The RAF’s Tornado GR1 and later GR4 fleet has been on near continual frontline service since 1990. Dino Carrara and Martin Needham chart the bomber’s upgrades and operations over its RAF career.
When entering frontline service in 1982, the Tornado GR1 found itself in an challenging position. The shock cancellation of the TSR-2 17 years earlier had left a considerable capability gap in the roles of ground attack and reconnaissance. Proving itself more than up to the task, the Tornado has since replaced or taken on missions previously fulfilled by such types as the Avro Vulcan, English Electric Canberra, Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer and SEPECAT Jaguar.