The Tornado F2 had a troubled introduction to service. Unloved by its crews and procured as a political imperative, it was blighted by failures and was developed to counter a threat that disappeared. Modified rapidly before it could be sent to war, the Tornado F3 eventually matured into a capable weapons system, but despite datalinks and new air-to-air weapons, its poor reputation sealed its fate. The author, a former Tornado F3 navigator, tells the story from an insider’s perspective from the early days as one of the first instructors on the Operational Conversion Unit, through its development and operational testing, to its demise. David Gledhill reflects on its capabilities and deficiencies and analyses why the aircraft was mostly underestimated by opponents. Although many books have already described the Tornado F3, the author’s involvement in its development will provide a unique insight into this complex and misunderstood aircraft programme and dispel some of the myths surrounding it.
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