The Royal Air Force Tranche 1 fleet are to be upgraded following the recent delivery of the Drop 2 upgrade package.
Following the closure of the Tranche 1 Main Development Contract between NETMA and Eurofighter, the UK established a Capability Sustainment Team within BAE Systems. This team was initially utilised to develop an upgrade called Tranche 1 Drop1 that subsequently saw active service as part of the Typhoon Fleet deployed in support of Operation ELLAMY in Libya.
Following development of the Tranche 1 Drop 1 package, European partner Nations were invited to participate in the development programme. The second upgrade package, known as Drop 2, is now entering service with the Royal Air Force, having been developed through a Mutual Support Agreement between Nations that involved BAE Systems and the SUZ organisation based at Manching, Germany.
The Drop 2 product will provide capability updates to a wide range of Typhoon avionic systems covering the Displays and Controls, Attack and Identification, Defensive Aids and Communication Sub Systems whilst also delivering availability and sustainability improvements to the Tranche 1 Fleet.
The first flight of a Tranche 1 Typhoon with the new product embodied took place at RAF Coningsby on 2nd May 2012 and was conducted by 17(R) Test and Evaluation Squadron, where it will continue to be assessed over the coming months ahead of its roll out to the Tranche 1 fleet.
Following the successful first flight, Robert Forshaw, Drops Desk Officer within the MOD Defence Equipment &Support Fast Air Support Typhoon team said: "The success of this upgrade programme has demonstrated the ability of BAE Systems to deliver Weapon System improvements, integrated with a tailored support solution, to the Royal Air Force in collaboration with their Industrial partners.
The team have overcome some significant challenges to get to this stage and that's testament to the working relationships between BAE Systems, the German SUZ and QinetiQ teams involved in the project. I would like to pass on my personal thanks to everyone involved in the project and I look forward to working with them again on the Drop 3 and 4 programmes."
Andy Flynn, Head of Contract Engineering Services for NETMA said: "This close working relationship is an integral part of how we will work as a management and delivery team on Contract 1 - the engineering services contract which is the first tangible delivery of a joint transformation programme between Industry and NETMA. Contracts 1 and 4 were signed in March 2012.