Tornado GR4 Det at Kandahar
Kandahar Airfield (KAF) is the home of 904 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW). The ever-present Tornado GR4 detachment is part of 904 EAW, operating in support of ground troops and other air assets as part of Op HERRICK 14. A number of images, taken by the 2-man aircrew on board the aircraft, have recently been released and these images, showing this amazing aircraft in action have been placed on our UK Forces Afghanistan Flickr page. These images can be viewed by clicking HERE, or on the image below.
The Tornado GR4 is a variable geometry, two-seat, day or night, all-weather attack aircraft, capable of delivering a wide variety of weapons. Powered by two Rolls-Royce RB 199 Mk 103 turbofan engines, the GR4 is capable of low-level supersonic flight and can sustain a high subsonic cruise speed. The aircraft can fly automatically at low level using terrain-following radar when poor weather prevents visual flight. The aircraft is also equipped with forward-looking infrared and is night-vision goggle compatible, making it a capable platform for passive night operations. For navigation purposes, the Tornado is equipped with an integrated global positioning inertial navigation system that can also be updated with visual or radar inputs. The GR4 is also equipped with a Laser Ranger and Marked Target Seeker system that can be used for ground designation or can provide accurate range information on ground targets.
The GR4 can carry up to three Paveway II, two Paveway III or Enhanced Paveway Laser and Global Positioning System Guided Bombs (LGBs), and by using a Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designation (TIALD) pod it is able to self-designate targets for LGB delivery. The GR4 also has a ground-mapping radar to identify targets for the delivery of conventional 1000lb bombs. All GR4 aircraft are capable of carrying the Air Launched Anti- Radiation Missile (ALARM), which homes on the emitted radiation of enemy radar systems and can be used for the suppression of enemy air defences. The GR4 is capable of carrying up to nine ALARM missiles or a mixed configuration of ALARM missiles and bombs. In the reconnaissance role the GR4 can carry the Digital Joint Reconnaissance Pod to provide detailed reconnaissance imagery; this is currently being replaced with the RAPTOR pod, which provides an even greater day-and night reconnaissance potential.
For self-protection, the GR4 is normally armed with two AIM-9L Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles, a BOZ-107 Pod on the right wing to dispense chaff and flares and a Sky Shadow-2 electronic countermeasures pod on the left wing. The aircraft can also carry an integral 27mm Mauser cannon capable of firing 1700 rounds per minute.
The Tornado GR4 is now equipped with the Storm Shadow missile and the new Brimstone missile. The Storm Shadow allows the Tornado to make precision strikes in poor weather with a greatly increased stand-off range from the target area. Brimstone provides the Tornado with an effective anti-armour weapon, also providing an enhanced stand-off range.