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Damien Burke's Walkarounds

Tornado IDS/GR.1

The PANAVIA Tornado is the product of cooperation between Britain, Germany and Italy and the IDS (interdictor/strike) variant is the subject of this walkaround. Tornado is also available in ECR (wild weasel) and ADV (air defence) flavours. The IDS version is optimised for ground attack and can carry an impressive variety of weapons, ranging from the (now no longer used) JP.233 runway cratering munition dispenser to Laser Guided Bombs, anti-ship and anti-radar missiles. In RAF service the Tornado IDS and ADV replaced the Vulcan, Canberra (for some roles), Phantom and, eventually, the Buccaneer and Lightning so you can see how much value for money the RAF has had from this particular Euro-deal!

Gaining fame in the Gulf War when high losses in the highest threat environment produced much ill-informed comment about the wisdom of the low-flying tactics that Tornado crews train for, the Tornado has from day one been designed to be good at low level. Underneath the main radar is a smaller terrain-following radar so the aircraft can be flown safely at low altitudes. Defensive countermeasures vary with the user, and a pair of cannon (or a single one on the RAF's reconnaissance version) provide added incentive for ground defenders to get their heads down.

A number of sub-variants of the Tornado are pictured here; a German two-stick 'trainer' IDS (fully mission-capable - just an extra joystick in the back!), British GR.1 (standard bomber variant) and a GR.1A (recon variant). The RAF also flies the GR.1B (anti-ship variant with Sea Eagle ASMs) and soon the GR.4 (a much-modernised version). The variety of colour schemes in use means you should seek other references when modelling a specific aircraft.

We'd like to express our heartfelt thanks to the CRO and groundcrew at the Tri-national Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE, which will disband around the time you read this) at RAF Cottesmore for the excellent access to the Tornados that make up the majority of this walkround.


German IDS; head-on view of the radar. The smaller black dish is the TFR.

Side-on view of the radar. The interior of the radome is a glossy dark brown, slightly translucent.

As you can see the forward coaming, complete with windshield, hinges forward to provide easy access to the cockpit for maintenance.

General view of an RAF GR.1A's port nose. The reddish-brown panel to the rear of the roundel is an infra-red camera window (one each side); the bulge below is also part of the recon fit. Note no cannon on this side.

Similar view of a Luftwaffe IDS, with cannon this time. The small door near the cannon contains a grounding point and it's common to see static Tornados with a ground lead connected here (or on the other side).

Further back along the port side is the liquid oxygen bottle storage.

Levitating magically for a view along the top of the fuselage.

RAF GR.1, looking along the wing leading edge with slats deployed. Noteworthy is the colouring of the wingtip navigation light cover - it's actually red, not clear with a red light within as on some aircraft.

Another RAF GR.1, view under the port wing with slats and flaps deployed. The flaps can only deploy with the wings swept forward. The 'Pac Man' marking indicates a pylon pivot point. TTTE aircraft rarely carry pylons as the TTTE concentrate on training flying and systems use rather than tactics and weapons.

Luftwaffe IDS. Port main gear viewed from the rear. Gear is light aircraft grey, not white as many sources say.

Port main gear door; again, light aircraft grey interior. The angle of this door varies; taxiing aircraft appear to have it at right angles to the fuselage, but on parked examples it tilts back towards the fuselage - possibly due to loss of a hydraulic pressure.

Interior of the port main gear bay, the jack holding the door open very obvious here.

RAF GR.1. Good view of the deployed flaps and the huge 'Hindenburger' drop tanks. GR.1s used to only carry the smaller tanks but practice for the Gulf War led to the increasing use of larger tanks (borrowed from the ADV fleet) for greater range. Now as you can see they've been well and truly nicked, and painted to match the GR.1s!

Luftwaffe IDS. Closeup of the secondary power system (SPS) bay, with manual pump handle fitted.

General view of the fin of an RAF GR.1 - so now you know why one of the more polite nicknames for the Tornado is apparently 'The Mighty Fin'. The metal area on the fin protects the fin from the heat exchanger exhaust (the intake for which is in the fin leading edge). The dirt on the tail is a result of the thrust reversers fitted to the engines - operational aircraft are often much dirtier than this; B-58 was a display aircraft so has been kept cleaner than most. Stabilisers tend to end up in this position on parked aircraft.

RAF GR.1, general rear view so you can get the angles of your dangles right. The jetpipe covers are often seen on parked aircraft, unless as part of an airshow static lineup.

Similar view but closer, showing jetpipe detail and illustrating the maximum fuel load possible, along with a Sidewinder acquisition round on the port inner AAM pylon.

Luftwaffe IDS. Did I say jetpipe detail? Afterburner actuators around the jetpipe are very visible and to the left the thrust reverser actuating mechanism is prominent.

Ducking down under the fuselage to see the starboard RB.199 engine. Bays are natural metal, door interior was once white but is creamy with much staining.

Another view of the starboard engine access door.

Out from under the fuselage and walking forward to the rear of the starboard wing. This is a rubber-like seal that the wings slide past when changing position. The deployed flap shows just why you can't deploy them with the wings swept back!

Top of the starboard main gear leg.

It's slippy under here...! Good view of the starboard main gear and bay.

Turning around and looking under the wing leading edge - slat actuating jacks situated between slat supports either side.

Turning around again for a look at the gear and, just in front of it, the main refuelling point, with the main diagnostic indicator panel in front of that. This panel is a big hit with the groundcrew as it often lets them know which bit of kit needs to be swapped out (or beaten with a hammer).

Starboard main avionics bay.

Starboard Mauser 25mm cannon. Some of the TTTE's aircraft have no cannon and fly with ballast instead.

Further forward to see the cannon muzzle; note the rather unaerodynamic flat area it projects out of.

RAF GR.1, general view from starboard.

Luftwaffe IDS, closeup of the starboard side of the nose gear leg.

Nose gear bay (bottom is forward).

Nose gear viewed from ahead.

Pilot's starboard console. General cockpit colour is medium grey, with scuffed floors turning to natural metal.

Pilot's instrument panel.

Pilot's port console.

Looking up at the canopy and mirrors (also mounted on the mid-point frame). The canopy is so heavy the crew would have no chance of lifting it to escape, so miniature detonating cord (MDC) is fitted underneath the perspex (the white line at the top) and two small rockets are fitted to the forward edge (the lower of the two grey tubes along the side - the upper one is the demister) to fire the entire assembly off in a hurry.

General view of the pilot's Martin Baker Mk.10A ejector seat top and the navigator's coaming.

Navigator's port console. As this is a twin-stick trainer version, the navigator is bless with throttles and a joystick - both are absent on 'normal' Tornados.

Navigator's instrument panel.

Navigator's starboard console. The small side-stick is for the radar, and is located on a central pedestal on non-trainers.

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Air Intelligence
1998 Modelers'
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