Panavia Tornado in the 1991 Gulf War

Ultimate Lead Gen

The Panavia Tornado is a twin-engine swing-wing multi-role combat aircraft that was jointly developed by Britiain, Germany and Italy, and which is also used by the Royal Saudi Air Force.

During Operation Granby, Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado F3 (air-defence variant) and Tornado GR1 (attack variant) were deployed to the region:

– 18 Tornado F3s were deployed to Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, however they did not engage any enemy aircraft during the war. The main reason for this was that since the F3s lacked modern IFF and defensive aids, it as decided to fly the aircraft further back from the enemy and allow other fighters to patrol further forward.

– Just under 60 Tornado GR1s were deployed to Muharran in Bahrain, and Tabuk and Dhahran in Saudi Arabia. These were used in the initial stages of the war to drop unguided (“dumb”) bombs and the JP233 runway denial weapon on Iraqi airbases. Later, the GR1s switched to medium-level strike missions using laser-guided bombs. Since the GR1s lacked laser designators, Blackburn Buccaneers equipped with the Pave Spike designator system were flown to the region as an emergency measure, and a crash program was initiated to fit some GR1s with Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designator (TIALD) pods.

A total of 6 RAF GR1s were shot down during the war, this includes 1 shot down during a JP233 mission (although about 3 minutes after deploying the weapon), 4 shot down at low-level dropping unguided bombs during the initial stages of the war, and 1 lost during a medium-level mission involving laser-guided munitions.

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Source by Sunil Tanna

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