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The mission envisaged during the Cold War was the delivery of conventional and nuclear ordnance on the invading forces of the Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe; this dictated several significant features of the design.
Variable wing geometry, allowing for minimal drag during the critical low-level dash towards a well-prepared enemy, had been desired from the project's start.
Due to its multirole design, it was able to replace several different fleets of aircraft in the adopting air forces.
The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) became the only export operator of the Tornado in addition to the three original partner nations.
Flight testing led to the need for minor modifications.
Airflow disturbances were responded to by re-profiling the engine intakes and the fuselage to minimise surging and buffeting experienced at supersonic speeds.
France had made a favourable offer to Belgium on the Dassault Mirage 5, which created doubt as to whether the MRCA would be worthwhile from Belgium's operational perspective.
The Tornado was used by the Royal Air Force (RAF), Italian Air Force and RSAF during the 1991 Gulf War, in which the Tornado conducted many low-altitude penetrating strike missions.The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing multirole combat aircraft, which was jointly developed and manufactured by Italy, the United Kingdom, and West Germany.There are three primary Tornado variants: the Tornado IDS (interdictor/strike) fighter-bomber, the suppression of enemy air defences Tornado ECR (electronic combat/reconnaissance) and the Tornado ADV (air defence variant) interceptor aircraft.The participating nations all had ageing fleets that required replacing; but, as the requirements were so diverse, it was decided to develop a single aircraft that could perform a variety of missions that were previously undertaken by a fleet of different aircraft.Canada had found the project politically unpalatable; there was a perception in political circles that much of the manufacturing and specifications were focused on Western Europe.