Panavia Tornado IDS SLE - Forever Young

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The Panavia Tornado is a multi-role combat aircraft that emerged from a collaborative effort among three European nations: the United Kingdom, West Germany, and Italy. To accomplish this, in 1969 a consortium known as Panavia Aircraft GmbH was formed to oversee the Tornado’s development. The Tornado was designed as a variable-sweep wing aircraft, giving it the capability to operate in various roles, including air superiority, ground attack, and electronic warfare. The first prototype Tornado made its maiden flight in 1974, and production began in the late 1970s. The Tornado entered service with the Royal Air Force, German Air Force, and Italian Air Force in the early 1980s, quickly becoming a cornerstone of NATO’s defence strategy during the Cold War.

While the Tornado has begun to show its age with all of its operators either having replaced it or are in the process of replacing it, over the years they have received various improvements and modernisations. Luftwaffe Tornadoes would receive several sets of upgrades over their life times, ASSTA1 (Avionics System Software Tornado in Ada) which introduced the AGM-88 HARM, AS.34 Kormoran II, GBU-24 Paveway III, GBU-16 Paveway II, and Litening II targeting pod among other system improvements. This was followed by ASSTA2 which introduced a display system upgrade for the pilot and navigator, a BOW Advanced Radar Warning System by SAAB, and the Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile. ASSTA3 would introduce the Link 16 data link and GBU-54 LJDAM while the final upgrade in the series, ASSTA3.1, would introduce new coloured displays for the navigator and the BOZ-101 EC which, unlike the old countermeasure pod, featured a new missile approach warning system. Around this time the cockpit of the Tornado would also be adapted for use of night-vision devices.

One of the latest improvements to the German Tornado fleet has been the Service Life Enhancement Program (SLE) which was initiated in 2021 and involves a complete rebuild of each airframe, checking the airframe for cracks and replacing high-wear components with new custom manufactured ones so as to extend the service life to 8,000 hours. The front and main landing gear of the Tornado were also reinforced. Additionally, SAAB was contracted by Panavia to provide updates to the Tornado’s BOW Advanced Radar Warning Receiver in order to enhance their processing power and extend their lifetime.

The Tornado IDS SLE represents what could possibly be the final evolution of the Tornado in German service before being replaced by the F-35 and Eurofighter EK. While it would not represent a huge step up from the Tornado IDS ASSTA1 currently in War Thunder, it would still bring many welcome improvements, including a targeting pod with 3rd generation thermal imaging, a missile approach warning system, an increase of the total number of chaff and flares that can be carried to 200, improved missiles for self-defence, a radar warning receiver capable of detecting from bands C to L, night vision for the crew, and of course a variety of new air-to-ground ordnance options.

Specifications

Length: 17.23 m
Height: 5.95 m
Wingspan at 25 Degrees Sweep: 13.91 m
Wingspan at 45 Degrees Sweep: 11.58 m
Wingspan at 67 Degrees Sweep: 8.56 m
Wing Area at 25 Degrees Sweep: 31 m²
Empty Weight: 14 t
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 28.5 t
Powerplant: 2x Turbo-Union RB199-34R
Maximum Dry Thrust: 41,000 N
Afterburner Thrust: 69,000 N
Speed (at Low Level): up to Mach 1.3

Armaments

Air-to-air Missiles
AIM-9L/I-1 Sidewinder
IRIS-T AIM-2000

Guided Munitions
GBU-54 LJDAM
GBU-24 Paveway III
GBU-16 Paveway II
AS.34 Kormoran II
AGM-88 HARM
HOPE glide bomb
HOSBO glide bomb
Taurus KEPD 350

Dumb Munitions
500 lb Mk 82
1000 lb Mk 83
BL755
Mehrzweckwaffe 1 (MW-1)

Ammunition
27 mm DM83 PELE (no tracer)
27 mm DM93 PELE (tracer)

Other
Rafael LITENING III
Tornado Self Protection Jammer (TSPJ)
Saab Avitronics BOZ-101 EC
New unicolour blue-grey camouflage as used on the Eurofighter

Future Considerations
Brimstone
LaGS (Laser Guided Sidewinder)

Images

Sources

Bundeswehr - Verlängerte Lebenszeit: Tornado hebt wieder ab

Panavia - Mid Life Update - GAF

Panavia - Successful makeover for the German Tornado: Tornado Service Life Enhancement

Interessengemeinschaft Deutsche Luftwaffe - ASSTA 3.1: Der modernste Tornado der Luftwaffe

FLUG REVUE - Tornado-Piloten können Nachtsichtbrillen nutzen

21 Likes

This would be a great top tier fighter-bomber! If they go ahead and integrate Brimstones, this would really be an exceptional step from the previous German Tornado variants. Here’s hoping to see it sooner, rather than later! o7

18 Likes

+1 Very good interdictor/strike aircraft for germany tech tree

I guess Tornado IDS SLE could add to rank 9 and located after Tornado IDS ASSTA 3.1

1 Like

+1

1 Like

+1

1 Like

+1 eventually
However, the IRIS-T would definitely be game-breaking.
25km range
60g overload
Focal-plane array (entirely unflareable, 5-8x more reliable than AIM-9M)

Overall the aircraft would probably be pretty balanced at ~12.7, but it’d be an extremely missile-focussed aircraft with very poor flight performance. Sort of like a Harrier or A-6E.
So I’d rather have actual fighters (at 13.3 or above) with such 4th gen missiles before attackers with those missiles. And fighters (like the F-15A, Su-27, MiG-29K, etc) at ~12.7 with current 3rd gen missiles before fighters with 4th gen missiles.

2 Likes

I don’t think this will suit the game, it’s basiclly a Tornado IDS, what it does in game is throwing bombs in air and ground battles, half of the updates won’t change the game preformance, and the other updates can’t be in the game(like iris-t and cruise missile).

At the end of the day yes, it is a Tornado, but it would bring many welcome improvements which include:

  • Expanded armaments including GBU-54 and HOSBO F&F glide bombs.
  • LITENING III targeting pod with higher resolution
  • BOZ 101 EC Increase to 200 chaff or flares
  • BOZ 101 EC missile alert warning system
  • BOW radar warning receiver that can detect K band
  • AIM-9L/I-1 for self-defence (and later IRIS-T)
  • Night vision for pilot
  • Reinforced landing gear

So it definitely has a place in game.

6 Likes

I NEED IT!! So damn glad the german Tornado is going through it. Belongs in game

1 Like

Nice suggestion! It could be added very soon without the IRIS-T

germany needs it. plus it can serve as a test rig for the IRIS-T just like the Su-25BM did for the R-73

2 Likes

Would this help in fighting against the pantsir? Because everytime i am against a pantsir, i get shot down. Either i am not that good at cas (its my first time playing cas with guided bombs) and i dont know if there are any tactics or the pantsir just completely disable any “only” guided bombs cas.

brimstone are service in Luftwaffe already?

We know from the most recent armament report that they are being purchased.

Between the new RWR that can detect the radar of the Pantsir, the MAWS that can detect launched missiles, higher quality thermals, and longer range weapons, so yeah, it should be more effective against the Pantsir.

The new missile is more reliable than the R73 and Aim9m so it would make it viable in air rb however the missile might be too op with how its near unflareable and has 50 to 60g overload

Do you mean the AIM9L/I or IRIS-T?

1 Like

@Godvana we should add the amraams as possible weaponry

5 Likes

Is the IDS radar able to guide them?

within 19km yes

2 Likes

You mean using the radar of the missile? I heard that an radarless aircraft could lock and launch a fox 3 with only the radar of the aircraft