AFC_Ajax00 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 775 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1060 times:
The Tornado is one of the best low level strike aircraft, as the USAF doesnt use the F-111 anymore this is probably the most capable strike aircraft below FL's of about 1500 ft. It carries notably the JP233? runway buster bomb, which is a very cool weapon cratering a runway and mining it at the same time.
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward; for there you long to return
LY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 11 Reply 3, posted (11 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1054 times:
The Tornado is very different from the F-111. The F-111 is practically a bomber, with an internal bomb bay, and practically no AA capability. The Tornado is a multi-role fighter. I think that the closest American a/c is the F/A-18, or, if we are willing to look farther back in time, the F-4E.
Whistler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1053 times:
The IDS/GR versions aren't really multirole. Their main job is interdiction/bombing, and they are very good at it. They CAN carry sidewinders, but those are for self defense. You would never see them on a CAP, Intercept, or Escort though, thats not its job.
There IS the Tornado ADV Interceptor/Fighter (only used by Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Italy (leased)) but it is almost a totally different plane. Its job is pure intercept/CAP and can't do any A2G stuff.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12707 posts, RR: 80 Reply 5, posted (11 years 7 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1051 times:
In terms of size and weight, the Tornado GR.1, now updated to GR.4, are similar to the F-18, but with an entirely different mission, low-level strike in the cold war European theatre.
But it's range is nearer the F-111s than the F-18.
The JP223, used in the Gulf, has now been withdrawn, most were used on Iraqi airfields anyway.
It's use was questioned in the early phase of Desert Storm, and the losses it entailed. Dispensing runway and anti-personnel mines across a heavily defended airfield at 50 feet was dangerous for sure.
But no-one knew how effective the Iraqi airforce would be, we know know that the few aircraft that got airborne did not last long, but many more were trapped in their hardened shelters due to the JP223 mines, later LGB's destroyed the shelters.
The RAF's training and doctrine up to then had been for low-level strike in a Cold-War senario, in a short-war. Hence the RAF's expertise in low-level flying.
Once JP233's had been used, the RAF went to medium-level laser bombing, SEAD with ALARM missiles, and recce.
For today, the Tornado GR.4A recce version may well be used in Afghanistan, it's the best low/medium-level recce. system in the world.
It's often been used in the last few years
in various operations, since the USAF did not properly replace the RF-4C aircraft.
Some new GR.1As were rushed to the Gulf in 1991, where they quickly proved their worth.
The F3, designed for loitering in the ECM-heavy UK air defence enviroment, to shoot-down attacking Soviet bombers/cruise-missiles, is not a dogfighter. It was truely a specialised UK cold-war requirement.
Due for replacement by Typhoons, the F3 has had some avionic updates with AMRAAM and ASRAAM missiles. At low/medium level it has a good performance in terms of acceleration, so crews make the most of it's attributes.
Some F3 may get a secondary SEAD role with the appropriate equipment fitted, (like the USAF F-16CJ?), and ALARM missiles.
During the Cold War, the RAF's dogfighting requirement was small, 2 squadrons in RAF Germany.
But the F3 did have avionic problems in the early days, and later some structural problems.
Many thought a licence-built F-15D with UK-spec, avionics and weapons would have been a better solution than the F3, and they are probably right, but if we had gone down that road, would we now have the Eurofighter programme?