Panavia Tornado GR4 (ZA607 / EB-X) from the Royal Air Force at the RIAT 2018, RAF Fairford (United Kingdom)
Notice on the tail; 100 Years (Eurofighter Typhoon) Seek & destroy (Panavia Tornado)
The Panavia Tornado GR4 is the UK's primary ground attack platform and also fulfils an important reconnaissance role. The aircraft conducts attack missions against planned targets, armed reconnaissance against targets of opportunity and Close Air Support (CAS) for ground forces, typically under the control of a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC). For attacks against pre-planned targets the Tornado GR4 usually employs GPS/laser-guided bombs from the Paveway family, or the Storm Shadow cruise missile, the latter fired from considerable stand-off ranges. In the armed reconnaissance and CAS roles, Tornado normally carries a mix of Paveway IV and Dual-Mode Seeker Brimstone, combined with a Litening III targeting pod, and in addition to the internal 27mm gun. This gives the crew an unparalleled array of options to engage targets with the most appropriate weapon, achieving the desired result with minimum, if any, collateral damage.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is to withdraw its fleet of Tornado fighter-bombers from frontline operational service by early 2019.
The transition is being forced by defence cuts, despite the fact that the iconic bomber is still in action against Islamic State in Syria. All 36 Tornado GR4s will be decommissioned by April 2019 as the RAF makes way for 12 Lockheed Martin F-35Bs Lightning II to operate from RAF Marham in Norfolk and the new Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is the world's largest military air show, held annually over the third weekend in July,
usually at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England in support of The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust.
The show typically attracts a total of 150.000 to 160.000 spectators over the weekend.
The 2018 Air Tattoo will reflect the 100th anniversary of the RAF with a commemoration
and celebration of a century of service to the United Kingdom and its allies.