EADS Cassidian redelivered to the German air force (GAF) the first two Tornado fighter-bombers to be upgraded to the ASSTA (Avionic System Software Tornado Ada) 3.0 standard. After several months of retrofitting, certification and acceptance flight tests, they were returned to the GAF’s 33rd Wing at Buechel at the end of June.
The ASSTA 3.0 standard includes the integration of the multifunction information distribution system (MIDS); a new radio; a digital video and data recorder; and the dual-mode laser/GPS joint attack munition (LJDAM). Cassidian also reported that development of the ASSTA 3.1 standard is already under way. This involves replacing the monochrome CRT monitors in the rear cockpit with color displays, and greatly expanding the functionality of the net-centric MIDS.
After recent defense cutbacks, the GAF is planning to retain 85 Tornados. They will all be upgraded to the ASSTA standard by 2018.