Factfile: Tornado GR4
THE two-seater Tornado GR4 is a versatile and heavily-armed attack aircraft capable of supersonic speeds.
It has been flown in thousands of sorties during military operations since 1990, including Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and most recently, Libya.
RAF Lossiemouth in north Scotland is home to three of the six squadrons based in the UK - 12 (Bomber) Squadron, 617 Squadron and 15 (Reserve) Squadron.
The other three, 9 (Bomber) Squadron, 31 Squadron, and 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron are based at RAF Marham in Norfolk.
According to the RAF website: “The Tornado GR4 is a variable geometry, two-seat, day or night, all-weather attack aircraft, capable of delivering a wide variety of weapons.”
Its two RR RB199 Mk103 turbofan engines each produce 16,000lbs of thrust.
It is 56.5ft (17.2m) long, has a span of 28.1ft (8.6m) and has a maximum altitude of 50,000ft (15 240m).
Tornado GR4s are capable of flying at Mach 1.3, which is around 990mph.
“The aircraft can fly automatically at low level using Terrain Following Radar (TFR) when poor weather prevents visual flight. The aircraft is also equipped with Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIR) and is Night Vision Goggle (NVG) compatible,” the RAF website said.
The GR4 typically carries up to five Paveway IV smart weapons or two Storm Shadow cruise missiles. It is also equipped with the Storm Shadow missile and two variants of the Brimstone missile, and can be configured to carry other various weapons, targeting pods and reconnaissance pods.
All GR4 aircraft can carry the Air Launched Anti-Radiation Missile (ALARM), which homes on to the emitted radiation of enemy radar systems and can be used in the Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) role.
It is also equipped with an integral 27mm Mauser cannon capable of firing 1,700 rounds per minute.
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