Corgi AA39801 RAF Panavia Tornado F3 Fighter Bomber - ZE763/HD, 111 Squadron, Leuchars, Scotland, 2010 (1:72 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
During the late 1960's a number of European countries examined ways to replace their existing fleet of combat aircraft using next-generation design techniques. Several countries looked at variable geometry wing configurations as a means of making a plane perform well throughout a wider flight envelope. Variable geometry allows the pilot and/or fly by wire system to adapt the aircraft's wing shape to the optimal settings dependant on its height, speed, and load. The Tornado takes this one step further and incorporates swiveling weapons pylons that always ensure the stores are parallel to the airframe, thus minimizing drag and improving airflow across the entire surface of the aircraft especially at low altitudes.
Britain and France joined forces on a variable geometry aircraft project, called the Anglo French Variable Geometry (AFVG) project. France was already in the process of developing a variable geometry airframe of its own. In 1968, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, and Canada formed a working group to look at replacements for the aging F-104. The outcome was initially called the Multi-Role Aircraft (MRA) project, which was later changed to the Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MCRA). Britain later joined this group on the strength of its variable geometry design.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a RAF Panavia Tornado F3 fighter bomber that was attached to 111 Squadron, then deployed to Leuchars, Scotland, during 2010.
Wingspan: 11 inches
Length: 11.25 inches
Release Date: October 2012
Historical Account: "Desert Raider" - Formed in Palestine on August 1st, 1917, 111 Squadron had a long and illustrious career within the RAF, operating aircraft such as the Hurricane and Spitfire during the Second World War, before moving onto the Meteor F8 in the immediate post war period. The last aircraft the Squadron operated before disbandment in March 2011 was the last of the RAFs swing-wing interceptors, the Tornado F3. The disbandment of 111 Squadron also saw the retirement of the Tornado F3.
Serving the RAF well throughout its 25 years of service, the F3 was the RAFs standard interceptor throughout this period; guarding the UKs airspace from their base at RAF Leuchars, Scotland, against any potential intrusions from aircraft such as Russian Bear reconnaissance aircraft.
A spectacular machine that will be sorely missed by both its Squadrons and its adoring public, the Tornado has now been replaced by the even more capable Eurofighter Typhoon.