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Nicknamed the Mighty Fin, the Panavia Tornado was originally known as the Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) program and was a joint program between the UK, Italy and Germany. Designed as a specialist low level strike aircraft, 990 were eventually produced for the three partner nations and Saudi Arabia. The Tornado was produced in three main variants, the IDS which was the main strike variant, ECR which is an advanced anti-radar variant and the ADV which was an interceptor variant. The latter differed from the IDS and ECR by featuring more powerful engines, a lengthened fuselage to accommodate more fuel and was fitted with the Foxhunter air to air radar. The type became famous for its ultra-low-level exploits during the first Gulf War attacking Iraqi airfields. The RAF retired their last Tornados in 2019.
The Italian Air Force currently operate two versions of the Tornado, the IDS as the A-200 and the ECR as the EA-200 which were converted from 16 standard A-200s in 1998. The Italians did also operate the Tornado ADV as a stop gap measure leased from the RAF until the Typhoon was delivered. Italian Tornados first saw combat in the Gulf War and have seen action in a number of major conflicts since including Kosovo, Afghanistan and against Islamic State. The Tornado is gradually being replaced by the F-35A and it is anticipated that the A200 will be retired by 2025.
We are very pleased to announce that a pair of Italian Air Force A-200A Tornados will be appearing on static at this year's Air Tattoo. The aircraft will be provided by 6° Stormo from Ghedi Air Base and form part of our celebration of the Italian Air Force 100th anniversary. Photo Credit: Glenn Stanley