Tornado GR.1 walkaround

Panavia's Tornado gave the RAF a formidable strike capability for decades, although the road to the type was a long and convoluted one. the need to replace the Canberra fleet with a faster type optimized for low level work was recognized from early on, and the GOR.339 requirement for such an aircraft resulted in the TSR.2 - a type that was right on the cutting edge - indeed, in some ways it probably would have been even more capable than the later Tornado - but politics killed the program, with an order being placed for the US-supplied F-111K instead. However, a procurement of an RAF "Aardvark" was also to be cancelled, as was the UK-French AFVG project. The RAF instead had to settle for the Buccaneer as an interim measure, but the service still needed something more potent.

 Ultimately, the UK opted to join the Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) program, a multinational effort to replace a whole host of NATO types. The first British MRCA prototype flew in late October 1974, with production GR.1 Tornados entering service from 1979.

GR.1 ZA374 was taken out of service in 2002, and was later taken for the US for display at the National Museum of the US Air Force at Dayton, Ohio, wearing Gulf War I camo and the Miss Behavin' nose art. The ZD374 serial carried is a relic of the war, as the "Tonka" was accidently given that incorrect identity during the rushed repainting into "Desert Pink".

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Tornado GR1 at NMUSAF Dayton detail


Tornado GR1 intake detail photo

Tornado GR1 tail detail photo