Designed and built as a collaborative project between the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, and originally named the Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, the prototype Tornado Interdictor Strike aircraft (IDS) first flew in August 1974. The aircraft has variable geometry wings and is powered by two Turbo-Union RB199-34R turbofans, with a maximum speed of 1452 mph and a service ceiling of 50000 feet. The Air Defence Variant (ADV) version of the Tornado is optimised for long-range interception with radar and infra-red guided air-to-air missiles and one internally mounted 27mm Mauser cannon.
The first of 229 Tornado GR.1 strike aircraft was delivered to the Royal Air Force in 1981 and the first squadron equipped with the aircraft became operational in 1982. The GR.1 is capable of carrying a wide range of armaments, including conventional and anti-airfield bombs, laser-guided bombs, air-to-ground rockets and anti-radar missiles. During the 1991 Gulf War, the Tornado GR.1 force flew 1500 operational sorties mainly against airfields, air defence sites and bridges. Six aircraft were lost in low-level missions.
Tornado GR.1 ZA354 first flew on 13 January 1982 and was involved in drop tank, armament and fatigue testing trials throughout its life. It last flew on 17 March 2004 and arrived at Elvington from British Aerospace, Warton, Lancashire on 28 April 2005.