Panavia Tornado

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.

Production History

Role                                    Multirole aircraft, strike aircraft

National origin                  Italy, West Germany, United Kingdom

Manufacturer                    Panavia Aircraft GmbH

First flight                          14 August 1974

Introduction                      1979

Retired                                2019 (RAF)

Status                                  In service

Primary users                   German Air Force

                                            Italian Air Force

                                            Royal Saudi Air Force

                                            Royal Air Force (historical)

Produced                          1979–1998

Number built                    990

                                               745, Panavia Tornado IDS

                                               194, Panavia Tornado ADV

                                                 51, Panavia Tornado ECR