Calendar Plane of the Month October: Tornado F3

The Panavia Tornado originated in the 1960s, when the UK was exploring the use of variable geometry aircraft.  Britain got together with West Germany (as it then was), Italy and the Netherlands in 1969 to work jointly on developing an aircraft. The Netherlands soon dropped out when it became apparent that the aircraft being designed was too complex for their needs. 

Before its final name was chosen it was known as the Multi Role Combat Aircraft and it was under this name that Airfix issued their first 1/72 kit of it in 1975, the year after the first prototype took to the air.  The first aircraft were delivered to the RAF and the German air force in 1979.

The current Airfix kit has markings for 111 Squadron

The F3 is the interceptor variant of the Tornado, although it wasn't designed for dogfighting but for dealing with long range Soviet bomber attacks.  This was not of interest to the Italian (although the Italian air force did later buy some) and German partners in the project at the time so it was developed for the RAF alone. The first flight of the F2 version was in 1979 with the upgraded F3 version first flying in 1985.  By the time of the Gulf War in 1991 the F3s were outdated and were confined to patrols back from the front line.  Replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon they were retired from the RAF in March 2011 and all scrapped.

Agent Triple P never built a model of a Tornado as the plane didn't enter service until after we had stopped making model kits,  By 1979 we were far more interested in redheads!
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