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RAF Tornado F3

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posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 09:07 AM
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I have tried to make this quite easy to understand for those who are interested in this topic but dont know much of the technobabble. I have also made two glossaries to go with this. Youll will find them in the post immediately after this one. If you don't understand a term, see if it is in there.

Description

The RAF Tornado F3 is currently the UKs main defensive fighter. It is a supersonic twin engine, twin seat fighter with variable geometry ('swing') wings. It is easily recognisable with it's huge fin and long nosecone. The tailplanes form part of the delta shape when the variable geometry wings are fully swept. The aircraft was designed to fulfil the role of a long range, long endurance fighter. Unusually, for a variable geometry winged aircraft, the Tornado can carry weapons on wing pylons. As the wings change position, the pylons swivel so the weapons remain pointing forward.

History

The Tornado F2 was developed as a dedicated fighter from the Tornado GR1 attack plane. From this F2, the F3 was developed. The aircraft replaced ageing Lightning and Phantom fighters in the air defence role.

Air Defence role

The F3 has a datalink through which it can receive real time information on targets from a Sentry early warning aircraft. It can attack these targets without using its own radar and not be revealed to the enemy. The advanced radar allows the aircraft to possess an all weather, day and night capability. It also allows for enemy aircraft to be engaged beyond visual range.

SEAD role

In the months leading up to the war in the gulf (2003), a few F3s were modified for the SEAD or Wild Weasel role. These aircraft would carry ALARMs. However, none of these modified aircraft were used during the war. The datalink can also be utilised for this role. The aircraft can pass along the location of an enemy radar site to ground stations or a Sentry. This information, in turn, can be relayed to other planes or ground forces.

Specifications

Crew : 2 (Pilot and a weapons systems operator)
Engines : 2 Turbo-Union RB199s
Thrust : 8700 lbs (dry) or 14480 lbs (with afterburner)
Top Speed : Mach 2.2 at altitude
Radar : BAE Systems Foxhunter with long-range search and BVR capability
Length : 18.6m
Internal Gun: Mauser 27mm cannon with HE rounds

Weapons

The standard armament of the Tornado F3 is 4 short range and 4 medium range air to air missiles.

The short range missiles it carries are either Sidewinders or ASRAAMs. These are carried on the wing pylons.

For BVR combat the aircraft uses medium range Skyflash missiles mounted under the fuselage.

100 Tornado F3s were upgraded to carry AMRAAMs.

A few modified aircraft can carry ALARMs.

Future

The RAF F3 is to be replaced in the coming years by the single seat Eurofighter Typhoon.

Sites I used for information

RAF

Global Security

Air Force Technology


[edit on 31/7/04 by Hyperen]




posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 09:08 AM
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General Glossary

BVR : Beyond Visual Range

HE : High Explosive

SEAD : Suppression of Enemy Air Defences

Weaponry Glossary and links

ALARM : Air Launched Anti-Radiation (or radar) Missile
more info on ALARM

AMRAAM : Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile, also called AIM-120

ASRAAM : Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile

Sidewinder : A common short range air to air missile, also called AIM-9

Skyflash : RAF medium range air to air missile developed from the AIM-7

For more information on any of the above missiles (apart from ALARM), click here


[edit on 30/7/04 by Hyperen]



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 09:10 AM
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Cutaway View of the Tornado F3



Tornado F3 taking off



Two Tornado F3s in flight




[edit on 21/11/04 by Hyperen]



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 09:52 AM
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yeah the tornados supposed to be faster than most jets out there.
might be faster than the f-18 but am not sure so dont quote me on this.



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by devilwasp
yeah the tornados supposed to be faster than most jets out there.
might be faster than the f-18 but am not sure so dont quote me on this.


- Range was the big demand with the Tornado F3. Both for the aircraft itself and it's multiple target 'track while scan' radar and weapons system.

A requirement it met in full.

As for the F3's speed? Well a spin-off from growing out of the IDS varient is that at low level with the wings swept fully back there is very little that even now can live with a Tornado of any variety. It's also Mach 2 capable at altitude.

It's no dog-fighter but so what? It wasn't designed or needed to be. The Typhoon2 will act in that role if it is ever required again.



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 12:47 PM
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Kool plane don't know much about it but pic look nice and anyone know the rage of its radar and its BVR range that it can fire from?
sminkeypinkey what do you mean by saying "with the wings swept fully back there is very little that even now can live with a Tornado of any variety."?



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 03:22 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
Kool plane don't know much about it but pic look nice and anyone know the rage of its radar and its BVR range that it can fire from?


- If I remember rightly the radar will track and scan multiple targets to 120n mls (according to the manual). Attack range then depends on the range of whatever AMRAAM missile it's carrying.


sminkeypinkey what do you mean by saying "with the wings swept fully back there is very little that even now can live with a Tornado of any variety."?


- I mean that at low level at max sweep (so the wing loading is at it's highest and gust response is at it's lowest) all versions of the Tornado can attain and more importantly sustain very high speeds.........right down on the deck to as little as 50ft!

It says mach 1.2 in the manual....... but we all know how conservative the manual usually is.



[edit on 30-7-2004 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 04:51 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
Kool plane don't know much about it but pic look nice and anyone know the rage of its radar and its BVR range that it can fire from?


I imagine it is quite long since this was originally conceived as a long range, long endurance interceptor that would patrol far from base over the north sea.

[edit on 30/7/04 by Hyperen]



posted on Jul, 30 2004 @ 05:08 PM
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Thats right and while M1.2 might not sound like much, we are talking about extremely low level and it is well to remember that even 'Mach 2' strike aircraft like the F-111 and F-15E today are strictly subsonic at these altitudes. In the case of the F-15e though that is down to the fact that the F-15 airframe was designed for an entirely different mission, which it has always been excellent at so I'm not knocking it, and the USAF decided to buy a converted fighter from a homegrown manufacturer rather than import the very specialised Tornado. This being despite a summary in the report of the USAF evaluation saying that the Tornado was "the only satisfactory replacement for the F-111 available to us". I'm afraid this report is contained in a 1979 edition of Flight International and as far as I know it is unavailable on the web, sorry guys. Interestingly, despite the fact that at this time the prospects looked very good with the Defence headline screaming ""TORNADO FOR USAF?" the editorial in that issue very succinctly comments "Does anyone seriously believe that the USA will willingly import a major piece of frontline equipment like the Tornado from Europe or that US industry itself will just stand by and allow it to happen. The NIH philosoophy (Not Invented Here) still rules in the Pentagon despite all the high powered talk of the 'two way street' and 'Flight' would not be surprised at all if the US either invests heavily in an all new type or simply converts an existing fighter in preference to dealing with Panavia"

How remarkably prescient that was is illustrated by the date as the F-15E development was announced about 12 months later, if I remember rightly (it was a long time ago and I confess I don't remember exactly when the F-15E was announced, just that it was a long time before it actually appeared. Incidentally the USAF Tornado. had it been bought was to have assembled by Grumman but even this concession wasn't enough to win the day.

BTW, if you are wondering I haven't thrown away a copy of 'Flight' since I first bought it in August 1977!

[edit on 30-7-2004 by waynos]


RAB

posted on Jul, 31 2004 @ 04:29 AM
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I love the Tornado both the GR3A and the F3, the F3 has a massive range and can track and target upto 20 aircarft from around 160 miles away. With the AMRAAM it'll get the first shot off at around 40 - 50 miles the range depends on the height of firing and speed at firing.

Sadly the F3 will be gone from the RAF in the next 3 to 4 years :-( but considering that the UK gov have just spent a load of cash on upgrades I think and hope we will keep a good number in res. As a F3 with the new BVRAAM (100+ miles) will be a super interecptor. :-)

As for the GR3 and GR3A excellent planes and both will be in service till about 2010 - 2015 when the FOAS is to come into service.



posted on Jul, 31 2004 @ 04:48 AM
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Originally posted by RAB
Sadly the F3 will be gone from the RAF in the next 3 to 4 years :-( but considering that the UK gov have just spent a load of cash on upgrades I think and hope we will keep a good number in res. As a F3 with the new BVRAAM (100+ miles) will be a super interecptor. :-)

As for the GR3 and GR3A excellent planes and both will be in service till about 2010 - 2015 when the FOAS is to come into service.


I love the Tornados too. Yeah, it is a great shame that the F3 will be retired soon as they only just found out that it was probably the world's best SEAD aircraft when they fitted it with ALARMs. When you say GR3, I assume you mean GR4.

[edit on 31/7/04 by Hyperen]


RAB

posted on Jul, 31 2004 @ 05:30 AM
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Yep my bad GR3 / A should have been GR4 / A.

Must be my thing for the Jaguar (GR3/3A) getting in the way (A baby TSR2) if you will.

I personally thing we will have the F3 for a good few years yet, in that the Typhoon in think will be used for attack and the F3 will be left at home for defense.

Also I think we may continue to use the F3 in the Falklands due to it's massive range.



posted on Jul, 31 2004 @ 05:46 AM
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If the Government wakes up and stops cutting back on defence there is no reason at all why the Tornado F3 should be retired, just because the Russians no longer threaten to bomb us from over the North Sea it doesn't mean you don't need a good long range two seater fighter to patrol the skies. The Typhoon will be used in the attack role for sure but not mainly so, it is first and foremost a fighter, but an agile dogfighter with long range capability, which is an different breed from the Tornado F3 and there should be room in the inventory for both. However our determination to make do with only four home defence fighter squadrons means there wont be.


Remeber the scene in 'First of the Few' when Lady Houstons yacht displayed the banner "WAKE UP BRITAIN!"? Well I feel we are there again.



posted on Jul, 31 2004 @ 05:49 AM
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Originally posted by waynos
The Typhoon will be used in the attack role for sure but not mainly so, it is first and foremost a fighter, but an agile dogfighter with long range capability, which is an different breed from the Tornado F3 and there should be room in the inventory for both.


There should be room for both but there isn't money for both. There is barely enough money for one.



posted on Jul, 31 2004 @ 05:55 AM
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Yes, originally the Typhoon was intended to supplement the Tornado F3 force with an agile dogfighting partner, thanks to years and years of cuts it seems now that was never the plan at all



posted on Aug, 7 2004 @ 04:23 PM
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Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
...
It's no dog-fighter but so what? It wasn't designed or needed to be. The Typhoon2 will act in that role if it is ever required again.


Could yoou please provide some more Info on the Typhoon2, thanks



posted on Aug, 8 2004 @ 05:49 PM
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I'm not sure if he was referring to it as Typhoon2 meaning 'not the Hawker Typhoon, the modern one' or if he simply mistyped the aircrafts RAF designation, Being Typhoon F2. This is the RAF single seater A2A version that will also carry out some ground attack duties, finally meeting the AST403 requirement that was issued in 1976! The RAF calls the two seater the Typhoon T1.



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