Designed in the early 1970s by a consortium of the United Kingdom, Italy, and (then) West Germany, the Panavia Tornado remains a formidable strike fighter over forty years after its first flight. A swing-wing, multi-role design meant for low-level attack (and Burner Fridays!), the aircraft was developed into three versions for the interdiction/strike, electronic attack, and interceptor roles.
The German Air Force flies both the strike (IDS) and electronic attack (ECR, for electronic combat/reconnaissance) versions of the Tornado, commonly referred to as the Tonka.
The ECR Tonka above belonged to 321 Squadron at Lechfeld Air Base, and was one of the Tiger squadrons that were enthusiastic participants in the NATO Tiger Meets until their deactivation in late 2012.
With the advent of the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Tornados have been gradually replaced with the more modern fighter, but are still in active service with all the development partner nations as well as the Royal Saudi Air Force.
Our Luftwaffe friends certainly love to put the Tonka through its paces down low, where she’s in her prime. Take a look as they ruffle some feathers near CFB Goose Bay, Canada.
(Featured Image: Jonathan Derden)