The Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 (Reconnaissance Wing AG 51) was founded at the airbase Erding in South Germany on 7 July 1959. The unit was equipped with 36 Republic RF-84F Thunderflash aircraft from Waffenschule der Luftwaffe 50 and took all of these aircraft with them when the first move, on 5 May 1960, was to be completed. Manching was the new home base from this date. The unit was nicknamed "Immelmann" on 21 April 1961.
At the end of 1963 AG 51 faced the task of transitioning from the Thunderflash to the RF-104G Starfighter. The unit operated the Starfighter until 1971. By the time the type left the unit a total of 61.390 flying hours were completed on the F-104. From 20 January 1971 the unit was the first Luftwaffe unit to equip with the RF-4E. By mid-1972 this change was completed and the wing was under NATO-command by that time again.
Operating this type the unit achieved some milestones during the years. On 19 April 1977 the unit was the first within NATO to complete 50.000 flying hours without losses. This resembles 39 million flying kilometres. By mid-1982 the unit had flown 100.000 hours on the RF-4E and reached 250.000 flying hours in total on 25 January 1984.
As with sister-unit AG 52 the decision was taken to disband AG 51 and dispose off the RF-4E. The unit was disbanded mid-1993 and re-established on 1 January 1994 at Schleswig-Jagel. From Schleswig-Jagel the unit was to operate the Panavia Tornado IDS in the reconnaissance role. They took over the Tornados of Marinefliegergeschwader 1 and adopted the unit markings of AG 52 (with a small change to the number the badge was reflecting).
In 2005 Marinefliegergeschwader 2 based in Tarp-Eggebek was disbanded and AG 51 was additionally tasked with the role of Anti-surface warfare (ASuW).
Moreover in April 2013 Jagdbombergeschwader 32 (with former Tiger Squadron 321) stationed on the airbase Lechfeld was also disbanded and AG 51 took over the role of Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) along with 20 Tornados ECR.
From October 1st 2013, the German Air Force renamed all its units, and from then on, the name Aufklärungsgeschwader (Reconnaissance Wing) was changed to Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader (Tactical Air Wing) now operating in the roles of Tactical Air Reconnaissance (TAR), SEAD and ASuW.