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Tornado IDS - GR.1 / GR.4

GR.1A - No.15(R) Sqn, RAF Honington
Seconds from landing at RAF Honington in Suffolk, carrying two under-wing fuel tanks, distinctive 15 Sqn 'XV' badge on the tail next to the ILS aerial.

IDS InterDictor Strike - supersonic, all weather, two-seat, multirole, low-level, night capable, strike bomber, anti-shipping and reconnaissance aircraft - designated GR.1, GR.1A and GR1.B in the RAF

Panavia Aircraft GmbH, a German/Italian/U.K. conglomerate, MBB(15%)/Aeritalia(42.5%)/BAC-BAe(42.5%)

two Turbo-Union RB.199 Mk101/3 augmented turbofans, 15,800lb (7,167kg) thrust with afterburner

  • span : 28'2"-45'7"(8.59-13.90m) (sweep from 68° to 25°)
  • length : 54'9"(16.7m)
  • height : 19'6"(5.95m)
  • wing area : 286.3sqft(26.6m²)


  • empty : 31,065lb(14,091kg)
  • loaded : 45,000lb(20,411kg)
  • maximum loaded : 60,000lb(27,215kg)


  • maximum speed at sea level : 920mph(1,480km/h)
  • at altitude : 1,452mph(2,337km/h)
  • ceiling : 50,000+ft(15,240+m)
  • radius with typical load : 863miles(1,390km)
  • ferry range : 2,420 miles(3,895km)


  • Tornado prototype : 14th August 1974
  • GR.1 production : July 1979


  • GMR (ground-mapping-radar) & TFR (terrain following radar)
  • digital INS (instrument navigation system) plus Doppler & Kalman filtering
  • Autopilot, flight director, autothrottle, track acquisition
  • Cossor CIL 75 auto approach & blind ILS (instrument landing system)
  • Smiths/Teldix/OMI 6/50 Series weapon-aiming computer
  • RWR installation
  • Marconi AD2770 Tacan navigation & homing
  • ARI.23246/1 Sky Shadow modular jammer pod
  • Philips BOZ-107 chaff and flare dispenser


  • two IKWA-Mauser 27mm gun
  • MBB CWS (container weapon system)
  • MBB MW-1 lateral dispenser
  • Hunting JP.233 dispenser
  • Wasp ASM, Wasp pod
  • Kormoran anti-ship missile
  • AIM-9L Sidewinder AAM
  • AIM-9B Sidewinder AAM
  • AGM-65A Maverick ASM
  • AS.30(L) ASM
  • BAe Alarm ainti-radiation missile
  • BAe Sea Eagle anti-ship missile
  • Pave Spike laser pod
  • LGB smart bomb 1,102lb
  • Paveway II Mk13/18 1,000lb bomb
  • Napalm dispenser
  • GBU-15 CWW (cruciform wing weapon)
  • GP 1,000lb bomb
  • Beluga dispenser
  • BL.755 dispenser
  • Lepus flare
  • LR.25 rocket pod

The ground strike version of the basic Tornado (See also Tornado ADV). Used extensively during the Gulf War, initially utilising the JP.233 dispenser at low level to make enemy airfields unusable, and subsequently for medium/high level laser guided bomb strikes against a wide range of enemy ground targets. The GR.1 has very sophisticated avionics, allowing low level runs to target either flown by the pilot using his HUD, or by the terrain following radar. The wings sweep automatically to the most efficient configuration, giving an unparalleled combination of speed, ride comfort and fuel economy. The Tornado has a claim to be the most efficient strike aircraft in the world. The two man crew comprises of a front seat pilot and a rear seat navigator/weapons system officer. The aircraft uses thrust reversal buckets to slow down on landing, large scoops which swivel behind the engine jet pipes to direct thrust forwards. GR.1s also have an arrestor hook for emergency landings. RAF Lossiemouth now operates GR1.Bs, replacing Buccaneers in the maritime role.

UPDATE 1998/9

The Tornado IDS now comes in three flavours, GR.1, GR.1A (tactical reconnaisance) and GR.1B (maritime attack role, using the BAe Sea Eagle missile.)
142 GR.1/GR.1A aircraft are undergoing a mid-life upgrade to GR.4 specification. The improvements include a new GEC-Marconi Electronic Warfare Defense System, Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR), Global Positioning System (GPS), digital map technology, a new HUD and an updated weapons control system including TIALD.

Squadrons using the GR.1 / GR.4 are:

  • No.2 Squadron, RAF Mareham (GR.4/GR.4A)
  • No.9 Squadron, RAF Marham (GR4)
  • No.12 Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth (GR.4)
  • No.13 Squadron, RAF Mareham (GR.4/GR.4A)
  • No.14 Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth (GR.4)
  • No.XV (Reserve) Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth (GR.4)
  • No.31 Squadron, RAF Bruggen (GR.4)
  • No.617 Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth (GR.4)


The final GR.4 (ZA492) was been handed over to the RAF by BAE Systems on June 10th 2003. 142 GR.1 and GR.1As have been upgraded to GR.4 standard. Since, the aircraft has been in combat over Iraq, and was the first to launch a Storm Shadow cruise missile on March 21st. GR4s should be in service till 2018.

GR.1A - ZG712 - No.13 Sqn, RAF Honington
Taxiing out for a live weapons practice from RAF Valley on Anglesey, note the bolt-on flight refuelling probe tucked away below the tandem cockpit.

Forty-seven British servicemen were killed during the Gulf War. According to Avas Flowers, Red Poppies are the traditional flower used to commemorate military deaths. The Avas Flowers website offers a great deal of information about flower symbolism.