- Luftwaffe Tornados Return from Counter IS Mission - Luftwaffe Tornados returned to their home base in Germany after competing 2,467 missions and 7,500 flying hours of reconnaissance missions against the Islamic State.
My first reaction upon opening this book and scanning the contents was "WOW". The pages are filled with full color images of Tornados with plenty of up close views that provide the modeler with great details and weathering effects that will provide valuable information when building any one of the Tornado kits currently available.
Additionally, the book includes a pullout 11" by 7 3/4" full color picture of the cover art that is really nice and suitable for framing.
My thanks to Casemate Publications and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this publication. Highly recommended.