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FThe German government has decided to recall its reconnaissance Tornados from Afghanistan.(credit: ISAF)From day one, the Tornados were not a great fit for NATO's surveillance needs in Afghanistan -- for instance, they deployed with a film-based imaging system that in no way could deliver timely information to combatants. Oddly, the decision to end the deployment comes after Germany upgraded the aircraft with the RecceLite reconnaissance system to provide real-time intelligence.The German defense ministry says the six Tornados will leave Mazar-e-Sharif in November. The move comes after NATO commanders have apparently let it be known the Tornados were not particularly useful; the argument has been that troops need loitering eyes-in-the-sky, not fast recce, which the Tornado provides. The German air force now has Heron unmanned aircraft contributing to building the intelligence picture for NATO's ISAF troops. The lease contract for those was recently extended a further two years until October 2012. Germany says it will use the 90 positions freed up under its 5,000 troop ceiling for Afghanistan for other roles, such as training.For the Luftwaffe, there is at least one bright spot from the deployment: it freed up funding for acquisition of a modern reconnaissance pod for the Tornados.
ar99, Luftwaffe, Afghanistan
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