Tornado

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I just wanted to share that I recently finished the Tornado Special put out by Key, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I read it cover to cover, and while a fair amount of the information I knew, there was also a good bit that I did not. All in all I found it to be a worthy purchase, and it further increased my interest in the Tornado. In my opinion it's a fine warplane, and a great example of what a consortium is capable of when things are done the right way though I don't doubt they had issues at various times during development.

Anyways, just wanted to share those thoughts.

Great work Key!

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Profile picture for user Y-20 Bacon

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my favorite were the west german era ones

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pH5xyRzQZHI/Tom5T6FoNiI/AAAAAAAALnc/T5bi3zL4itg/s1600/tornado-ecr-upper-heyford-1991.jpg
https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8339/8190904433_f90c8edaa4_b.jpg

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I used to have a large 1:32 scale Marineflieger IDS, and it was one of my favorite models. Unfortunately in the last move, it took somewhat of a beating and is no longer in good shape.

Currently I've got an RAF 1:48 scale F.3 alongside (oddly enough) and Luftwaffe F-4F (pre-ICE brown & green scheme) both on top of the bookcase in my office at home.

I would agree some of the older paint schemes, especially German examples were nice to look at. I wasn't too thrilled with the modern grey look at first, but it's grown on me, and I now find the Tornados still in service all to be quite nice looking. They are an older jet that has been updated to look modern both in form and function.

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Lots of juicy reading about MRCA politicking if you dig into the Flight archives online for the early 1970s.

It's a pity, from the standpoint of variety, that the single-seater variants were dropped. Which also reduced the German requirement from an almost-insane 600+ to the low 400s and then the eventual total of 357. But having dropped the fighters, the design still had to accommodate Mach 2 and 50,000 ft for the British interceptor requirement. Should really have dropped that and re-optimised purely for a strike / attack.

Also a pity the IDS didn't start life with the ADV-length fuselage and tankage, would have given it a useful range rather than being confined to operating interdiction from West Germany. Such a stretch was offered as the IDS-hybrid for the JASDF competition that was won by the F-2.

It would be interesting to travel back in time and hand NAMMA and Panavia requirements derived from the current Tornado GR.4 ( barely transonic, massive fuel tanks, long IFR-supported missions, no fighty-fighter nonsense ) and see what emerged... possibly some sort of super-Buccaneer.

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At the time we did point out to the aircrew that the Buccaneer was faster than the Tonka when carrying the same bomb-load (4x 1,000lb).
I do believe they were looking into stretching the IDS to F2/3 dimensions plus a few extra's for more capability and higher speed (there was talk of 1,000 mph at sea-level).
I know the IDS had the intakes locked in the beginning, this also restricted it's low-level speed.

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The Super Buccaneer project did exist on the paper. You might want to search your local library.

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since we're discussing things..
I was always wondering how good the ADV variant was and how useful it was.
the UK had considered the F-14 for air defense needs but opted to build an interceptor out of the IDS.
Back then people here were like "no, but the ADV did its job".

and perhaps it did, but was it the best choice?

wikipedia seems to have been updated by some one and the information was
- During Balkans operations, suffered from maintainability and servicability issues
- Saudis were not happy with the ADVs and converted their ADV orders to IDS. F-15s promptly replaced the ADV in the air defense role

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The thinking at the time was a longer CAP for bombers. Air combat with fighters was at the time very low priority, and proved to be less successful.
The F14 and 15 a/c are far more agile. The Typhoon was developed to compensate for that.

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since we're discussing things..
I was always wondering how good the ADV variant was and how useful it was.

When the F.2 entered service with 229 OCU, it was far from satisfactory, the radar, or complete lack thereof (most had ballast in the nose) being the biggest problem. The F.2 was soon replaced by the improved F.3 but, the radar still wasn't sorted and it wasn't until they were due to be deployed to the Gulf for GW1 that an UOR was issued to bring it up to standard. People often criticize it as a fighter but it was never intended for that role, it was supposed to be a long range/long loiter BVR missile platform, a role which by the time it was retired in 2011, and for some time before that, it had become one of the very best platforms available. The (now sorted) Foxhunter radar, ASRAAM, AIM-120, TRD, Link-16/JTIDS made it a very capable interceptor, it was also blindingly fast at low level!. It also had a brief spell as a SEAD platform with 11 Sqn as the EF.3, a role at which it was reportedly more capable than some of the more dedicated jets! Unfortunately FJ fleet rivalry within the RAF and funding ultimately killed off the EF.3 after only about a year. Like I said, it eventually matured into a very capable interceptor, and it could've done so much sooner if it wasn't for the time honoured tradition of the MOD holding back much needed funding and upgrades, even when it received the ASRAAM and AIM-120, they didn't have the full capabilities of the missiles available (no mid course updates for the AIM-120 for instance!) due to a refusal to spend the money needed for full integration...

-Dazza

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Oh so common for aircraft to be judged against criteria they were never designed for. That behavior is pretty common on this forum, which I why I rarely take part in the vast majority of the discussions on here comparing aircraft A against aircraft B. It's just a bunch of people acting like they know far more than they do...

Anyways, I found the EF.3 project to be most interesting. The special didn't go into too much detail other than to say the project was dropped after a fairly short time due to the lack of a requirement at some point. I seem to remember reading about F-15s getting some type of similar idea during the 90s that was then dropped.

The GR.4 was it stands now (and the IDS upgrades in other countries) would seem to have the aircraft at a new level of capability that is matched by few types out there when it comes to what it was designed to do (i.e. not a multi-role aircraft but rather a purpose-built interdiction & strike aircraft).

I'd be curious to know how difficult GR.4s are to intercept when they are in their natural enviornment (i.e. low & fast).

One question I've got seems to be more difficult to answer than one would think, and it involves the self defense missile pylons. Is the maximum number of weapons four or just the two that are seemingly always fitted. The ADV was capable of carrying four weapons, but given its intended mission that makes sense. What about the IDS though? Two or four?

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Standard QRA fit for the F.3 was four AIM-9 or ASRAAM, the GR.1/4 only (usually) carried two, although the inner wing pylons are essentially the same on the ADV/IDS so physically at least, four should be possible, whether or not the pylons are wired for carriage of four is another matter though...

-Dazza

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That makes sense. I can't imagine why they would feel the need for four anyways. I guess after seeing photos of the 9xALARM layout, I began to assume that four AAMs would be possible.

The need though likely isn't there.

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Probably has to do with need. It's an extra bit to carry, not a pound of it for the ground.

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The Foxhunter radar was designed to track 6 targets if I remember correctly, was that so Dazza?

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Oh so common for aircraft to be judged against criteria they were never designed for. ?

no need to be elitist, if you bothered reading, the question was never about aircraft being compared to each other but being able to do the same job, but better. duh.

basic wikipedia for you

Tornado ADV:

The Tornado ADV had its origins in an RAF requirement (Air Staff Requirement 395 or ASR.395), which called for a long-range interceptor to replace the Lightning F6 and Phantom FGR2.[1] The requirement for a modern interceptor was driven by the threat posed by the large Soviet long-range bomber fleet, in particular the supersonic Tupolev Tu-22M.[2]

F-14:
Beginning in the late 1950s, the U.S. Navy sought a long-range, high-endurance interceptor to defend its carrier battle groups against long-range anti-ship missiles launched from the jet bombers and submarines of the Soviet Union. The U.S. Navy needed a Fleet Air Defense (FAD) aircraft with a more powerful radar, and longer range missiles than the F-4 Phantom II to intercept both enemy bombers and missiles

Designs and approaches were more or less similar.

Profile picture for user PhantomII

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Y-20, I'm not being elitist. I'm simply stating a fact. I've been on this forum for a very long time now, and I constantly see debates (if you wish to call them that.....normally they devolve into arguments and shouting matches) comparing one aircraft to another and much of the information presented is either inaccurate or flat out made-up to suit someone's personal tastes. When I was much younger, I'm fairly certain I was guilty of that because I was ignorant to the more accurate information that is available (or not available as is often the case). As I result, I try not to make uninformed statements of things I'm unsure about.

You brought up a question that is likely impossible to be answered in a truly accurate manner. I read and understood your post, and my point is that that sort of discussion wasn't the intent of this particular thread. If you wish to have that discussion that's fine. I'll simply create a new thread in an attempt to keep that type of speculation away from this subject.

I don't mean this to be rude, but there is a reason I'm selective about what and where I post these days...people (including myself) often don't know just how much they don't know. If my job has taught me anything about aviation, it is just that.

Anyways, back to the subject at hand...MadRat, I'd agree with you. Why bring the weight when it doesn't contribute to the mission? That being said, I'd like to know what basic defensive tactics are taught to GR.4 crews, and also how much confidence is placed in the on-board (including the outboard wing pylons) mounted defensive equipment. I can't imagine a GR.4 is an easy target in its element, but I have no way of knowing for sure. I can tell you this.......it's a loud beast. :)

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The Tornados are loud. I remember a lot of civilians living close to the airfields getting grants for double glazing when the Tonkas were introduced (Honington, Marham etc).
I know of one defensive tactic the aircrew used to have when they were WE177 capable, an eye-patch....

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The Foxhunter radar was designed to track 6 targets if I remember correctly, was that so Dazza?

I have read that while in TWS mode, it could handle up to 20 seperate targets, those of most interest being prioritized. Of course this may have been only what the final version of AI-24 (Stage 2*?) was capable of, not the initial mod standards...

-Dazza

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I do remember when we had the no fly zones over Iraq, the F-3 was the best patrol aircraft of the bunch.
Even the "Yanks" confirmed that.
As for low level, one US General said just the best & most comfortable ride.
The aircraft might not have been as sexy, as many other jets.
But it had it where it counted.
And the GR-4 is still today, although 40 years old an amazing airframe.
http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii120/Duggy009/a%20and%20a%20two/Voyager%20currently%20deployed%20to%20903%20Expeditionary%20Air%20Wing%20903%20EAW%20at%20RAF%20Akrotiri%20in%20Cyprus-operations-1.jpg
Taken from a Voyager the last couple of weeks

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I always thought Tornado ADV was worthy of protecting vast tracks of glacial wasteland. Canada and Iceland would have been good places for it. Maybe even Australia. But then again F-14 or F-15 would have been even better. :)