Germany receives first ASSTA 3-upgraded Tornados back into service
By Gareth Jennings
The German Air Force (GAF) has taken delivery of the first two Panavia Tornado Interdiction Strike (IDS) combat aircraft to be upgraded under the EADS Avionics System Software Tornado Ada (ASSTA) 3 upgrade programme, the country's defence procurement agency (BWB) announced on 30 July.
The delivery of the aircraft to the GAF, which took place on 6 July, was the culmination of several months of conversion, certification and acceptance at the Bundeswehr Technical and Airworthiness Center for Aircraft (WTD 61) and at Cassidian's facility in Manching, southern Germany.
With the two earlier ASSTA phases having concentrated on modernising software and hardware to enhance the aircraft's cockpit displays and defensive aids, ASSTA 3 is primarily geared towards installing the Link 16 datalink and other high-performance weapon systems.
Specifically, the programme deals with the integration of a new Tornado Defense Aids Sub System (TDASS), the MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System/Link 16) network-compatible data communications system, a modern VHF/UHF radio set (designated SATURN Radio) and a digital video and data recorder (DVDR). In addition, the Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM) precision guided munition has been integrated onto the aircraft.189 of 344 words
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