The Tornado ECR has some specialised mission equipment optimised for electronic reconnaissance roles and electronic combat. Normally operating in co-operation with other airborne forces, it is used for clearing a route or area through enemy defences, target location or formation protection, thus greatly increasing the combat power of a force of strike aircraft.
Based in the Tornado IDS airframe and retaining its proven capabilities, the ECR Tornado utilises the basic platform and in particular the gun and ammunition bays of the IDS, to house sophisticated electronic warfare equipment. The emitter location system (ELS) located in the gun bays and wing roots of the aircraft, will detect, locate and classify enemy emitters, including air defence radars and communications stations. The Forward Looking Infra-red (FLIR) assists in operating and navigating the aircraft in darkness and adverse weather conditions. Imagery is displayed on rear cockpit´s displays or on the pilot´s HUD. Tornado ECR carries the High Speed Anti Radiation Missile (HARM AGM-88), a high performance missile with a considerable stand-off range, identifying and homing onto air defence, missile, gun fire-control and early warning radars. HARM can be fired on position information from the ELS, without acquiring the target until after launch. The location and processing power in the ELS combined with the HARM missile gives a lethal and effective defence suppression tool.