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13 July 2016

FIA2016: Continuous Eurofighter TYPHOON Development

Flight trials of the E-Scan radar have begun following the successful completion of ground tests using a UK Eurofighter TYPHOON test aircraft, clearing the path towards full integration of the radar, MT learned at FIA2016.

The ground tests were carried out on Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 5 with the detection and tracking of airborne targets at significant range. Flight tests have now begun at BAE Systems’ site in Warton, Lancashire, where IPA5 undertook a flight of around one hour in duration on Friday 8 July. A second test aircraft, IPA8 based in Germany, is also set to join the integration programme. The trials are designed to ensure the radar and weapons system reach the required capability in time for first deliveries to the Kuwait Air Force, which became the aircraft’s eighth customer earlier this year.

The E-Scan Radar equipment and Weapons System capability will be incrementally enhanced over the next three years to enable the required capability (P3E Standard) to be available for the first deliveries to the Kuwait Air Force. The new radar, provided by the Euroradar consortium, which is led by Leonardo-Finmeccanica, underpins the TYPHOON's current and future capability evolution.

Furthermore at FIA2016, Leonardo and BAE Systems are working together to include comprehensive avionics support to support the UK TYPHOON fleet (an initiative known as the TYPHOON Total Availability Enterprise or TyTAN), expected to be worth €2.5 billion with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Known as Joint Avionics Solution (JAS) and expected to be worth over €600 million, the support arrangement will see Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems, working alongside BAE Systems to support the TYPHOON's avionics equipment for at least the next ten years.   TyTAN will see the established European support model for the TYPHOON reviewed, delivering improved support and cost savings for at least the next ten years. A significant part of these savings will be reinvested in programmes aimed at further developing the capabilities of the TYPHOON.

MBDA is supporting the integration of BRIMSTONE onto Eurofighter TYPHOON, which will enter service on TYPHOON as part of the P3E programme and the Royal Air Force’s Project Centurion.

A UK Eurofighter TYPHOON has successfully completed an initial series of flight trials with the BRIMSTONE precision strike missile ahead of firing trials as part of a programme of work to integrate the weapon on to the aircraft. The tests were conducted using UK TYPHOON Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 6 and led by BAE Systems with the support of Eurofighter GmbH, MBDA, and the UK MoD.

Central to the programme is the weapons integration work as part of the Phase 2 and Phase 3 Enhancement (P2E/P3E) packages, which will bring additional long range and precision strike capabilities to TYPHOON. The integration of the deep strike MBDA STORM SHADOW missile, led by Leonardo, is continuing. This builds on the ground trials of the weapon and two successful releases of STORM SHADOW from Italian IPA2 in 2015. The close collaboration between the partner companies, especially Leonardo and BAE Systems, is ensuring the required capability is delivered in both the P2E and P3E programmes.

In addition, further firing trials have been completed with MBDA‘s METEOR Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air missile. The sixth in a series of firings, which were also completed last month by aircrew from Leonardo using IPA2 at the UK‘s Hebrides range, were intended to continue to expand the clearance envelope of the weapon validate the modelling and simulation that has been performed by the Eurofighter partner companies, Leonardo and MBDA.