The Tornado ECR (Electronic Combat / Reconnaissance) is a specialized "Suppression of Enemy Air Defense" (SEAD) offshoot of the original Tornado IDS (InterDictor / Strike) strike-fighter. The version is outfitted with a higher degree of onboard sensors as well as support for the AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile. The aircraft is used to counter enemy air defenses prior to the involvement of the main strike force, effectively "blinding" the enemy from further reaction through its air force. As such, ECRs were equipped with sophisticated Electronic CounterMeasures (ECMs) for survival while its missiles can ride incoming radar signals down to their source through an Emitter Location System (ELS). The initial Tornado ECR was delivered on May 21st, 1990 and have been operated by the air services of Germany and Italy. The United Kingdom, the other major Tornado IDS user, instead makes use of a specialized Tornado ADV F.3 mark for the role.
There are three major Tornado forms - the IDS, ECR and ADV. The IDS is the dedicated strike platform while the ECR is the dedicated SEAD model. The ADV is the interceptor variant. The original Tornado IDS was taken into service by West Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. The Panavia name was formed from the tri-national effort of West Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom while strike-minded and ECR Tornados still form a vital part of the aerial firepower for Western Europe - though its service life is expected to come to a close by the end of the decade.
The German Luftwaffe was the recipient of some 35 Tornado ECR platforms and these were received as "new-build" aircraft. Italian ECRs were sixteen examples converted from existing Tornado IDS strike platforms. The German and Italian models differed between themselves in several ways: German ECRs operated with an uprated engine and integrated reconnaissance equipment while Italian ECRs made use of a slightly downrated powerplant and external reconnaissance pods.
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February 2019 - German authorities have dropped the F-35 Lightning II from contention for its PANAVIA Tornado strike-fighter replacement initiative.
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Panavia Tornado ECR (Electronic Combat / Reconnaissance) production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
2 x 27mm Mauser BK-27 cannons under fuselage sides.
Up to 19,800lb of external ordnance including conventional dumb / drop bombs, rocket pods, ECM pods, precision-guided "smart" bombs and air-to-surface / air-to-air missiles.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 8
Tornado ECR - Base Series Designation; German and Italian service with minor differences in between.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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Image courtesy the United States Department of Defense Imagery Database.
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