Harrier and Tornado Weapon Loads

During our recent discussion and comments elsewhere, one of the issues that came out in discussions about the relative merits of each type was the difference in weapons carriage. Although the availability of Brimstone or Storm Shadow was in reality, a very small part of the discussion it is still interesting to see the differences.

RAF Tornado GR4
RAF Tornado GR4

Apart from weapons like Storm Shadow, which is large and therefore physically difficult for a small aircraft like Harrier, it is interesting to note the differences that are largely due to funding issues.

Anyway, here is the table

Tornado GR4 Harrier GR9
Targeting/Reconnaissance Pods
Litening 3 (Recce/Datalink) Advanced Targeting Pod Yes No
Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod Yes Yes
Reconnaissance Airborne Pod Tornado (RAPTOR) Yes No
Digital Joint Reconnaissance Pod (DJRP) Yes Yes
Thermal Imagining Airborne Laser Designator Pod (TIALD) Yes Yes
Air to Ground Weapons
Paveway IV (500lb GPS/Laser Guided Bomb) Yes Yes
Dual Mode Seeker Brimstone Missile Yes No
Legacy Brimstone Missile Yes No
Storm Shadow Yes No
Mauser BK-27 Cannon Yes No
Air Launched Anti Radiation Missile (ALARM) Yes No
Paveway II (1000lb Laser Guided Bomb) Yes Yes
Paveway III (20001b Laser Guided Bomb) Yes Yes
Enhanced Paveway II (10001b GPS/Laser Guided Bomb) Yes Yes
Enhanced Paveway III (20001b GPS/Laser Guided Bomb) Yes No
Enhanced Paveway II+ (10001b GPS/Laser Guided Bomb) No Yes
CRV-7 Rocket Pod No Yes
Maverick AGM-65 No Yes
10001b Dumb Freefall/Retard Yes Yes
5401b Dumb Freefall/Retard Yes Yes
Air To Air Weapons
AIM-9L Sidewinder Yes Yes
Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile (ASRAAM) Planned 2012 No




UK Complex (Guided) Weapons – Reference



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Sven Ortmann
Sven Ortmann
November 21, 2010 11:01 pm

Buy 60 Rafale Ms adapted to different weapons and EJ200 engines or not and get over with it!

November 21, 2010 11:09 pm

Storm Shadow range over 250km with a 450kg warhead.

TLAM operational range 2500km with a 450kg warhead.

Guess which one we are buying in oodles and oodles……

Remind me again how much Raptor costs a copy?

On this basis is Tornado better than Typhoon 2 too?

November 22, 2010 4:14 am


You realise that the Storm Shadow can be equipped to aircraft, and a Tomahawk cannot, right?

All oliticians are the Same
All oliticians are the Same
November 22, 2010 6:09 am


Tomahawk can be air launched just not by anything in the UK ORBAT.

November 22, 2010 6:24 am

I never understood why the UK didn’t retrofit the 30mm, or even the (USMC) GAU 25mm on the Harrier. Regardless of the troubles with the “next-gen ADEN”, strafing runs have proven to be quite effective, especially during CAS.

November 22, 2010 6:36 am

X – it’s also a matter of intel and targeting. You’d need specialized info to attack specific ‘deep’ targets at 2,500 km, which means reliance on US (strategic) recce data.
Although that new UK/US intel agreement might cover that, it’s still an Achilles Heel having to depend on others to make your deep strike ship/sub missile effective, especially when attacking time-sensitive, movable targets.

November 22, 2010 7:58 am

I think there’s an error here. For what i know, the Harrier GR9 does carry the Brimstone.

If this article was correct http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1216149/VIDEO-New-precision-missile-takes-Taliban-leaving-civilians-unharmed.html
it would seem the Harrier GR9 was actually the first using in combat a Brimstone Dual Mode too.

As to the RAPTOR, we make far too much noise about it as well. The fact that the RAF called it “for Tornado” does not mean it is true.
The RAPTOR is a Goodrich DB110 recce system that the RAF uses on Tornado but that is used even by Pakistan on F16 and that can be used on many other aircraft platforms as well. I’m pretty sure it could have been integrated on Harrier GR9 if the Tornado was to go, and i’m sure it can (and most likely will if it will still be useful by then) be integrated on the Typhoon when the Tornado bows out.
It has already been test-flown on MQ9 Reapers too.
http://www.spyflight.co.uk/predator.htm There’s a photo too.

As to the ALARM: i heard rumors that its integration on Typhoon was delayed/cancelled because the missile will be retired in 2013?????? Certainly that can’t be correct, right…?

November 22, 2010 8:07 am

Further on intel: Litening III EF targeting pod has been selected for the Tornado and Typhoon to standardise on a single system. With its data link it really is an ISTAR asset as well (why on earth should the Sentinels be withdrawn after Afghanistan when there is a dearth of alternatives as things now stand?).

More tactically, the RAPTOR reconnaissance pod on the Tornado provides exceptional imagery. When and as UAVs take more of the load and the operator is in remote, this capability becomes more critical than ever.Tests on the Predators in service with the RAF have proved that commonality across manned and unmanned platforms can be achieved.

Further into the future, when (and if) the ground attack capabilities are integrated onto Typhoon then RAPTOR is/ should be an obvious component(?).

November 22, 2010 8:41 am

Can a Tomahawk really fly 2,500 km at 30 metres on a terrain following course? Or is that the “If you drop it from 60,000ft and fly it high and straight” range?

They claim to have designed a version with 1000km range launchable from a SYLVER 70 or a 533 torpedo tube.

November 22, 2010 10:10 am

DominicJ naturally those details are classified. Also weapon ranges as we all know are not clear cut as variables play a huge part.

November 22, 2010 10:17 am

Sorry that was rhetorical, I wasnt expecting a better answer.
It is of course possible that the Tomahawk really has 10x the range at half the cost, but I’d guess its unlikely.

The 2,500km range will be from a high flying fast platform with a high flight path on a good day.
The 250km range will be from low flying platform with a low flight path, and probably on a good day too.

November 22, 2010 10:34 am

:) Ahh no problem im a bit brain dead in the morning. Whenever im pondering things i generally knock 20% off the range from whatever official source i can find. I suppose you can’t really sell missles or weapons with realistic conservation performance figures.

November 22, 2010 1:57 pm

People you are supposed to comment on TD’s article not my mad ramblings……… :)

@ Marcase
Yes I know about intel’ angle. I would suggest anything 250km into somebody’s else territory would require the same level of intel’ as something launched 2,500km away.

@ B

Yes I know what Tomahawk can be hung off thank you or shoved out of. My point is that with the TLAM the “something” doesn’t have to be fast jet costing about 100x the cost of the ordnance it is dropping and probably won’t need to incur the cost of a tanker or tankers to get the fast jet into range.

DJ said “They claim to have designed a version with 1000km range launchable from a SYLVER 70 or a 533 torpedo tube.”

Yes the French are going to equip the land attack/GP version of FREMM with this missile.

paul g
November 22, 2010 2:45 pm

sven, why not buy gripen NG? naval version in the pipeline very little modification required and then “normal” ones for RAF CAS same aircraft = same training and watching it land on roads reminds of the jaguar, forward opeating bases? no problem pick a road out of the AA atlas!

paul g
November 22, 2010 2:47 pm

forgot to say cost $41-$60 million cheap as chips could save enough to trial EJ200 in the thing as well

November 22, 2010 4:32 pm

Also, an Air-Launched Tomahawk is NOT available.

It is PROBABLY feasible to make a Tomahawk air-launched (even if it is suspect americans did not do it yet, if it was all that easy), but so far there is not.

Better to compare the Storm Shadow to JASSM, SLAM-ER and Taurus. Compare an air-launched cruise with a ship/submarine launched weapon is not exactly correct.

November 22, 2010 4:49 pm

Talking of Air Launched Tomahawk you probably referred to the ALCM AGM-86, but they merely use the same engine and part of the guidance system.

The ALCM is NOT a Tomahawk, is the result of a separate programme of development (Tomahawk – US Navy, ALCM – USAF)

Most of the ALCM are Nuclear-tipped and a good half of the remaining stock is to be retired and destroyed, along with the stealth AGM-129 in compliance to START treaties.

The ALCM has never been exported and production was terminated in 1986, with the latter Conventional-warhead variants being developed removing the nuke from existing missiles.

Also, it costed 1.000.000 dollars EACH in 1980 dollars. In today dollars, its cost would not compare well with Storm Shadow.
Again, it is used by behemoths such as the B52. Not sure that it would have been possible to fire it from Tornado.

November 22, 2010 6:11 pm

Gabriele said “Better to compare the Storm Shadow to JASSM, SLAM-ER and Taurus. Compare an air-launched cruise with a ship/submarine launched weapon is not exactly correct.”

The defence review was driven by costs; it wasn’t a game of Defence Systems Top Trumps. What we are on about here is the most cost effective way to deliver 450kg of HE on to a grid reference. One of Tornado’s plus points is apparently that it can carry Storm Shadow which if I am lead to believe of which we are buying 900. So I am comparing like for like.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
November 22, 2010 10:51 pm

Much has been made of the loss of gun pods for the Harrier. I know I’ve seen it on GR.7/9’s in reference books. And a quick Google later, here you are:


As GR.7 was only and interim GR.9, then the “about to be retired” GR.9’s should be able to carry them as well. Of course I wouldn’t put it past the “light blue” team to have ditched all the pods so they could standardise on 27mm Mauser!

El Sid
El Sid
November 22, 2010 11:05 pm

For those that hadn’t realised, this article comes from an answer in the House of Lords on 11/Nov/2010 given by Lord Astor, a junior minister at the MoD :


@Gabriele – it’s interesting that the Harrier usage of DMS Brimstone only came in the last few days of the Harrier deployment, probably when they were doing mixed sorties with the incoming Tornados. I have a feeling that this one and only (?) drop of a DMS Brimstone from a Harrier was in partnership with a Tornado, with the Tornado lighting up the target with Litening III.

Basic Brimstone capability was meant to be added in Capability D of the JUMP programme, so I’m not sure why Astor said it wasn’t on the Harrier, although note that these are weapons officially cleared for carriage, maybe they’ve not quite signed it off yet.

Ah – I’ve just seen a comment elsewhere that the Mail got mixed up, it was a Tornado launch rather than a Harrier, which explains why it didn’t happen until the Tornados got to ‘stan.

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
November 23, 2010 9:00 am

Dave, the Harrier needs to have a barrier of some kind where the gunpods are, to prevent exhaust gas recirculation in vertical landings (which causes loss of control). When the pods aren’t fitted, you’ll see strakes there instead to do this job.

What happened with the Harrier GR.7+ guns was this: they were intended to use a new version of the Aden in the NATO 25mm calibre. This installation ran into lots of technical problems, the final one proving insurmountable (the sharpness of the curve in the belt feed from the ammo tank to the gun caused frequent stoppages). So the Aden 25 was binned a decade ago, after about 100 had been made.

The gunpods have been retained rather than replaced by strakes simply because they make useful storage space in a very cramped plane – they are stuffed full of electronics.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
November 23, 2010 2:05 pm


Thanks for that, I’d heard about gas recirculation problems and the ventral strakes for AV-8B generation Harriers, but hadn’t realised that we were using the gunpod containers for this. I’d also heard about the problems with the Aden25, but no details – I hadn’t connected the two.

Somewhat Removed
November 23, 2010 5:56 pm

It’s all very well comparing weapon types, but is there any reliable information available on how much each can carry? Tornado is the larger and more powerful airframe, surely it can carry significantly more? And for longer?

Isn’t Typhoon armed with a block of concrete where the gun should be?

El Sid
El Sid
November 23, 2010 6:31 pm

@Somewhat Removed – you’re several years out of date on the Typhoon gun : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1530420/Typhoon-wins-gun-dogfight.html

Sharkey Ward has been banging on about how the Harrier (presumably since the “A” engine upgrade?) can carry just as much as the Tornado when hot and high, Lord Astor gave typical loadouts in that Hansard link I gave above :

“the Tornado GR4 when fitted with the LITENING III advanced targeting pod can carry three Paveway IV weapons, three Brimstone guided missiles and one cannon loaded with 135 rounds of 27 millimetre ammunition. Alternatively, when fitted with the RAPTOR reconnaissance pod the Tornado GR4 can carry two Paveway IV weapons and one cannon loaded with 135 rounds of 27 millimetre ammunition; and the Harrier GR9 when previously on duty in Afghanistan and fitted with the Sniper advanced targeting pod could carry two Paveway IV weapons, two CRV-7 unguided rocket pods (38 rockets total) and one Digital Joint Recce Pod (DJRP). The two CRV-7 Pods could be replaced by two additional Paveway IV weapons; or two Maverick missiles; or one CRV-7 Pod and one Maverick missile respectively.”

Noting the comments in that Telegraph link about how unguided rockets are useless for CAS as far as the guys on the ground are concerned, I’d say two Paveway IV’s and 2 Mavericks ain’t too different to 3 Paveway IV’s and a 3-missile pylon of Brimstones, given that in the real world <10-20% of missions in 'stan result in any weapon being fired, it was something like 3 Paveways and 3 Brimstones in the whole of August. However cannons are useful, and are used as much as anything in 'stan.

November 23, 2010 6:54 pm


Surely not just how much, but what: No anti-radiation missiles on Harrier, so a Harrier fleet on its own devices trying to deal with AD would not fare too well with any opponent with more than MANPADS?

Not a scenario for what Harrier was planned, but if you think of a far-out deployment from carriers / thru-deck cruisers on their own?

However, I think in Falklands a Harrier took out a Contraves-Oerlikon Fledermaus AA control station (at the time, state-of-the-art).But the leading-in article does not show how/ with what (payload)…

BTW: The remaining AA units were taken as war bounty and used in the RAF “experimental station”, I guess to practise against.

El Sid
El Sid
November 23, 2010 11:32 pm

– wasn’t that a Shrike fired from the Vulcan that ended up in Brazil?

ISTR that the final score was something like 3-0 to the Oerlikons vs the Harriers.

November 24, 2010 12:02 am

@El Sid 11:32

Thanks, that sets my memory straight!

Was it that many (3)? At least air-to-air 20 to none! But that is “the good old times”. Two thirds of the batteries (cum the modernised control stations were sent back to Oerlikon in Zuerich and used back here.

I looked up for the header for this thread, but I still cannot resist (!) to mention the Oerlikon Millennium which is on the much-touted Danish flex-ships. It has (since the Falklands) been optimised against sea-skimming missiles and the number of munitions (very heavy, each of them) that spread out from each round is unbelievable.

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
November 24, 2010 4:02 am

Ah, automatic cannon and their ammo – my favourite subject!

The British collected various Argentinian AA guns as war booty from the Falklands. I recall seeing a 20mm Oerlikon in the Imperial War Museum not long after the conflict, and several of the big twin 35mm Oerlikon mountings were operated by the RAF Regiment for a few years (some ammo was made for them in the UK).

Yes, the 35mm Oerlikon AHEAD system is very interesting – basically, an updated version of the 18th century Shrapnel round with electronic time fuze setting. In its standard form, the shell is packed with 152 tungsten-alloy subprojectiles each weighing 3.3 grams. The FCS determines the range to the target and sets the fuze as the shell leaves the muzzle, so that a small burster charge opens up the shell just in front of the target, sending a cone of sub-projectiles into its path. This is effective against both aircraft and missiles (and could also shred an attacking speedboat), and has a longer effective range than other gun CIWS like Phalanx and Goalkeeper.

Incidentally, the usefulness of the 70mm rockets is about to undergo a revolution, with several different conversion kits to precision laser guidance becoming available. These allow each missile to hit a target at out to c.8 km with a precision of less than one metre, with a more limited destructive effect than Hellfire to minimise collateral damage – and at a small fraction of the cost. I can see those things being strapped to almost anything: helos, fighters, ships, vehicles…

November 24, 2010 8:38 am

Hi Tony @ 4:02,

Just to add:
“I recall seeing a 20mm Oerlikon in the Imperial War Museum not long after the conflict”
-Oerlikon invented the autocannon with their 20 mm
– this was before(!) WW1 and was still the favourite weapon on the boats of the US Riverine Command in Vietnam
– effectively the Riverine Command was only reconstituted when it was needed in the ancient land of twin rivers, Iraq, but this has been so little publicised that whether the venerable veteran was still being used – I don’t know.

Shrapnel and AHEAD are different in an important way as the explosion spreads shrapnel in all directions, but the AHEAD ammo (should I call them submunitions? as opposed to the round that is initially fired)maintain there forward flight and disperse in a very controlled fashion

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
November 24, 2010 9:55 am

ACC, Oerlikon didn’t invent 20mm cannon – that was the German Becker company, which simultaneously developed the API blowback method of operation. After WW1 Germany was banned from such developments so the rights were acquired by SEMAG, a Swiss company, who did some more development work before selling the rights on to Oerlikon in 1924. Oerlikon did further development of the API blowback and were producing three different ranges of 20mm cannon (low, medium and high velocity) by the late 1920s. The USN and the RN used huge quantities of the licence-built high-velocity Oerlikons in WW2. You might be interested in my web article on Oerlikon history, here: http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/apib.html

The US also made quite a lot of use of the 20mm Hispano aircraft cannon on board ships, this resembles the Oerlikon but is faster-firing and has slightly more powerful ammo. They certainly had these in the 1980s and I think the 1990s as well.

The API blowback was limited in the amount of power it could handle so after WW2 Oerlikon switched to gas operation and developed much more powerful ammo in 20mm and larger calibres. It was those which the Argentinians were using, which bore no technical relationship to the WW2 guns except for the calibre. Incidentally, some RN ships in the Falklands were still equipped with the old WW2 Oerlikon guns.

The primary purpose of the gunpowder in the old Shrapnel shells was to burst the shell open and spread the fall of shot, but this was still moving forwards at the shell’s velocity. This is unlike modern HE Fragmentation which has a far higher percentage of HE and a lower weight of fragments which are spread in all directions at a very high velocity. So in terms of its effect, Shrapnel is much closer to the AHEAD ammo than it is to HE/Frag.

You might be interested in looking for a copy of a book I published a decade ago: ‘Rapid Fire: the Development of Automatic Cannon, Heavy Machine Guns and their Ammunition for Armies, Navies and Air Forces’. You can read about it on my website: http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/miltech.htm

November 24, 2010 10:30 am

Thanks Tony (@9:55),

A lot of good stuff. Wiki will also need your first link as they have their facts wrong re:Oerlikon before WW2.

paul g
November 24, 2010 10:53 am

i’ve been harking on about the 70mm guided on here for ages! i can’t believe it was originally sheleved, BAe had a good system, even now it’s only at low level production. like you say this badger can be strapped to anything, if we had any sense it would be strapped to the ugly callsigns (apache) in the sandpit asap cheap as chips, opens new possiblities

November 24, 2010 2:12 pm

A bit off topic.

I recently read about how the Saab Gripen has an automated, radar-guided aiming mode for its gun. This got me wondering about whether you could do the same thing with CRV-7 rockets. Regarding their accuracy, the Wikipedia page makes the following claim,

“The weapon was originally quoted to have a dispersion of 4 milliradians, but testing with the CF-18 Hornet demonstrated it was even lower, at 3 milliradians.[4] This is considerably better than the autocannon that arm most aircraft; the widely-used M61 Vulcan is rated at 8 milliradians, while the much larger and considerably heavier GAU-8 is rated at 5 milliradians.[5]”


Could a fire control computer use radar ranging, GMTI target vectors, and environmental readings (e.g. wind, barometric pressure) to allow reliable hits on a vehicle or small boat with a small burst of flechette CRV-7s? It might be a lot cheaper to make the platform smart than the munition.

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
November 24, 2010 2:31 pm

I have read that comment on the relative accuracy of CVR-7 and guns before, and I simply don’t believe it – not unless the range chosen was so long that the gun’s shells had destabilised and were tumbling all over the place. There is no way that an unguided rocket can beat a gun for accuracy within the gun’s effective range.

November 24, 2010 2:54 pm


I would be surprised too. However even if the rockets were just “reasonably” accurate, I wonder if radar-aimed CRV-7s with flechette warheads could be a poor-man’s substitute for laser-guded rockets against fixed or moving targets?

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
November 24, 2010 3:15 pm

I’m sure the rockets could be effective against such targets in barrage fire at fairly short range. However, with SAL guidance you only need to fire one at each target, out to the maximum range of the missile. It’s a real game-changer, at least as much as guided bombs have proved to be.

November 24, 2010 3:34 pm

Certainly they have always been effective in barrage mode. I was just wondering if the addition of an automated radar aiming mode could improve accuracy enough to get hits with a small number of rockets. Perhaps not. Maybe laser-guided rockets are the way to go.

paul g
November 24, 2010 10:03 pm

good video on the laser guided modification for the hydra rocket, note it just screws inbetween warhead and motor, BAe made guys in the sandpit screaming for CAS gotta be a winner on the already fitted for apache

paul g
November 24, 2010 10:09 pm

bugger should’ve checked before posting!! updated vid with moving targets etc

November 25, 2010 7:53 am

There are also systems from Raytheon and Lockheed Martin that add a SAL seeker to a 2.75″ rocket.

Regarding unguided accuracy, CRV-7 has motor burn-out at a kilometre or so. Accuracy will be measured at typical use ranges, so 1 to 3km, where 9-12m dispersion isn’t too unreasonable and 24m for a 20mm gun wouldn’t be a surprise.

paul g
November 25, 2010 11:56 am

at the end of the video it shows that they fired 35 rounds in the 2 day testing period all but one were within the 2m circle target and the one outside was on the line

Somewhat Removed
November 25, 2010 1:36 pm

A more up to date close range gun isn’t going to happen – RN just invested in the ASCG which is simply an EOD-controlled gun (MSI Seahawk), no counter missile capability. No way we’ll splash out on anything fancy now.

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
November 25, 2010 2:45 pm

I heard a funny story about the ASCG, which uses a 30mm Bushmaster cannon instead of the old 30mm Oerlikon KCB gun in the manually-operated mounts. Apparently one of the selling points was that the Bushmaster could fire the same ammo as the Oerlikon, so much loot would be saved by using up all the old practice ammo. Sadly, the decision-makers didn’t know much about ammo and didn’t read the small print on the gun brochure. The fact is, the Oerlikon uses 30×170 ammo while the Bushy uses 30×173, of similar size and performance but definitely not interchangeable; the gun can use the old ammo only be fitting it with a new barrel. Which would have more than soaked up the savings gain by using up the old ammo….red faces day!

Incidentally, the Bushy only fires at about one-third the rate of the Oerlikon, so it scarcely presents a threat to aircraft let alone missiles. It’s a rather glorified small-boat basher. In contrast, the Germans have adopted (and sold abroad) the rival MLG 27 remote-controlled mount which houses a 27mm Mauser BK27 aircraft cannon (as used by the RAF) firing at 1,700 rpm instead of 200 rpm for the Bushy. Now that’s serious firepower…