|This page is about the British strike aircraft Tornado GR.1. For other versions, see Tornado (Family).
The Panavia Tornado GR.1 stands as a testament to its lasting impact within the Royal Air Force, spanning from its debut in the late 1970s to its operational tenure until the turn of the millennium. The Tornado GR.1's exceptional versatility was further underscored during Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s, where it executed precision strikes with remarkable precision, solidifying its reputation as a potent force in modern aerial warfare. As the new millennium dawned, the aircraft continued to serve valiantly, being a key asset in peacekeeping missions and coalition operations in various theatres, including Bosnia and Kosovo. The Panavia Tornado GR.1's legacy extends beyond its operational prowess; it symbolizes the RAF's commitment to operational innovation and its ability to evolve to meet the changing demands of global security scenarios.
The Tornado GR.1 was introduced in Update "Apex Predators", a versatile and multifaceted aircraft poised to reshape the lacking CAS capabilities of British tech-tree. This remarkable aircraft seamlessly adapts to the role of a versatile multi-role warrior, skillfully engaging both ground and aerial targets across an array of scenarios. With a flexible array of armaments at its disposal, the Tornado GR.1 stands ready to confront a wide spectrum of challenges, from lightly armoured targets able to be taken out with rockets, to entrenched ground targets. As it materializes as underappreciated, the Tornado GR.1 silently emerges as a potent ground assailant, utilizing its capacity for precision strikes from a calculated distance, unsettling even the most vigilant of anti-aircraft units with Precision Guided Munitions (PGM). Tailored to pilots who revel in the intricate dynamics of multifaceted operations and diverse weapon configurations, the Panavia Tornado GR.1 beckons to those who traverse the skies with a combination of deliberate patience and honed skill.
| Max speed
(km/h at 10,972 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run
|Max Static G
|Optimal velocities (km/h)
|Wing loading (full internal fuel)
|Turbo-Union RB199-34R Mk.101
|Mass with internal fuel (no weapons load or external fuel)
|Afterburning low-bypass turbofan
|Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (WEP)
| 4,032 kgf
| 7,845 kgf
Survivability and armour
The Tornado has no armour to speak of and is relatively large, making it an easy target for enemy guns. Almost any hit to the center part of the Tornado will leave its speed crippled, while any hit to the wings and tail will most likely cripple flight performance, if not disabling the aircraft outright. Although it could in theory make its way back to base even with only one engine, any enemy attention during this timespan will most likely get you sent back to the hangar. It also has 2 pilots, which means that plane can continue flying in the unlikely case that only 1 pilot is knocked out.
Modifications and economy
The Tornado GR.1 is armed with:
- 2 x 27 mm Mauser BK27 cannons, chin-mounted (180 rpg = 360 total)
This Tornado has a pair of autocannons loaded primarily with APHE (one more that it's fighter equivalent). A single tap of the "fire" button should be enough to destroy howitzers and other unprotected targets from 3 km away, should pilot not miss.
The guns also receive aim assist from the radar at about 1.5 km range when head-on and 1.2 km when behind. The radar tracker is super focused despite not having a pulse-doppler technology, therefore the guns rarely miss when using it and pilot can easily attack an enemy wing from behind or at ground level, where radar missiles of enemies are irrelevant. Unfortunately, the radar can be chaffed.
The guns also receive aim assist if TIALD is locked onto the enemy aircraft. The ranges of aim assist are from 2 to 1.4 km when head-on (depending on enemy angle and speed) and 1.2 km when behind. The laser cannot be fooled in any way and is even more accurate, but it is sometimes excruciatingly difficult to lock onto the enemy plane. Having TIALD just for the gun without guided bombs is still useful strategically, as it still provides thermal vision and flipping between thermal scope on TIALD and third person view forcibly spots every plane within 20 km range for 5 seconds, working as a makeshift "search radar".
The Tornado GR.1 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
|1,000 lb H.E. M.C. Mk.13 bombs
|1, 2‡ *
|1, 2‡ *
|1,000 lb H.E. M.C. Mk.13 No.117 bombs
|1, 2‡ *
|1, 2‡ *
|1,000 lb LDGP Mk 83 bombs
|1, 2‡ *
|1, 2‡ *
|546 kg Mk.13 bombs
|404 kg PGM 500 bombs
|1,060 kg PGM 2000 bombs
|2,000 lb GBU-24 Paveway III bombs
|AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles
|Large calibre countermeasures
|TIALD targeting pod
|1,500 l drop tanks
| * Marked guided bombs on hardpoints 4/8 cannot be equipped with bombs on hardpoint 6 or hardpoints 5/7 respectively
† TIALD targeting pod must be equipped when using marked guided bombs
‡ Bombs on hardpoint 6 cannot be equipped with dual bomb mounts on hardpoints 4-8
|Default weapon presets
In air RB, just 5 LDGP mk 83 bombs are enough to take out single base. If they are all carried under fuselage (points 4-8, only one bomb per point) they cause much less stress to the plane and reduce the effect on plane's speed. If 10 of those are carried, the plane can bomb two bases, but will accelerate slower and will be unable to fly faster than 1.05 MACH without constant direct help of gravity.
Due to the lack of "bomb series" option of 5 for use by strategic bombing computer, it is possible to substitute it by equipping two different types of bombs and choosing 6 bombs option (the second "series" could consist of H.E. M.C. Mk.13 bombs), but then it will be impossible to equip TIALD targeting pod for convenience.
TIALD itself has 20 km maximum range, has thermal vision and can lock onto targets, much like on Jaguar GR.1A. Installation of TIALD unlocks installation of up to 4 laser guided bombs (which will let the plane carry 2 more dumb bombs). The small laser bombs are quite stupid and will not continue to correct their course if TIALD lock was lost, the big one has IOG and will continue falling towards last painted location even if the plane is destroyed.
A unique feature for British bomber Tornado is the ability to install TV bombs. The TV bombs do not require TIALD to function (although it might make their use easier in some cases) and so 4 of them can be mounted (maximum of 3 big PGM 2000 with one PGM 500 or TIALD and 2 dumb bombs as support), but the ones on points 4 and 8 will prevent installation of anything else next to them on the fuselage. The TV bombs will inherit the plane speed on launch (but no more than MACH 1) and have rocket engine that will let them keep their altitude and speed for about 12 km and can be fired at targets with moderate heat signature from about 25 km away. They might as well be called "cruise missile" with the War Thunder map sizes and they can outrange and destroy any SPAA that does not immediately smoke itself upon seeing weird things on their radar, but their usefulness against fast moving targets like other planes is questionable due to the low manoeuvrability of its engine. It's also ill adviced to launch these when diving down, as the plane might crash into one and blow up. Unfortunately they will not lock onto plain ground from anything further than 15 km unless the plane is about 8 km higher than current target spot and cruise at about MACH 0.93 (which is one of height/speed combinations generally necessary for them to even reach a target 23 km away), so they cannot be used for base bombing outside of enemy fighters range (even though 3 PGM 2000 is enough for 1 base).
Usage in battles
There are multiple ways to use the Tornado in Air RB, one tactic is to stick to the team and try and give support with your AIM-9Ls on your way to the enemy bases and/or ground targets. This gives you the advantage of team cover and a bit of safety, although you will undoubtedly be in the midst of battle once enemy interceptors and fighters reach your team and there is always a chance that someone else will bomb all the bases.
The other tactic would be to go full throttle directly to the enemy bases while keeping extremely low to the ground to decrease your chances of being spotted visually or by radar. While this leaves you mostly alone and isolated from the possible support of your team, you will be able to take a more direct route to your main target, meaning you'll be able to evade any slower or unsuspecting enemies. Having TIALD to scan immediate surroundings during solo run can be helpful, as to not fall victim to a random IR missile from the sky.
Taking an active role in air-to-air combat is not advised, as the Tornado's flight performance is not very suited to it, especially with bombs, and you'll most likely be shot down very quickly. So keep in mind that although the Tornado is fast, its not very manoeuvrable at high speed so try to avoid faster turning enemies such as the F-16 or the F-14. In the case of 1-to-1 confrontation the best option is to blast them away in a head-on by using aim assisted guns, then run behind a mountain to drop speed to around 800-900 m/s (via reverse thrust) to use flaps and drop bombs in a less exposed enviroment. Against superior fighters like the F-16, MiG-29, Viggen, F-14, and Mirage 2000 you don't stand a chance in a turnfight, unless the enemy pilot is extremely inexperienced. With countermeasures you are able to survive for longer if you can time their use and can dodge without losing too much of your speed, but their number is very limited.
In GRB you can easily pick off enemy SPAA once you have unlocked your laser guided bombs, so try to fly as high as possible. If you only have dumb bombs you're going to need to stick to the ground as much as possible or to fly at extemely difficult to hit angles to avoid enemy AA, you can't linger too much on the battlefield or else the entire enemy team will begin to prioritise you as a target. You also need to be very wary of what type of enemy air has been spawned in - if you focus too much on ground vehicles you become easy pickings for any enemy aircraft which can take advantage of you not realising they're there. In conclusion, play a reserved role and only engage when you think its clear. After unlocking TV bombs, you might as well avoid enemy AA altogether and only appear in the sky above your own airfield to drop some giant missile-bombs towards enemy tanks or even odd static helicopter to avoid unnecessary risk.
In Air Arcade Assault, playing the plane with 10 dumb bombs and 2 9L is the best until the TV bombs are researched. You can lock onto specific planes with TIALD to avoid usual "radar echo" from the formation to accurately snipe one plane and approximate aim towards the rest of the group, the rest is not very different from normal planes as you can still fly at acceptable speed even with bombs on. Once ground targets appear, carpet bomb them, then dive down with air brakes out, activate ballistic computer at 3 km range and start firing on howitzers that you didn't target with bombs with your gun. Since ballistic computer is completely accurate against ground, you generally only need a single tap of a gun to remove howitzers, no need to hold the trigger. if you do a clean job, at least 16 howitzers should disappear by the moment you are forced to disengage. Once the TV "bombs" are unlocked, you can fire those at enemy bombers (make sure you are higher than them to ensure a hit), much like allied F14 spam their "phoenix" missiles, the difference is that even a small TV bomb can obliterate 2 planes at once, a big one is going to cause even more collateral damage, allowing you to secure victory not only through neutralizing artillery, but securing air victory as well, just make sure that you attack ground targets first if they appear.
Pros and cons
- Variable sweep wing, can be used as a fighter after bombing if necessary
- Unlike other Tornado bombers, can carry TV bombs, including 1 ton versions
- The TV bombs have their own rocket engine, so they can be launched like a cruise missile from way outside of any AA firing range
- Large payload and is supersonic
- Although it's slower than other Tornado bombers, it is also much more stable
- Can struggle in air-to-air combat, doesn't have as many countermeasures as the rest of British planes at the tier to compensate
- High fuel consumption
- Full bombing loadout severely limit its maximum speed to about Mach 1.05
- TV bombs cannot inherit more speed than MACH 1, very likely to destroy Tornado itself if launched at higher speeds or when diving down
- No search radar for planning around enemies, only compensated by spotting with TIALD at maximum 20 km range (when they already can engage with medium range SARH missiles)
- Can destroy itself by rolling too much if "New boosters" are equipped
The Panavia Tornado GR.1 was a multi-role combat aircraft, the result of an international collaboration between British, German and Italian companies which in 1969 formed the Panavia company to manufacture the Tornado. Its first flight was 14th August 1974 and was introduced to the RAF in 1986 but its first use in combat was not until 1991 in the Gulf war and was in service until March 2019.
|Panavia Aircraft GmbH
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|Tornado GR.1 · Tornado F.3
|Tornado ADV · ▄Tornado IDS (1995)
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