The Tornado Years, More Adventures of a Cold War Fast-jet Navigator

The author began recounting his fast-jet Cold War career with “The Buccaneer Years” and this new book is another excellent instalment that will be eagerly read by professionals and enthusiasts. In this stage of his career as an air navigator in the RAF, he has transitioned from the Buccs to the multi-role Tornado and once more supports his text with two fine full colour photo-plate sections. – Most Highly Recommended.

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NAME: The Tornado Years, More Adventures of a Cold War Fast-jet Navigator
FILE: R3156
AUTHOR: Wing Commander David Herriot
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Air World
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £25.00                                                               
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:  Cold War, air war, warplanes, fast-jet, Tornado, Multi-role Combat 
Aircraft, swing wing, afterburner, twin engine, pilots, navigators, Buccaneer, 
bombers, ground support

ISBN: 1-52675-894-6

PAGES: 246
IMAGE: B3156.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/wbra9sp
DESCRIPTION: The author began recounting his fast-jet Cold War career with “The 
Buccaneer Years” and this new book is another excellent instalment that will be 
eagerly read by professionals and enthusiasts. In this stage of his career as an air 
navigator in the RAF, he has transitioned from the Buccs to the multi-role 
Tornado and once more supports his text with two fine full colour photo-plate 
sections. – Most Highly Recommended.

When the Tornado reached the squadrons it was a multi-role combat aircraft produced 
by a multi-national development and manufacturing program with a percentage 
sharing system. Each participating country had its own perceived mission parameters 
and expected to receive a share of the business in the form of areas of participation. It 
was a recipe for an aircraft that would be over-budget, late into service and unable to 
fully perform any of the missions required by any of the air forces using it. The 
Tornado confounded its sternest critics but its development was not without problems. 
The swing wing design was intended to assist it in performing well in any of the 
envisaged scenarios and the US F-111 was meant to achieve the same flexibility. 

With the F-111, all US aviation forces were expected buy it but in the end only the 
USAF purchased the aircraft, later joined by the Royal Australian Air Force. In the 
1990/91 Gulf War, the naval requirements built into the design came into their own.
The USN had required an internal bomb bay which the USAF had only ever used to 
carry golf clubs and luggage of the crew when they redeployed. During the Gulf War 
the, by then elderly, F-111 was able to mount a laser designator in the bomb bay to 
enable it to drop 1000lb smart bombs on Iraqi tanks in their sand bunkers from 
17,000 ft. From that height a 1,000lb bomb had enough kinetic energy  to destroy a 
Soviet-built tank even if it failed to explode.

For the RAF, the Tornado was expected to replace a range of aircraft including the 
Buccaneer, serving as a bomber, interdicted, fighter, ground attack aircraft and, 
eventually, as a dedicated long range interceptor. It performed remarkably well in all 
roles but that was not a universal perception amongst crews and there were a number 
of problems in service, including a reluctance for the ejector seats to fire. One pilot 
who was posthumously commended for staying with his aircraft to avoid hitting 
buildings on the ground had, according to his navigator who safely ejected, been 
desperately trying to persuade his elector seat to fire. A number of crews refused to 
fly the Tornado for a time after that although it was a short lived mutiny.  

The author has continued his story into the Tornado years in the same enjoyable style 
and this is a book to value. A good read, well-illustrated and rare coverage of the 
subject.