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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

19 March 2015

LIMA 2015: Empowering Eurofighter TYPHOON - BAE Systems Details P3E Project

The £165 million contract signed in Abu Dhabi in February 2015 to deliver further enhancements to UK Eurofighter TYPHOONs is about to bring in new key capabilities to the world-leading combat aircraft. Under what is known as the Phase 3 Enhancements Package (P3E) project, it will opens up the air-to-surface capability of the aircraft even further to cope with a wide variety of targets on the ground. This scheme also includes fast-moving vehicles.

MT was told in Langkawi that P3E follows a successful feasibility study and a trial installation commissioned earlier by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Former UK Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot Anthony "Foxy" Gregory, Head of UK TYPHOON Future Capability at BAE Systems, told MT in an interview that the P3E project will include a number of upgrades to the TYPHOON’s mission and maintenance systems. The project foresees the adaptation of multiple precision-guided air-to-surface weapons, including the MBDA Dual Mode BRIMSTONE 2, for use against fast-moving and relocatable targets.

Anthony "Foxy" Gregory Head of UK TYPHOON Future Capability, BAE Systems, in an interview with MT at LIMA 2015 in Langkawi: “With the P3E package, RAF TYPHOONs will deliver a true fast-moving air-to-surface precision effect.” (Photo: STN)

This will be accomplished with low collateral damage”, said Gregory. He also named the SPEAR precision-guided munition developed by MBDA. It enables long-range precision engagement of mobile, fleeting, and relocatable targets in all weathers, day or night, and in the presence of countermeasures, obscurants, and camouflage. This munition is set to be adapted to Britain’s F-35 LIGHTNING II combat aircraft, but, “the MoD and RAF also want to have this weapon adapted to the TYPHOON,” Gregory insisted. RAF TYPHOONs already deploy the STORM SHADOW cruise missile and MBDA’s METEOR active radar-guided air-to-air missile that both were integrated as part of the development programme for Phase 2 Enhancements (P2E). METEOR provides true Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) air superiority against the spectrum of targets from agile fast jets to small unmanned air vehicles and cruise missiles.

MT understands that the P3E fast-moving air-to-surface capability – through the integration of BRIMSTONE 2 – is seen as a ‘blue print’ for similar efforts to upgrade Eurofighter TYPHOONs in service with the other user nations, including Saudi Arabia, which, for the time being, do not possess a true swing-role capability. Saudi Arabia, the first TYPHOON export customer outside Europe already opted for the STORM SHADOW weapon, and there are good prospects to also fit BRIMSTONE 2 to the aircraft. German TYPHOONs, for instance, provide a multi-role capability, with an operational diversity through LITENING III laser designator pod integration to support air-to-surface attacks by using PAVEWAY 2 and 3, as well as Enhanced PAVEWAY and JDAM munitions. However, RAF TYPHHOONs became high-end swing-role weapon systems following the P1E programme efforts, with the aircraft fully capable of combining different operational tasks in a single mission, according to BAE Systems.

The British use PAVEWAY IV since [about] the successful delivery of the P1E [Phase 1 Enhancements] package in 2014," Gregory lamented. “For the moment, the British P3E project is the only programme [coming on stream] to provide the Eurofighter TYPHOON with a true [fast-moving] air-to-surface precision effect.” According to BAE Systems, there will be a next phase of TYPHOON enhancements – named Beyond P3E – that calls for the integration of an advanced sensor, the E-Scan multimode air-to-air and air-to-surface fire control radar. For this enhancement package, BAE Systems also named an Anti-FIAC (Fast In-shore Attack Craft) capability that will be delivered by BRIMSTONE 2.
Stefan Nitschke

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