The History of the Panavia Tornado F3
Panavia Tornado F3
The Panavia Tornado Air Defence Variant (ADV) was a long-range, twin-engine interceptor version of the swing-wing Panavia Tornado. The aircraft's first flight was on 27 October 1979, and it entered service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1986. It was also previously operated by the Italian Air Force (AMI) and the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).
The Tornado ADV was originally designed to intercept Soviet bombers as they were traversing across the North Sea with the aim of preventing a successful air-launched nuclear attack against the United Kingdom. In this capacity, it was equipped with a powerful radar and beyond-visual-range missiles, however initial aircraft produced to the F2 standard lacked radars due to development issues. The follow-up F3 standard was the definitive variant used by the RAF, as well as all Tornado ADV aircraft that were leased by the AMI and procured by the RSAF.
During its service life, the Tornado ADV received several upgrade programmes which enhanced its aerial capabilities and enabled it to perform the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) mission in addition to its interceptor duties. Ultimately, both the RAF and RSAF retired their Tornado ADV fleets; the type has been replaced in both services by the newer, multi-role Eurofighter Typhoon.