PICTURES: Cassidian flies upgraded Tornado for German air force

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The German air force will receive its first upgraded Panavia Tornado strike aircraft in mid-2012 under the service's Cassidian-led ASSTA 3.0 avionics modernisation programme.

A test aircraft for the programme flew for the first time with the new software on 8 February from the EADS company's Manching site near Munich.

Key benefits of the new standard include the installation of a multifunctional information distribution system/Link 16 data link, new radios and a digital video and voice recorder. It also includes the integration of Boeing's Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition.

 

© Cassidian

"Over the next few months, a concerted effort will be made to finalise and certify the ASSTA 3.0 software. The first Tornados upgraded will then be delivered to the German air force in mid-2012 as planned," said Cassidian.

The company is already working on an ASSTA 3.1 operating standard, which will bring new colour displays capable of displaying images from the Rafael Reccelite reconnaissance pod.

 

© Cassidian

Cassidian expects Germany to continue operating the Tornado until at least 2025. Flightglobal's MiliCAS database lists the nation's air force as having more than 150 operational examples in the interdictor strike and electronic combat and reconnaissance variants.