FARNBOROUGH, UK: The UK Defence Minister, Philip Dunne MP, gave his support to the Eurofighter Typhoon Program on Wednesday (16th July), when he gave the opening address at a major capability briefing aimed at evidencing exactly why the aircraft will play a major role as a backbone aircraft for the armed forces for many years to come.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology (including Defence Exports) spoke in support of the Program and its capability growth plans just 24 hours after Eurofighter unveiled a Captor-E AESA radar system on an Instrumented Production Aircraft for the first time.

The integration of this new radar comes hot on the heels of the delivery of the Phase 1 Enhancement (P1E) package and underlines what Eurofighter are calling a ‘Paradigm Shift’ in capability as the platform secures its place as the most effective, capable and powerful swing role aircraft currently available.

The endorsement comes as the Program celebrates 250,000 flying hours and one of its core customers, the UK RAF, 100,000 flying hours with the Eurofighter Typhoon. Across the 20 operational units using the Eurofighter Typhoon the EJ200 Eurojet engine has also notched up a milestone – half a million hours without a single engine fire or uncontained failure – an unique record of reliability in service.

Briefing media and delegates former RAF Pilot Paul Smith, now a ‘Capability Manager’ for Eurofighter said: “P1E builds on the multi-role experience of the RAF bringing true swing role capability to all all of the partner nations.The integration of the Captor-E radar on to the Eurofighter cements its position as the premier operational combat aircraft.

Captor-E has an unique combination of large antenna aperture, wide field of regard and miniature transmitter receive modules (TRMs). This gives unrivaled detection and track capabilities, at greater ranges and out to angles beyond the beam, offering significant tactical advantages. Key features are the main antenna which is mounted at a tilt for significant radar signature reduction and its novel repositioning system which delivers the wide field of view whilst saving weight and complexity. Add those unique features to the increased flexibility, reliability and multi-task abilities inherent in an AESA radar and you have a class-leading sensor.”

Smith said: “Typhoon is well known for its outstanding platform performance; P1E delivers an intuitive Human Machine interface for swing role operations.This new sensor, along with our current and new weapons program, will give unrivaled lethality and flexibility.”

The P1Eb enhancements feed in lessons from the operations in Libya, enhancing the air-surface capabilities and completely revise the Human Machine interface for swing-role operations. They allow the pilot to seamlessly switch between air-to-air and air-to-ground modes.

Smith added: “The P1E package also paves the way for the Eurofighter to deploy deep strike stand-off weapons that can target high value highly protected surface targets. We are already deep into the integration and flight test of the Storm Shadow stand-off weapon. Storm Shadow has a proven combat record of penetrating the most highly defended target areas. The stealth is in the weapon; minimizing the risk to pilot and aircraft – and that, for us, and our customers is the key. The aircraft is highly survivable but it is even smarter not to put yourself unnecessarily in harms way.” The Captor-E’s Synthetic-Aperture Radar functionality will also prove extremely useful in suveying or locating surface targets.

Smith, said that the Captor-E, in combination with the other sensors such as PIRATE, will allow Typhoon to detect its targets first and utilize the superior kinetic energy of the platform and its weapons, such as the Meteor Beyond Visual Range (BVRAAM) missile to best effect.

He said: “This will allow it to continue to deliver air dominance.The underlying advantage of the Eurofighter Typhoon is that it is a hugely powerful and agile platform. The Meteor BVRAAM has a much higher average speed than legacy missiles and when combined with Eurofighter’s kinetics this delivers a ‘No Escape Zone’ up to three times greater than that of comparable weapons.”

Alberto Gutierrez, the CEO of Eurofighter GmbH said: “There is now no doubt that, with Captor-E AESA radar and P1EB, Eurofighter Typhoon has ‘come of age’. We are extremely grateful to the UK Defence Minister for his support at this important time in the evolution of the Program and we are grateful too, for NETMA who, representing the Nations, have given their backing to our capability development program. I fully believe that Eurofighter Typhoon is now ther best option for any procurer looking for true operational flexibility and all-round competitive advantage. We already have several countries interested in what we have to offer; our aim now is to turn that interest into firm orders. The arrival of Captor-E AESA radar gives us a real chance of doing that.”
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The P1Eb enhancement package for the Eurofighter also brings a suite of capability upgrades for the aircraft’s Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS) and the latest interoperability updates for the fighter’s Multifunction and Distribution Systems (MIDS) which together help ensure that the Eurofighter Typhoon is the most effective flying partner for allied aircraft.