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Panavia Tornado Retirement


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#1 Dawes

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 0956 AM

IIRC, the Tornado is scheduled to be withdrawn from RAF service next year. As far as the other operators (Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia), will the aircraft continue on for a while?


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#2 BansheeOne

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 1102 AM

The Luftwaffe plans to replace Tornado with the Future Combat Air System from 2025, though how that will look is not quite clear yet. For the manned part, they have requested technical information about the F-15, F-18 and F-35, and the outgoing inspector of the Luftwaffe has stated the latter is preferrable, while politicians want a development of Eurofighter. The big stickup remains US nuclear weapons delivery capability under the NATO nuclear participation scheme, as before. Four years ago everybody seemed just as happy for that to quietly go away along with Tornado, but that was before Crimea and all that followed.


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#3 Dawes

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 1114 AM

If stealth is a desired attribute then the F-35 should win on those grounds. If not, then I would think that a Typhoon variant would win on cost. 


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#4 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 1122 AM

I think as far as we are concerned, its the right time to withdraw them, they are reportedly getting very difficult to keep serviceable now. When you think about it, they have been nearly non stop desert campaigns since 1991. We clearly got our moneys worth out of them though.

 

As far as the aircraft, I think thats probably less important than the weapon that carries the bomb. I vaguely recall the RAF were talking of developing an ALCM a bit like Stormshadow at the end of the cold war, that was canned. It still looks like a better bet than any manned aircraft carrying a bomb, even if it is a glide weapon.


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#5 Dawes

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 1126 AM

Of all the Tornado operators, I would think that the RAF has put the most wear and tear on theirs.


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#6 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 1144 AM

And if you think of their early life, in common with the other operators they would have been spending the first 10 years about about 200 feet. That must really beat up an airframe, even one specially designed for it.


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#7 Dawes

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 1155 AM

Wonder if the USAF's F-111's were as beat up prior to their retirement? The USAF seemed to dump them fairly quickly after the end of the Cold War.


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#8 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 1225 PM

Mind you they were reputedly a handful to maintain. Pretty much like all the swing wing combat aircraft when you think about it, even the Mig23.


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#9 Ivanhoe

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 1608 PM

All the swing-wings had electronics designed in the 1960s, which kinda guarantees an excruciating amount of bench time.
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#10 JasonJ

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 2012 PM

The Luftwaffe plans to replace Tornado with the Future Combat Air System from 2025, though how that will look is not quite clear yet. For the manned part, they have requested technical information about the F-15, F-18 and F-35, and the outgoing inspector of the Luftwaffe has stated the latter is preferrable, while politicians want a development of Eurofighter. The big stickup remains US nuclear weapons delivery capability under the NATO nuclear participation scheme, as before. Four years ago everybody seemed just as happy for that to quietly go away along with Tornado, but that was before Crimea and all that followed.


Isn't 2025 highly optimistic? Maybe 2035? ISTR 2035 for retirement of German Tornados.

A little aside the main topic, basing off of existing aircraft was a recent proposal for the F-3, listed aircraft being the F-18, Typhoon, and F-35. Some speculate that Japan was able to get a close look of the Typhoon for this purpose when 4 British Typhoons visited Misawa Air Base last year.
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#11 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 0322 AM

All the swing-wings had electronics designed in the 1960s, which kinda guarantees an excruciating amount of bench time.

 

Some of the early electronic tanks and vehicles had the same problem. I read the M551 had a major problem with the circuit boards delaminating.


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#12 Calvinb1nav

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 1517 PM

All the swing-wings in US service, F-111, F-14, and the B-1, all had/have reputations for being maintenance hogs.
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#13 Josh

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 1548 PM

Is it specifically the wings which cause that problem in the case of the B-1?
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#14 Getz

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 1913 PM

Is it specifically the wings which cause that problem in the case of the B-1?

 

I can't imagine that it helps.


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#15 Calvinb1nav

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 1150 AM

Is it specifically the wings which cause that problem in the case of the B-1?

No, mostly engines and flight controls.  Swing-wings, however, add to the general complexity of a jet, and there is a correlation between high complexity and higher maintenance needs.


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#16 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 1208 PM

Did I read somewhere they had actually taken the early B1s out of service, because they were in some respects non standard compared to later ones?

They had a similar problem with the F111 where they introduced them before they were ready, introduced various fixes in later ones, and ended up having 2 distinct variants. I hope we can forgo that kind of nonsense with the F35.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 20 March 2018 - 1208 PM.

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#17 shep854

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 1708 PM

More than two, Stuart. EVERY F-111 model was so distinct that direct from transfer of aircrew was impossible. I imagine ground crew was the same.

Edited by shep854, 20 March 2018 - 1708 PM.

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#18 Calvinb1nav

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 1842 PM

Did I read somewhere they had actually taken the early B1s out of service, because they were in some respects non standard compared to later ones?

They had a similar problem with the F111 where they introduced them before they were ready, introduced various fixes in later ones, and ended up having 2 distinct variants. I hope we can forgo that kind of nonsense with the F35.

 

Yea, the '83 and '84 models had different environmental control systems and the bulkheads between the forward and mid bays were fixed (could be move to accommodate the AGM-86 in the 85/86 jets).  Most of the 40 or so that retired where earlier jets or ones that had bad over-Gs, mishaps, or were hangar queens.  I flew the last flight of the first jet built, "The Star of Abilene" before it was put on display at the main gate...despite being the first jet made, it had the fewest number of hours because it was such a hangar queen.  Lots of trial and error with the production line in the beginning of any run of aircraft production from what I understand.  Conversely, the last B-1 built, 86-0140, had the most number of flight hours when I left the B-1.  


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#19 shep854

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 0724 AM

'86-0140'...that just drove home that these birds are 30+ years old...


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#20 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 0801 AM

I felt old when I read the first Tornado had gone into an Aviation Museum. That was something like 10 years ago now. When the Harrier went, I felt ready for the boneyard myself. :D

 

Cheers for clearing that up Calvin.


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