The latest enhancements for the Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet have been successfully tested by UK Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots in flight trials conducted at BAE Systems’ Military Air & Information business in Warton, Lancashire.
An early version of the Phase 2 Enhancement (P2Ea) Typhoon was flown by pilots from the RAF’s Test and Evaluation Squadron, based at RAF Coningsby. The P2Ea package incorporates software and avionics improvements such as upgrades to the radar, defensive aids systems and targeting pods. These enhancements will not only increase threat awareness and pilot safety, but also improve Typhoon’s targeting capabilities. P2Ea forms part of the full Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) package for Typhoon.
Testing of the package will be ongoing throughout 2016 with weapons integration tests also scheduled for this year.
Wing Commander Steven Berry, Officer Commanding 41(R) Test and Evaluation Sqn, said: “The P2Ea upgrade brings some major capability changes and some welcome tweaks to the existing capabilities. The enhancements mean as an air-to-surface platform, Typhoon has the simplicity and flexibility in the design to be easily employed in close air support missions or more complex scenarios like convoy over-watch.
“By 2019, Typhoon will be filling a lot of roles including air defence of the UK, offensive and defensive counter-air, stand-off attack and close air support. That’s a lot of skills for a front line squadron to master. Typhoon needs to deliver all of that capability in a simple, reliable cockpit.”
41(R) Sqn TES (Test and Evaluation Squadron) conducted two tests on an early version of the P2Ea – a typical air-to-air exercise and an air-to-surface exercise targeting simulated targets. The feedback from these tests has been assessed and will now be used to influence the final design.
Andy Flynn, Head of Capability Delivery Programmes for Combat Air at BAE Systems, said: “Working with the customer test teams at this stage provides us with invaluable feedback that we can assess and directly feedback into the design process. This combined testing approach is a fundamental part of how we are improving the way we do business. It allows the customer to fly capability improvements at an early stage and provide feedback to ensure the upgrades are exactly what they need.”
P2Ea is a stepping stone along the path of the RAF’s Project CENTURION designed to ensure a seamless transition between Typhoon and Tornado capabilities when Tornado goes out of service in 2019.
The full P2E upgrade for the RAF will include the integration of the MBDA Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile. The next phase of enhancements, P3E, will bring the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile and MBDA Brimstone 2 close air support weapon into service on Typhoon for the UK. Both P2E and P3E will be delivered through Project CENTURION.