BAE Systems has just successfully delivered the 100th Tornado GR4 Mid-Life Update aircraft to the Royal Air Force.
Air Commodore Brian Schofield, the MOD's Tornado Integrated Project Team Leader, was at Warton to officially receive the aircraft on behalf of the RAF. He commented: "The delivery reinforces the GR4 team's success in consistently achieving schedule adherence, which has been a prominent feature throughout the programme since the first delivery in 1997."
The conversion programme has been extremely demanding from both a budget and an aircraft build perspective, with a GR4 aircraft being delivered every eight working days.
New production methods were introduced from the outset and continually developed during the programme to meet the needs of a modern aircraft return-to-works production environment. The first GR4 aircraft conversion took 12 months; the 100th was completed in just 32 weeks thanks to the new processes introduced.
These new flexible production methods have allowed the team to successfully incorporate 50 additional modifications over and above the original specification. At the same time they have continued to reduce man-hour costs and maintain the same aircraft build timescales.
Steve McNair, Head of Operations, BAE Systems Military Solutions & Support said: "The success of these achievements can clearly be attributed to the hard work, innovative ideas and commitment of the whole GR4 team."
The GR4 programme is due to be completed in May 2003.
--The GR4 contract is worth £1.2 billion. The GR4 programme is an update to the GR1 aircraft that involves modifications to strike, trainer and reconnaissance variants.
--The GR4 standard enhances the existing GR1 capability and introduces structural improvements and an avionics system enabling cutting edge weapons and systems to be progressively introduced. The upgrade includes a range of weapon system improvements including a Thermal Imaging and Laser Designator system (TIALD), which allows it to drop laser-guided Paveway bombs. It also has hands-on throttle and stick controls, a forward looking infra red (FLIR) system and Night Vision Goggle (NVG) compatible cockpit displays, to provide a full night capability.
--The aircraft also has upgrade navigation and warning systems, with the introduction of a laser inertial navigation system and an integrated global positioning system and ground proximity warning system.
BAE Systems employs some 100,000 people and has annual sales of around £12 billion. The company offers a global capability in air, sea, land and space with a world-class prime contracting ability supported by a range of key skills.
BAE Systems designs, manufactures and supports civil and military aircraft, surface ships, submarines, space systems, radar, avionics, communications, electronics, guided weapon systems and a range of other defence products.
BAE Systems Delivers 100th Mid-Life Upgrade Tornado GR4