Panavia was requested to provide a number of options to replace the current RF-4E Phantoms. These options were, something similar to the RAF GR.1A,  Vinten 4000 or Honeywell infrared line scanning system mounted in a reinforced airframe, Vinten\Honeywell option  but pod mounted or a version equipped with the then new EJ200 engines from the Eurofighter.

In 1994 forty Marineflieger airframes were allocated to be modified. These were mainly from MFG 2. The modified airframes went to AKG51. The majority of these airframes were HARM (AGM-88) capable.

Initially nine MBB\Aeritalia pods were obtained which were shared amongst the available airframes. These pods comprised two Zeiss optical wet film cameras and a TI RS-710 infrared line scanner.

New pods were ordered in 1998 and carried two cameras, an infrared line scanner and a data storage system. BITE was also included in the design of these pods. A comprehensive software suite allows real time viewing of the data gathered and a downlink to a ground station.