Tornado 30th Anniversary
2012 see the Tornado celebrate its 30th Anniversary.
The aircraft was developed and built by a consortium consisting of British Aerospace, MBB of West Germany and Aeritalia of Italy. The Tornado first flew on 14th August 1974 and was introduced into service in 1979-1980. A tri-nation training and evaluation unit operated from RAF Cottesmore, the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE), maintained a level of international cooperation beyond the production stage. The mission originally envisaged for the Tornado, during the Cold War, was the delivery, from low level, of conventional and nuclear ordnance on the invading forces of the Warsaw Pact countries. In the decades since the Tornado’s introduction, each nation undertook various upgrade and modification programmes to allow modern ordnance to be employed. Production came to an end in 1998; the last batch going to the Royal Saudi Air Force. In June 2011 the RAF’s Tornado fleet achieved the milestone of having flown over one million flying hours. The Tornado has a diverse operational history, with 30 years of continuous front-line service. From initially being used during the cold war and subsequently for conflicts in the Gulf (1991), Kosovo, Iraq (2003), Afghanistan and last year, Libya.