Panavia with Turbo-Union and NETMA celebrate 40 years of the Tornado Programme — Press Release

by: Matthew Potter
October 5, 2009

Category: Business Line, Companies, Events, Military Aviation, Press Releases, production program | RSS 2.0

16-09-09 Lechfeld - GE Tornado with special paintingsmallPanavia with Turbo-Union and NETMA celebrate 40 years of the Tornado Programme

The Tornado consortium marks an important step in the life of its programme, the Aircraft being still the backbone of the operational capabilities of UK, Italy, Germany and Saudi Arabian Air Forces

Munich, 5 October 2009 – On 15 September, in the historical Castle of Nymphenburg in Munich, Panavia, the European Tornado Aircraft Consortium, and Turbo-Union, its sister Aero-engine Company, celebrated, together with NETMA, the NATO Agency, 40 successful years of the tri-national Tornado programme.

Panavia was established in 1969 alongside Turbo-Union, and then NAMMA (now NETMA after the merger with the agency that manage the Typhoon programme), the overarching NATO Management Agency.

The event in Nymphenburg was attended by Gen. Klaus Peter Stieglitz, Chief of Air Staff of the German Air Force, Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton, Chief of Air Staff of the RAF, and Gen. Giuseppe Bernardis, Deputy Chief of Air Staff of Aeronautica Militare of Italy. Also present were key political, military and industrial representatives from the Partner Nations and senior management from the Partner Companies.

The event was then followed the day after by a festive day in Lechfeld Air Base, near Munich, home of the Tornadoes of the Jagdbombergeschwader 32, attended also by employees of the Industry and of the organisations who have contributed and still contribute to the success of the programme. The day culminated in a joint in-flight demonstration conducted by Tornadoes of the three Air Forces.

The event is a major milestone in the history of European aviation as the Tornado, with 997 units built, is up to now the most important military aircraft programme in Europe and the leading example of a successful multi-national European cooperation in the Air Defence, setting a new standard in partnership and in operational capabilities.

Designed as a low-level supersonic ground attack bomber, capable of taking off and landing in short distances, the Tornado – originally called Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) – was developed in three primary versions: the IDS (Interdictor/Strike) fighter-bomber; the ECR (Electronic Combat/ Reconnaissance) for suppression of enemy air defences and the ADV (Air Defence Variant) interceptor.

After the first flight on 14 August, 1974, the Tornado, entered into service in 1980 and it has been in service on the frontline of the Italian, British and Saudi Air Forces and for the German Air Force and Navy for almost 30 years. Around 550 aircraft are still in service, supporting NATO operations around the world.

The importance of the Tornado programme to European Industry has been significant and highlights the remarkable economical benefits of effective European collaboration.

The Tornado was a keystone for the growth of the European Aerospace Industry allowing the three partner companies involved in its design, development and production: British Aerospace, MBB and Aeritalia, now BAE Systems, EADS and Alenia Aeronautica, to build a European military aircraft capability in support of their Air Forces and to develop new technical knowledge and expertise, later transferred to the most advanced European air defence programme of today, the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Capability upgrades, Life Extension packages and In-Service Support activities managed by Panavia have all contributed to sustaining the life of the Tornado up to at least the year 2025.

Photo Courtesy of Panavia

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