The Panavia Tornado

is a twin-engine, variable-sweep wing combat aircraft. It was jointly developed and manufactured by the United Kingdom, West Germany and Italy.

There are three primary variants of the Tornado; 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.



First flight



Primary users


Number built

Multirole fighter

Panavia Aircraft GmbH

August 1974



Royal Air Force

German Air Force

Italian Air Force

Royal Saudi Air Force



The Tornado was built by Panavia Aircraft GmbH, a tri-national consortium consisting of British Aerospace, MBB of West Germany, and Aeritalia of Italy.

It first flew in August 1974 and was introduced into active service in 1979. Due to its multirole nature, it was build to replace several different fleets of aircraft in the adopting air forces.

The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) became the first (and only) operator of the Tornado outside Europe in addition to the three original partner nations

The Tornado was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), Italian Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force during the 1991 Gulf War. It proved its ability to conduct many low-altitude penetrating strike missions.

The Tornado was also used in other conflicts like in former Yugoslavia (German Luftwaffe & RAF) during the Bosnian War and Kosovo War, Operation Desert Storm in the Iraq War, Libya during the Libyan civil war, and in Afghanistan and Yemen.

A total of 992 aircraft were built.

The level of wing sweep, the angle of the wings in relation to the fuselage, can be altered in flight at the pilot's control.

The variable wing can adopt any sweep angle between 25 degrees and 67 degrees, with a corresponding speed range for each angle; some Tornado ADVs were outfitted with an automatic wing-sweep system to reduce pilot workload.







Wing span:

Empty weight:

Max. takeoff weight:


Dry thrust:

Thrust with afterburner:

each 76.8 kN (17,270 


16.72 m (54 ft 10 i)

13.91 m at 25° wing sweep, 8.60 m at 67° wing sweep (45.6 ft / 28.2 ft

5.95 m (19.5 ft)

26.6 m² (286 ft²)

13,890 kg (31,620 l)

28,000 kg (61,700 l)

2 × Turbo-Union RB199-34R Mk 103 afterburning turbofans.

43.8 kN (9,850 lbf) each

76.8 kN (17,270 lbf) each