Skip Navigation or Skip to Content
A white Panavia Tornado aircraft.

Panavia Tornado

The Tornado was the Royal Air Force’s only variable geometry (swing wing) aircraft.

The Tornado's wings could move forward to provide extra lift at low speeds, and then backwards for supersonic flight. The F.3 version was the RAF's main jet fighter between 1986 and 2011.

This Tornado carried out air defence patrols from Saudi Arabia in 1991 during the first Gulf War. It spent most of its life based at RAF Leuchars in Fife.

Tornado fact file

Date:    1989
Mark: F.3
Crew: 2 (pilot, navigator)
Top speed:  1,490 mph (2,400 km/h)
Range: 1,151 miles (1,853 km)
Weapons: 1 x 27mm Mauser BK-27 cannon
Up to 19,800lb (9,000 kg) of missiles and external fuel tanks

A grey Panavia Tornado aircraft with a long pointed nose parked in a large avaition hangar.

The Panavia Tornado in the Military Aviation hangar at the National Museum of Flight. 

Painted detail of a phoenix rising from the ashes on the side of a Tornado aircraft.

A phoenix rising from the ashes, painted on the side of the Panavia Tornado. 

Cockpit view

Inside the pilot cockpit of a Tornado aircraft.

The pilot cockpit of the Panavia Tornado.

Inside the rear cockpit of a Tornado aircraft.

The navigator cockpit of the Panavia Tornado. 

Back to top