Panavia Tornado, MRCA, 100, and 300

Started by nev, July 08, 2004, 12:12:05 PM

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Potential operators of the Tornado included Japan, Cananda & Australia.  There was even a Wild Weasel version proposed to the USAF - they signed an agreement with Northrop over it (I intend to build this one day)
Between almost-true and completely-crazy, there is a rainbow of nice shades - Tophe

Sales of Airfix kits plummeted in the 1980s, and GCSEs had to be made easier as a result - James May


The facets and redesigned intakes reduced frontal RCS (radar cross-section) quite dramatically.

I'm going through "Panavia Tornado" by Bill Gunston, there are some other interesting ideas.
Paul Martell-Mead / Overscan
"What if?" addict


Initial studies were by BAC (UK)  and MBB (Germany), with Italy along but not involved in design. They were joined by Netherlands, Belgium and Canada by May 1968. UKVG became ACA (Advanced Combat Aircraft) then MRA-75 (MultiRole Aircraft for 1975).

Britain's abandonment of "East-of-Suez" requirements allowed the UK requirements to better fit the European nations.

July 1968 the 6 nations signed an MOU. BAC, MBB and Canadair all submitted VG, twin engine, single fin designs.

Belgium left, then Canada (major armed forces reconstruction).

Apparently the March 1969 Baseline design was extremely similar to the Tornado IDS. Differences from Baseline to final design were:

-Minor change to wing shape
-main landing gear brackets stiffened
-a couple of feet longer, to accommodate dual controls
-small modifications to the rear to optimise flow
-small kink in tailplane leading edge for stores clearance reasons.

Initially single seat and two seat versions were planned (models 100 and 200). As the 200's two seat front fuselage was heavier, its wing sweep was reduced by a few degrees compared to the single seat model to balance the aircraft. It wasn't until 1974 that the single seat version was dropped.

A fixed wing variant was also designed, but it was larger and heavier.

The British constantly pressured for more internal fuel. A layout where the two engines were widely spaced like on the F-14 was studied, which gave more room for fuel. In 1970 fuel tanks were added to the wings, and the UK IDS even had a fuel tank in the vertical tail.

The RAF wanted a three tier avionics system by Eliott and Ferranti, with an I band radar for ground mapping and terrain following in flight, and a higher resolution J band radar during target approach. The last tier was a laser ranger.

For cost reasons, and political reasons, an American radar was sought. The Germans favoured a futuristic phased array radar set designed by Autonetics. In the end, TI was favoured with a low cost development of the F-111's avionics.

There were several options on the engine. While the RB199 was always the main contender, Pratt and Whitney offered advanced TF30 derivatives, also JTF22 (evolved into F100, 22,000lbs thrust) and JTF16 (basically the same design scaled down to 16,000lbs thrust). US security concerns around the JTF22 (part of the F-15 program) hampered their efforts, and none of the designs really fit the requirements.

General Electric offered the GE1/10 (presumably related to the YJ101 which became the F-18's F404), which was offered formally and a design based on it was produced. The RB199 was preferred in the end.

So, going back to the Texas Air Force scenario, there are various points where Texas could enter the program, and given their emphasis on longer range capability, might have given more leverage to the RAF's demands for more fuel. Maybe the RAF retained the East-Of-Suez requirements, and the twin seat Tornado separated the engines to make more space for fuel.

Perhaps the Continental nations would have gone for the single seat model, with Texas and the UK building a bigger, longer range twin seat version.

If Canada hadn't left the program, they would probably have also been on the twin seat/long range track.

I've not got any info on the Canadair design. Anyone???
Paul Martell-Mead / Overscan
"What if?" addict


anyone know what the little blip is in front of the windscreen on the tornado 2000? IRST. ball? centerline or offset to stb.?

am sitting here with an old airfix tornado in front of me considering the best way to do this one...lots of fun methinks..ah the joys of modelling

unfortunately iv never seen any drawings published of the Canadair preliminary concept design which fed into the original MRCA. programme (nor any ga's of the original Panavia 100/200 Panther)

one image i do have somewhere is a USAF 'wild weasel' tornado, not sure where at the mo, but when i find it ill scan it in! (i think it appeared in an old Air International too?

happy modelling, cheers, joe
... 'i reject your reality and substitute my own !'

IPMS.UK. 'Project Cancelled' Special Interest Group Co-co'ordinator (see also our Project Cancelled FB.group page)
IPMS.UK. 'TSR-2 SIG.' IPMS.UK. 'What-if SIG.' (TSR.2 Research Group, Finnoscandia & WW.2.5 FB. groups)


I agree - there's lots of fertile ground here. Why not a super-stretched, reengined version a la the advanced FB-111 proposals?

My take on a USN "Flanker" stand in of NSAWC - I managed to mess that splinter job up well enough...

aviation & military titles on CD


QuotePotential operators of the Tornado included Japan, Cananda & Australia.  There was even a Wild Weasel version proposed to the USAF - they signed an agreement with Northrop over it (I intend to build this one day)
As I remember, there were proposals for both a Wild Weasel and an EF-111 repalcement.  I can see those as EF-24A & EF-24B respectively with the fuselages stretched with the same plugs used to stretch the F.2/F.3 fuselages.  The EF-111 replacement used the same AN/ALQ-99 fit that's going on the F/A-18G "Growler".

Some interesting possibilities there.
"Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it."
--Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin


one image i do have somewhere is a USAF 'wild weasel' tornado, not sure where at the mo, but when i find it ill scan it in! (i think it appeared in an old Air International too?
Theres a photo of a concept model (complete with WW tail codes) in World Air Power journal volume thirty-something.

If you go and read the back story to my F-15K on the main page, you'll see I wrote in a reciprocal US buy of the Tornado WW to replace their EF-111s & F-4Gs in return for the RAF buying the F-15 :)
Between almost-true and completely-crazy, there is a rainbow of nice shades - Tophe

Sales of Airfix kits plummeted in the 1980s, and GCSEs had to be made easier as a result - James May

Matt Wiser

The Tornado Wild Weasel was a joint Panavia/Rockwell International venture, as I recall. Rockwell would have built the aircraft at the B-1 factory here in CA (it's near Palmdale) under license. The WAPJ Tornado article even had a display model in USAF markings with the WW tailcode of the 35th TFW. Service entry was supposed to be in 1995. There was to be a flyoff between the Tornado, F-15G (Wild Weasel F-15E), and F-16G (Wild Weasel -16D with the Israeli avionics spine for all the EW gear). Tornado was also a competor in the DRF (Dual Role Fighter) competition won by the F-15E over the F-16XL and Tornado. No US designator (F- or A-) number was assigned to the aircraft. The guns would have been replaced by the APR-47 emitter locator in the F-4G, with HARM as the main weapon. Navy never took a serious look at the aircraft. (they were happy with the A-6 at the time, and when A-6F was axed, the A-12 was coming, and it got canned as well)
The beast is too heavy for carrier ops, anyway, just like the F-111B was.
Treat everyone you meet with kindness and respect; but always have a plan to kill them.

Old USMC adage


But the thing with the Tomcat is that in the time frame we are looking at (late 70s/early 80s) it still had all those problems with its sucky engines.

Of course the other thing with the Tornado is that there never was developed a true MRCA.  It was either an ADV or an IDS and the twain never met.  Of course, if Canada had stayed with the programme, they could have had a variant with a decent multi-mode radar like the APG-65...

And I agree that the baseline F-18A was a far superior all around aircraft vs the baseline F-16A which was little more than a clear weather dogfighter and could come nowhere close to the BVR & all weather precision attack capability of the F-18A.  Although the F-16 has grown exponentially in terms of capability, it was the wrong choice at the time IMO by Holland/Denmark/Norway/Belgium when it was expected to perform in the poor weather conditions of Northern Europe .

Between almost-true and completely-crazy, there is a rainbow of nice shades - Tophe

Sales of Airfix kits plummeted in the 1980s, and GCSEs had to be made easier as a result - James May


Well, it looks like I've stumbled across the right place to get some additional info for this idea...back sometime in the mid 80's (??) the idea of a Tornado equipped for the Wild Weasel mission was being kicked around for the USAF, specifically for the USAFE, IIRC. A pretty good idea, I thought, at least from a logistical perspective.

I have a sketch of it from an 80's copy of Aviation & Marine and I believe it might've been covered in WAPJ (need to look through the archives...).

Does anyone know of any sites which may provide some additional info? I've done the Google thing and have come up a bit short.


Spends too much time researching rather than building...


If memory serves me correctly, there was some talk about licensing the build to Rockwell International and that both ECM (EA-6B t ype) and "hunter" (Wild Weasel) variatns were discussed.  There was an article in AWST, but that was years ago, though The Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature in your local libary might be able to help there if you care to dig through several volumes.
"Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it."
--Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin


The Wild Weasel Tornado exists, in that the GR4 can carry the ALARM anti-radar missile (up to nine, I think) to perform defence supression as part of a strike package.  The RAF site for the F3 also says

In the months before the 2003 Gulf War, a small number of Tornado F3s underwent a modification programme to allow them to operate as 'wild weasel' anti-radar aircraft. The modifications permitted the carriage of a pair of ALARM anti-radar missiles to be carried in place of the Skyflash or AMRAAM missiles, but the modified aircraft were not deployed during the conflict.

- perhaps because the GR4 was cleared for ALARM in time?

ALARM climbs after firing, pops a parachute and listens for hostile emitters.  When it senses one, it fires the rocket motor again for the kill.  So it can be launched by aircraft transiting at low level, with the rest of the strike.  


I built a USAFE Tornado WW many years ago.  (I christened it the EA-22 Tornado).  The idea came from a small mention of it in "Tornado in Action".  There was a proposed side elevation of the modification with a Prowler-style fintop antenna.  I painted it in Euro-one colors based at SP.

I've never seen any other reference to it, but IIRC it was a Rockwell/Texas Instruments proposal.  

Currently the GR4 carries ALARM in the SEAD role and a number of Leeming-based F3s were converted unoficially to EF3s prior to Dubya's Crusade.  I think I read that funding ran out and they are not currently tasked with SEAD and modifications are on hold.  

There is interest in completing the program though since the F3 supposedly has the best radar warning system in service currently (even better than dedicated WW aircraft).  This would also give the F3 a second role, possibly allowing it to remain in service beyont the Typhoon taking over air defence.

Given the severe lack of SEAD assets in Kosovo it seems a good idea to give the FAR a squadron of Tornado EF3s somewhere down the line.
So I got that going for me...which is nice....


From what i read last week an upgrade is in progress to update most F-3's for both AMRAAM AIM 120C and adding the SEAD equipment. GR-1's used ALARM in the Gulf War I and GR-4's had them for Dulf War II. The Alarms now being able to be carried on an outer daugter pylon opposite the traditional SideWinder role.

The EF-3 became a Wild Weasel in that its Air Defence rarar warning recievers were found to be very sensitive and somebody had the bright idea to intergrate the hardwar and software to process this data and target an offensive weapon against it.

Just trying to find my WAPJ wuith the Tornado article as later Tornados seemed to used the F-3 airframe rather than the GR-1 style as the extra fuel and space for equipment gave a better platform for a next generation tornado strike aircraft.


Geoff B B)  


QuoteThe USAF first evaluated the Tornado as a potential competitor in its Enhanced Tactical Fighter competition. There were suggestions that a USAF buy of the Tornado for use in that role might have led to an RAF buy of two-seat F-15s by the RAF for use in the air defence role, and to cancellation of the Tornado ADV. This competition was subsequently shelved, however, and when it was finally revived (as the Dual Role Fighter) it was won by the F-15E Eagle.

Following the Tornado's unsuccessful participation in the USAF's Enhanced Tactical Fighter programme, another Tornado derivative was optimistically proposed to meet the USAF's Follow-On Wild Weasel requirement, tracked by Panavia from 1986. This envisaged the development of an existing, in-production, two-seat aircraft capable of incorporating new technology and a high degree of automation to reduce crew workload. Low cost of ownership was held to be a key requisite. The requirement was for 150 SEAD aircraft, and was important enough to prompt Panavia to sign an agreement with Rockwell North American Aircraft. Although
all partner companies were involved, MBB took the lead, not least because of the experience it had built up integrating HARM on the Luftwaffe's Tornado ECR. The agreement, signed on 16 December 1988, made the US company an agent for the modified Tornado, and appointed the North American division as integrator of the AN/ALQ-99 emitter locator system.

Rockwell would also be responsible for final assembly of the aircraft at its Palmdale plant. The aircraft proposed incorporated advanced emitter location systems and a HARM targeting system, differing from German and Italian Tornado ECRs in having all-round coverage for its integrated RHAWS and jammers. A contract award was expected in 1990, with service entry prior to 2000. Tornado was in a strong position, not least because the most important unit to be re-equipped was the 52nd TFW at Spangdahlem in Germany, where interoperability with German Tornados could have offered useful advantages. Other competitors  included F-15 and F-16 derivatives, and ATF and ATA versions.

In the end, the USAF's RFP was not issued, and the USAF's dedicated F-4G Wild Weasels were not directly replaced. Instead, they have been supplanted by HARM-equipped F-16s which lack a full emitter locator system.

From WAPJ.

Paul Martell-Mead / Overscan
"What if?" addict