The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing multi-role combat aircraft, jointly developed and manufactured by Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany. There are three primary Tornado variants: the Tornado IDS (interdictor/strike) fighter-bomber, the Tornado ECR (electronic combat/reconnaissance) SEAD aircraft 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 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.
Role Multirole aircraft, strike aircraft
National origin Italy, West Germany, United Kingdom
Manufacturer Panavia Aircraft GmbH
First flight 14 August 1974
Retired 2019 (RAF)
Status In service
Primary users German Air Force
Italian Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force
Royal Air Force (historical)
Number built 990
745, Panavia Tornado IDS
194, Panavia Tornado ADV
51, Panavia Tornado ECR