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Successful makeover for the German Tornado: Tornado Service Life Enhancement

Extended service life for the German Tornado.

The first overhauled machine took off with new structural packages for the acceptance flight: the Tornado of the German Air Force with the serial number 43+42 successfully completed its first factory flight after extensive structural measures on February 8, 2021 at Airbus Manching.

On behalf of the The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), the necessary measures for a structural lifespan of up to 8,000 flight hours are currently being developed and implemented. This German Service Life Enhancement Program (SLE) is a Panavia contract in a trinational context, including the two System Design Responsibilities Airbus and BAE Systems.

By scaffolding extensive structural packages and thanks to numerous inspection measures, the first Tornado after its successful acceptance flight was extended to up to 8000 flight hours. This will ensure that the German Tornado fleet will be fully operationally also in the future.

Even after more than 45 years in use, the Tornado continues to be brought up to date with the latest technology. Whether measures to extend the life of its structure, updates to avionics, new head-up displays in the cockpit, modernized air defence systems or the integration of new weapons: Panavia Aircraft GmbH is tasked to keep the Tornado operational. This includes also important innovations that are a prerequisite for interoperability with other weapon systems within the NATO alliance, for example a digital communication system with improved cryptography capabilities. The Tornado is prepared for the years to come and perfectly fit for the future.