English translation by Frank McMeiken
The Panavia Consortium was created in 1969, its constitution driven by the requirement of several nations to replace entire generations of aircraft. Of the seven countries involved in the initial stages of the project, only three would remain when it came to fruition in the establishment of a tri-national consortium formed by manufacturers from Germany, Italy, and Great Britain. The consortium selected the name of Panavia Aircraft GMBH, and established its company headquarters in the Bavarian city of Munich, in southern Germany. The project to design a multi-role aircraft was classified as the MRCA (Multi Role Combat Aircraft), which would later become an excellent aircraft, unique in its genre, and known throughout the world as the Tornado.
The first prototype, constructed by MBB in Germany, flew in 1974, while the second, assembled in Great Britain by the British Aircraft Corporation flew a few months later in the same year, while the fitst Italian example from the Alenia production line flew in September 1975. The production run was initially planned to number 809 aircraft, of which 671 would be standard and 138 in dual control configuration for training, to be divided into 385 units for the Royal Air Force, 212 for the Luftwaffe, 112 for the Marineflieger (the German naval air arm) and 100 for the Italian Aeronautica Militare. The first series example flew in 1979, and the aircraft entered service during the eighties, with another 84 aircraft being subsequently supplied to the Royal Saudi Air Force.
Besides the IDS version (Interdiction Defence Strike), a few examples have been converted from IDS to ECR (Electronic Combat Reconnaissance) for the Luftwaffe and the AM, while another variant designated ADV (Air Defence Variant), designed specifically for Great Britain, also saw service with the Aeronautica Militare, with 24 aircraft being temporarily leased from the RAF,. In total, 152 ADV variants were produced for the Royal Air Force 152, and another 24 for Saudi Arabia.
The fortieth anniversary celebrations took place in Germany on 15 and 16 September at the home of the Panavia Aircraft GMBH consortium. To record the achievement, the manufacturer provided all the units still operating the aircraft with commemorative devals to apply to the fin. In Italy, these were attached to a Tornado ECR of the 50° Stormo at Piacenza and a Tornado IDS-IT of the 6° Stormo at Ghedi.