Panavia Tornado

It's interesting watching this "discussion" the Tonka could be dismissed as an export failure, however it was built by 3 nations and then purchased by a 4th. The f-15E 5 operators F-15C 4.

The ADV version was not designed to be a f-15/16 but a loitering interceptor, again Flown by the RAF, borrowed by the Italians and purchased by the RSAF. We're not comparing like for like.

The US is still making and selling the F-15, Europe has moved on to Typhoon and now looking at the next generation, while the F22 was never made in enough numbers.

The Tonka was adored by Ground and aircrew, served frontline for a large part of it's career and earned it's retirement.

Quite rightly not everyone on the forum will agree about which aircraft was great etc. But for the UK and the RAF the Tonka is a stand out aircraft.
 
No.

Read my reply again, and what I was replying to.
It was another poster that tried to categorise different platforms success into tiers.
The examples in those different tiers didn't actually compare very well when looked at objectively.

The Tornado was a successful collaborative programme for European industry in 3 of the important European nations.
It was, in my opinion, a very important programme wrt local aerospace industries, and was very successful within the closed confines of that.
IIRC, about 900 were built, which is indeed very successful.

Its sole export success outside those confines, though, was a controversial deal, mired in allegations, paid for in barrels of oil, to a nation renowned for making weapons acquisitions for political goals and influence.
I personally think the Tornado is a fine design, within the narrow confines to which it was designed, and the design choices made.
I've never thought, however, that it would enjoy the longevity in production and service of other platforms designed a few years either side of it.
And so it was.
Strictly speaking, the Tornado was an industrial success but utterly dispensable in terms of actual capabilities and a total waste of European taxpayer money, especially the British ADV. Within the Cold War context, the Dassault Mirage 2000N with the ASMP was a vastly more capable nuclear strike platform, with vastly lower developments costs and a far shorter timescale. Similarly, Operation Granby demonstrated that the Buccaneer was a far more useful platform in terms of range. With the same avionics as the IDS, the Buccaneer wouldn’t have lacked any capability besides a supersonic dash capability, which was of dubious value.
 
Strictly speaking, the Tornado was an industrial success but utterly dispensable in terms of actual capabilities and a total waste of European taxpayer money, especially the British ADV. Within the Cold War context, the Dassault Mirage 2000N with the ASMP was a vastly more capable nuclear strike platform, with vastly lower developments costs and a far shorter timescale. Similarly, Operation Granby demonstrated that the Buccaneer was a far more useful platform in terms of range. With the same avionics as the IDS, the Buccaneer wouldn’t have lacked any capability besides a supersonic dash capability, which was of dubious value.

Have a read of Ian black's comments in the Haynes manual, he was an ADV driver, again he explains how useful the jet was, in its designed role.

Can the 2000N fly at 200 in any weather hands off? and how often has it been used in the nuclear strike role?

The Buccaneer was only used to lase for the Tonka's as it carried the Pave spike pod, TIALD was a prototype at the time.
 
Regarding the Tornado ADV I think a variant of the F-14 or F-15 bought from the US probably could have done the job better, but I understand the strong industrial considerations that were in favor of turning the Tornado into the aircraft to do the job. The F-14 or F-15 option would also quickly become quite expensive once you start integrating new systems into them.
 
Regarding the Tornado ADV I think a variant of the F-14 or F-15 bought from the US probably could have done the job better, but I understand the strong industrial considerations that were in favor of turning the Tornado into the aircraft to do the job. The F-14 or F-15 option would also quickly become quite expensive once you start integrating new systems into them.
We'd of done a f-4, New engines, home made radar and systems, double the cost probably no more effective.
 
I would have like to see an all variable geometry Air Force of these, F-111s, F-14s and B-1s given to Australia.
 
We'd of done a f-4, New engines, home made radar and systems, double the cost probably no more effective.
Very likely but if F-14s were the choice at least the new engines would probably be an improvement over the troubled TF30s.
 
Strictly speaking, the Tornado was an industrial success but utterly dispensable in terms of actual capabilities and a total waste of European taxpayer money, especially the British ADV. Within the Cold War context, the Dassault Mirage 2000N with the ASMP was a vastly more capable nuclear strike platform, with vastly lower developments costs and a far shorter timescale. Similarly, Operation Granby demonstrated that the Buccaneer was a far more useful platform in terms of range. With the same avionics as the IDS, the Buccaneer wouldn’t have lacked any capability besides a supersonic dash capability, which was of dubious value.
You'll not find me disagreeing wrt the Buccaneer vs Tornado.
 
a total waste of European taxpayer money, especially the British ADV.
So what should we have bought? Tomcat was the usual suggestion given the mission requirement to hack down Backfires north of the GIUK gap, but was it affordable? (Including in national capability terms).

the Dassault Mirage 2000N with the ASMP was a vastly more capable nuclear strike platform

That's an interestingly selective comparator. Not Mirage 2000D in the conventional strike role, but Mirage 2000N+ASMP in the nuclear role. If that's your chosen comparison, then we should probably look at Tornado + whatever would have been chosen for SR(A).1244 from ASLP, SRAM-T and TASM-UK before we decided the UK nuclear deterrent should be SSBNs alone (with ASLP probably favoured given it had the backing of Thatcher and Mitterand). That the French went ahead and chose a standoff weapon for Mirage 2000N doesn't make Tornado worse than Mirage 2000N/D in general, simply less well supported in one particular role that the government had taken a strategic decision to abandon. So which would be better: Tornado + ASLP or Mirage 2000N + ASLP? Or would effectiveness come down largely to the weapon?

Operation Granby demonstrated that the Buccaneer was a far more useful platform in terms of range. With the same avionics as the IDS, the Buccaneer wouldn’t have lacked any capability besides a supersonic dash capability, which was of dubious value.

Horses for courses, the Buccaneer was built for carrier-based strike and stumbled into the land-based role via being rejected as a Canberra replacement, then was acquired anyway, Tornado was designed specifically for the land-war in Europe. Tornado's job was interdiction of Russian and Pact airfields, logistics and reinforcements. It's Hi-Lo-Hi combat radius from Laarbruch gets it to anywhere in not just East Germany, but Hungary, (then) Czechoslovakia, Poland, Kaliningrad and as far into the Soviet Union as Lvov, parts of Belarus and Riga. Which is what the job required. Add Storm Shadow and it could have reached out and touched Odessa, Kiev, Minsk and Leningrad as well (keeping the period appropriate names). WRT avionics fit the simple fact is the Bucc didn't have the same avionics as the Tornado, it was a generation earlier, and you can't discount that, nor can we discount the fatigue issues that led to the fleet being grounded for new wing spars in 1980, after which the remaining 60 pretty much gave up on low-level penetration.

(Incidentally, Tornado's combat radius at 850 miles (1370km) Hi-Lo-Hi is only a little short of that originally specified for Buccaneer at 800NM (1500km) Hi only)
 
Meh, it did what it was designed to do lob pointy things that go KABOOM and killed people - job done.
Nobody looked at Tornado and laughed at it.

To the US MIC I (mis)quote Willie 'Too Big' Hall - "At least we got a change of clothes, sucker. You're wearing the same shit you had on fifty years ago."
 
Strictly speaking, the Tornado was an industrial success but utterly dispensable in terms of actual capabilities and a total waste of European taxpayer money, especially the British ADV. Within the Cold War context, the Dassault Mirage 2000N with the ASMP was a vastly more capable nuclear strike platform, with vastly lower developments costs and a far shorter timescale. Similarly, Operation Granby demonstrated that the Buccaneer was a far more useful platform in terms of range. With the same avionics as the IDS, the Buccaneer wouldn’t have lacked any capability besides a supersonic dash capability, which was of dubious value.
No JP233 for Bucc. Of course if we kept Buc and didnt buy Tornado, no JP233 in the form we know.
 
ADV was fine for the UK task. Who else in Europe had anything similar that could have taken on that task?

GR1/GR4 were intended to continue the deterrent, and serve through the cold war, not their fault the wall came down and they spent their entire life in the dessert, where perhaps something bigger, more 'bomb truck' may have been 'better'.

You go to war with what you have.....
 
This is degenerating into another 'top trumps' thread, JP.233 in podded form (SH.357) was tested for use by Buccaneer in both bomb bay and underwing pylons

The Tornado was also mooted with stand off missile capability with types such as ASMP. and Airhawk being proposed
 

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The ASMP would have made a good replacement for the WE-177 nuclear bomb and could have been a perfect replacement for the Vulcan and Blue Steel missile, and it would have meant that the RAF would never have lost the nuclear role.
 
Strictly speaking, the Tornado was an industrial success but utterly dispensable in terms of actual capabilities and a total waste of European taxpayer money, especially the British ADV. Within the Cold War context, the Dassault Mirage 2000N with the ASMP was a vastly more capable nuclear strike platform, with vastly lower developments costs and a far shorter timescale. Similarly, Operation Granby demonstrated that the Buccaneer was a far more useful platform in terms of range. With the same avionics as the IDS, the Buccaneer wouldn’t have lacked any capability besides a supersonic dash capability, which was of dubious value.
Tornado and Mirage 2000N have a large time gap between them, with the Tornado was being put in service in 1979 and 2000N 10 years later, in 1988. And let's not forget the Mirage was being fitted with AN52 before ASMP was ready, plus that the first 30 2000N are wired for nuclear weaponry only, while the Tornados are dual role from the start.
 
This is degenerating into another 'top trumps' thread, JP.233 in podded form (SH.357) was tested for use by Buccaneer in both bomb bay and underwing pylons

The Tornado was also mooted with stand off missile capability with types such as ASMP. and Airhawk being proposed

Interesting . . . in my 'AB.123' list, HERE :- , I have the podded JP.223 version as SG.357.
Which is correct ?

cheers,
Robin.
 
Regarding the Tornado ADV I think a variant of the F-14 or F-15 bought from the US probably could have done the job better, but I understand the strong industrial considerations that were in favor of turning the Tornado into the aircraft to do the job. The F-14 or F-15 option would also quickly become quite expensive once you start integrating new systems into them.
The Tornado ADV was a bespoke machine and its choice for ASR.395 rested on the radar (any F-15K would have to be a two-seater) and tankers (putative F-15K and F-14K would need more tanker capacity than the ADV) add all that to the cost of the Phoenix and you can see why the MoD opted for the ADV.

This is all explained in Battle Flight, but it appears that nobody reads my stuff before they post.

Chris
 
Interesting . . . in my 'AB.123' list, HERE :- , I have the podded JP.223 version as SG.357.
Which is correct ?

cheers,
Robin.
SG.357 - it's one of the submunitions, the one for catering. JP.233 is the whole shooting match.

Chris
 
The Tornado ADV was a bespoke machine and its choice for ASR.395 rested on the radar (any F-15K would have to be a two-seater) and tankers (putative F-15K and F-14K would need more tanker capacity than the ADV) add all that to the cost of the Phoenix and you can see why the MoD opted for the ADV.

This is all explained in Battle Flight, but it appears that nobody reads my stuff before they post.

Chris
I never said I disagreed with the decision. My meaning was more that when solely considering capability and not other factors the F-14 or F-15 would be superior. But as you said once you add the cost of incorporating UK avionics and other changes those options would very likely be cost-prohibitive. As far as UK components go I don't begrudge the efforts of other countries to ensure they have strong industrial base.

I'll admit it was incorrect of me to say they could do the job better when it doesn't seem they could have been afforded to do said job. Maybe the same sunken treasure galleons or hidden Nazi gold funding other hypothetical UK scenarios in the alternative history section could afford those F-14s or F-15s.
 
How did the Tornado compare with the F-15 with CFTs in terms of range?

Might be worth comparing the 2 types as an earlier two-seater strike Eagle with CFTs would seem pretty compelling (on paper at least).
 
SG.357 - it's one of the submunitions, the one for catering. JP.233 is the whole shooting match.

Chris

Thanks for that . . . a catering sub-munition sounds good, airfield denial AND NAAFI up !

cheers,
Robin.
 
How did the Tornado compare with the F-15 with CFTs in terms of range?

Might be worth comparing the 2 types as an earlier two-seater strike Eagle with CFTs would seem pretty compelling (on paper at least).
UK wanted a dedicated interceptor, not a strike fighter, but the F-15Y (complete with two seats and CFTs, and a whole host of other additions) proposed for Aerospace Defense Command's Improved Manned Interceptor program would probably have met much of the RAF's requirements.
 
UK wanted a dedicated interceptor, not a strike fighter, but the F-15Y (complete with two seats and CFTs, and a whole host of other additions) proposed for Aerospace Defense Command's Improved Manned Interceptor program would probably have met much of the RAF's requirements.

I meant F-15 as a replacement for both the IDS and ADV variants… either as a single multi-mission aircraft or as 2 specialized variants similar to Tornado.
 
I meant F-15 as a replacement for both the IDS and ADV variants… either as a single multi-mission aircraft or as 2 specialized variants similar to Tornado.
Problem is that Tornado IDS predates the F-15E by a number of years, to the point that it was proposed for the same program. The timings are awkward and don't match up, with Tornado IDS essentially on the cusp of being delivered when F-15E is being developed, and F-15Y dies a couple of years before the RAF sets out requirements for Tornado ADV
 
Problem is that Tornado IDS predates the F-15E by a number of years, to the point that it was proposed for the same program. The timings are awkward and don't match up, with Tornado IDS essentially on the cusp of being delivered when F-15E is being developed, and F-15Y dies a couple of years before the RAF sets out requirements for Tornado ADV

I get it but that isn’t due to any technical impossibility is it, just a matter of timing/requirements?

So if the future MRCA countries had asked McDonnell Douglas for 2 F-15B sub-variants, one with IDS like avionics, and the other with ADV like avionics (and both with CFTs) would that have produced a more capable aircraft?
 
The ASMP would have made a good replacement for the WE-177 nuclear bomb and could have been a perfect replacement for the Vulcan and Blue Steel missile, and it would have meant that the RAF would never have lost the nuclear role.
By the time we were seriously looking at a stand-off nuclear capability for Tornado, the French were looking at ASLP (which isn't an ASMP-ER, it's a much longer* ranged, ramjet powered missile), and we teamed on that c1990, having rejected ASMP in 1988.** Then along comes the fall of the Soviet Union and we decide we can do with just Trident for the UK's nuclear deterrent, with the Tactical Air to Surface Missile (SRAM-T, SLAT or ASLP) cancelled in October 1993.

* France wanted 1000km, the UK 600km, vs the 300km of ASMP

** I'm not clear on why ASMP was rejected in 1988, unless the range requirement was already in place and ASMP didn't make the grade on those grounds.

(Apparently I forgot to press send on this on Saturday, might as well send it now, the dates are useful)
 
I get it but that isn’t due to any technical impossibility is it, just a matter of timing/requirements?

So if the future MRCA countries had asked McDonnell Douglas for 2 F-15B sub-variants, one with IDS like avionics, and the other with ADV like avionics (and both with CFTs) would that have produced a more capable aircraft?
Why would the aerospace industries of Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands (the original MRCA partners) pay McDonnell Douglas for a rebuilt F-15 when they could develop a perfectly good response to the requirements using their own aerospace industries and spending the money at home? The UK in particular would have had to fund the entirety of the ADV-equivalent development process as the other partners weren't interested, and with British Aerospace fully capable of the job there is no way paying the US would be politically viable.

At the start of MRCA design, the F-15 was a vapourware project, with no indication it would be successful (and that was still doubtful for a few years after it was in service, it had a fearsome reputation as a hangar queen during the early/mid 80s), and TFX was aimed at producing a pure air superiority fighter, not a low-level penetrator or a long-range bomber interceptor. The F-14 was running about a year ahead of F-15, so has arguably a better claim for attention, especially as VFX had started as VFAX and air to ground was theoretically a requirement, as opposed to the F-15's 'not a pound for air to ground'.

I don't see any reason for the Tornado partners to focus on F-15, or really even F-14, the really obvious potential platforms if looking at the US to do the work would be the F-111 and the A-6.
 
@DWG I was perhaps assuming some amount of hindsight but just looking at the paper characteristics of the F-15 with CFTs, circa 1974, it seems to me that it should have been a compelling option… a big platform with 2 excellent engines and a high fuel fraction, unencumbered by the 1960s variable sweep wing.

Obviously the F-15A per se wasn’t configured for the MRCA role(s) and industrially it was likely a non-starter but if the debate in this thread is whether Tornado was « the best for the job », my question was how did it compare to other theoretical alternatives? (With the F-15 IMHO being the platform with the most potential at time, if configured appropriately for the Tornado role)
 
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but just looking at the paper characteristics of the F-15 with CFTs, circa 1974, it seems to me that it should have been a compelling option…
How? By 1974 Tornado is flying, it's development is a sunk cost.

What many people tend to forget is that 'best for the job' in a military development programme is not just 'will this do the job on the battlefield'. It's also the preservation of national capabilities, or their acquisition, political, both internal and external, and economic. These are all fundamental aspects of 'best for the job', and arguing for just spending the money on a platform that would never be politically acceptable on any of those grounds isn't a realistic assessment.
 
By the time we were seriously looking at a stand-off nuclear capability for Tornado, the French were looking at ASLP (which isn't an ASMP-ER, it's a much longer* ranged, ramjet powered missile), and we teamed on that c1990, having rejected ASMP in 1988.** Then along comes the fall of the Soviet Union and we decide we can do with just Trident for the UK's nuclear deterrent, with the Tactical Air to Surface Missile (SRAM-T, SLAT or ASLP) cancelled in October 1993.

* France wanted 1000km, the UK 600km, vs the 300km of ASMP

** I'm not clear on why ASMP was rejected in 1988, unless the range requirement was already in place and ASMP didn't make the grade on those grounds.

(Apparently I forgot to press send on this on Saturday, might as well send it now, the dates are useful)
Range is definitely an issue. It would be safe to assume all major Continental Europe airbases would be destroyed within first 30 minutes, and even Mirage IV with ASMP required in-flight refuelling within Soviet airspace before reaching the range to launch ASMP to Moscow...
 
The issue of the morality of the Arms Trade has been for political debate since, I think, Maxim machine guns being sold to both sides in US Civil War. Nations evolve laws and practice, acceptable to their voters, to balance morality v. jobs.

Sir M.Quinlan might have been wanton with words, subtle, nuance...when are local expenses...bribes? But then, as now, pragmatism tempers idealism. Many of us, some Guardian readers, want to move another tranche of Typhoons to KSA, and to interest KSA in its successor. And many of us would wish to influence what they then do with kit we have built: that influence is zero on kit we have not built.
 
I've seen evidence in FCO files of that, unwilling to sell to country X but acknowledging that a firm order would enable them to recalibrate their advice...
 
I don't see any reason for the Tornado partners to focus on F-15, or really even F-14, the really obvious potential platforms if looking at the US to do the work would be the F-111 and the A-6.
RAF are focusing on F111 at this point. MOD & Treasury fly to States, come back with the deal of the century.....

On A-6.......
 

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