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Britain/U.K. | Budgets | Fighters & Attack

UK’s Tornado F3 Air Defense Squadrons Retired Early

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Tornado F3 ADV(click to view full) Recent reports had indicated that the RAF was set to disband the 2 Tornado F3 Air Defence Variant squadrons in Leuchars, Scotland a year early. That is now confirmed. The original plan had been to stand down 43 Sqn (The Fighting Cocks) and 111 Sqn (Treble Ones) in late 2010, but they will now disband in September 2009 as a budgetary measure. The Tornado was originally developed as a variable-sweep wing strike fighter optimized for low-level penetration. With 40% of NATO aircraft slated to base in the UK during wartime, and a need to cover NATO’s northern flank in the war’s early days, RAF Strike Command decided that long-legged interceptors were the missing piece… In order to make the conversion, a Foxhunter air-defense radar was added in the nose, one of the two 27mm Mauser cannons was deleted, the fuselage was lengthened to allow carriage of 4 Skyflash medium range air-air missiles (MRAAMs), an extra internal fuel tank was fitted in the lengthened fuselage, and another tank was placed in the tail fin. There wasn’t much to be done about the RB.199 turbofans, however, which were optimized for low-level performance and tended to under-perform […]

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