RIAT 2014 Italian Air force A-200 Tornado The Royal International Air Tattoo
Now entering the twilight of its operational career, the Panavia Tornado is a variable-geometry ('swing-wing') strike aircraft, developed by a consortium involving British, German and Italian manufacturers. As with the type's other operators, the Italian Air Force has reduced its Tornado fleet, to which it has given the official designation A-200, in the last few years. It has implemented a comprehensive mid-life upgrade on the remaining aircraft. Three operational squadrons now fly the attack versions, and one the EA-200B (Tornado ECR) specialised in the suppression of enemy air defences. Flown at RIAT 2014 will be an example from the Reparto Sperimentale Volo flight test centre. Italy is now the only country still providing regular Tornado flying displays. The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing combat aircraft, which was jointly developed and manufactured by Italy, the United Kingdom, and West Germany. There are three primary Tornado variants; the Tornado IDS (interdictor/strike) fighter-bomber, the suppression of enemy air defences Tornado ECR (electronic combat/reconnaissance) and the Tornado ADV (air defence variant) interceptor aircraft. The Tornado was developed and built by Panavia Aircraft GmbH, a tri-national consortium consisting of British Aerospace (previously British Aircraft Corporation), MBB of West Germany, and Aeritalia of Italy. It first flew on 14 August 1974 and was introduced into service in 1979--1980. Due to its multirole nature, it was able to replace several different fleets of aircraft in the adopting air forces. The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) became the only export operator of the Tornado in addition to the three original partner nations. A tri-nation training and evaluation unit operating from RAF Cottesmore, the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment, maintained a level of international cooperation beyond the production stage. The Tornado was used by the Royal Air Force (RAF), Italian Air Force and RSAF during the 1991 Gulf War, in which the Tornado conducted many low-altitude penetrating strike missions. The Tornados of various operators were also used in conflicts in the former Yugoslavia during the Bosnian War and Kosovo War, the Iraq War, Libya during the Libyan civil war, as well as smaller roles in Afghanistan and Yemen. Including all variants, 992 aircraft were built.
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