RAF Tornado Units of Gulf War I

Combat Aircraft 138


Michael Napier


Janusz Swiatlon

Gareth Hector


This paperback book is the 138th book in the Combat Aircraft series of books that are available from Osprey Publications.

When the Gulf Crisis of 1990 was triggered by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the RAF responded by sending Tornado F 3 fighters to Saudi Arabia to help defend the country against further aggression. These aircraft were followed by the deployment of Tornado GR 1 strike/attack aircraft to Bahrain. Eventually three wings of Tornado GR 1s were established in Bahrain, Tabuk and Dhahran, as well as a detachment of Tornado GR 1A reconnaissance aircraft. At the start of hostilities in January 1991, the Tornado GR 1 wings carried out night-low-level attacks against Iraqi Main Operating Bases using the JP233 runway denial weapon. Meanwhile, Combat Air Patrols from the Tornado F 3 wing ensured the integrity of Saudi airspace.

Once air supremacy had been established, the Tornado GR 1 force moved to medium-level operations, initially by night and later by day, to attack the Iraqi oil production and storage infrastructure. The arrival in theatre of a laser designation capability with Pave Spike/Buccaneer and TIALD/Tornado enabled precision attacks against the Iraq transport system to cut off the frontline troops from resupply and reinforcement and then to carry out a systematic destruction of the airfield facilities. Tornado GR 1A reconnaissance operations played a major role in the location of Scud missile launchers and in the planning and execution of the land offensive. Throughout the conflict, the Tornado F 3 wing at Dhahran carried out defensive counter-air operations to ensure the safety of the base areas. This volume, publishing 30 years after the conflict to free Kuwait, provides detailed first-hand accounts of the missions undertaken by the Tornado crews. It is illustrated by photographs taken by aircrew involved in the operation and includes 30 newly commissioned profile artworks and detailed nose art views of the aircraft ranged against Iraq.

The contents of this book are:

  1.  Preparation for War
  2.  First Day of Conflict
  3.  Counter-Air Campaign
  4.  Medium-Level Operations
  5. Appendices
    – Colour Plate
    – Index


This book is excellent for the Historian and modeler. The Historian will enjoy the detail of the book as it looks at the Tornado aircraft employed during the Gulf War. Finally, the modeler will thoroughly enjoy this book because of all the details presented. The modeler will love to add this book to their library because of all of the color drawings that show the different Tornado units that were deployed during the first Gulf War. They will also enjoy the b&w photographs that should begin to start the creative process to create their own dioramas using these pictures as a guide.


This book is available from Osprey Publications.



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