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Tornado GR1 (Hardback)

An Operational History

Aviation > Royal Air Force Colour Books Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Cold War Photographic Books

By Michael Napier
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 251
ISBN: 9781473873025
Published: 23rd August 2017



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Replacing the Vulcan, Buccaneer and Jaguar in the front line of the Cold War, the remarkable “swing-winged” Tornado GR1 provided Britain’s strike capability in the last years of the Cold War in the 1980s, equipping some 10 RAF squadrons. During the Gulf War, Tornado GR1 crews led Britain’s contribution to Coalition operations against Iraq, and in the subsequent years Tornado GR1s were involved almost continuously in operations over Iraq. In 1999 the Tornado GR1 force carried out offensive missions over Kosovo as part of NATO operations in the Balkans.

The Tornado GR1’s Terrain Following Radar gave the aircraft a unique capability: it was the first RAF aircraft to have the ability to operate at low-level at night and in all-weathers. The incredible flexibility of both the aircraft and its crews was demonstrated by the successful switch to medium-level operations using laser-guided weapons after the Cold War.

Produced in the same style format as Javelin: An Operational History (which approaches the subject from the perspective of the RAF squadrons which operated the aircraft), Tornado GR1: An Operational History describes in detail the accomplishments and day-to-day workings of the operational RAF Tornado GR1 units in the UK, Germany, the Middle East and across the globe. The book is underpinned by research from original official documents, augmented by the personal accounts by Tornado air- and ground-crews. It is richly illustrated throughout with photographs of the aircraft.

This is the definitive book for anyone interested in the operational history of this remarkable and combat proven aircraft.

It packs alot of information and facts from the early days through to its last flight and it written in a way that appeals to novices or seasoned aircraft veteran enthusiasts.

You will only need this book about the aircraft as it is without a doubt the best book on the market relating to the jet.

Amazon Customer, Richard Domoney-Saunders

This operational history of the Tornado GR1 is a detailed and engrossing view of the challenges faced by aircrews and the tactics developed during NATO exercises and ‘real world’ combat missions from Bosnia to the Middle East.

Air Forces Monthly, February 2018 – reviewed by Glenn Sands

Michael Napier's fifth book looks at the Tornado GR1, the first comprehensive account of its role as a nuclear bomber.
Official records have not yet been released in to the public domain, and this book has some of the best photographs of Tornados, crews, low-level flying and bombing missions that I have seen.

Journal of the British Airline Pilot's Association

The latest in Pen and Sword's brilliant fighter aircraft series looks at the Tornado in all its glory, and with a superb set of commemorative photographs. Amazing!

Books Monthly

The author is a former Tornado pilot who has researched and spoken with former comrades to produce an excellent and unique account of the Tornado GR1 and its part in the 1990-1991 Gulf War. The Tornado was born as a multi-role swing-wing combat aircraft for use in Europe against any Soviet threats. Later marks are still in frontline service but the story of the GR1 has not previously been told well – Highly Recommended.

Read the complete review here.


As featured in

RAF NEWS, Friday October 6th 2017
 Michael Napier

About Michael Napier

The elder son of an army officer, Michael Napier was educated at Ellesmere College and learned to fly in 1977. He joined the RAF the following year and, after qualifying as a fast jet pilot, he flew Tornados from RAF Bruggen and Hawks from RAF Chivenor. His military flying career encompassed both the Cold War and operations over Iraq after the Gulf War. Michael, who is now an airline captain, lives in the Cotswolds.

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