Harriett Baldwin MP, the UK Minister for Defence Procurement, has praised the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft during a presentation at the 2017 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire.
“We see Typhoon as very much strengthening UK defence and the first quality I would highlight is its reliability; it has an engine that goes over 1,000 flying hours without needing unscheduled maintenance,” she said.
“It’s versatile as well, simultaneously supporting air-to-air and air-to surface missions. It gives Britain global coverage because, today, we know that our Typhoons are all over the world.
“They’ve been heavily involved in striking at the heart of DAESH in the Middle East, warding off the Russian threat in Eastern Europe, safeguarding the Falkland Islands 35 years after the invasion, and, of course, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year providing our quick reaction alert to defend British skies.”
The minister added: “Typhoon will form the spear point of the UK’s future combat air defence capability alongside the F-35 Lightning. But what makes it truly special is that, supported by the ground-breaking support contract, TyTAN, it has the capacity to evolve.
“In the past few years we’ve been upgrading Typhoon with leading edge weapons, Brimstone, Meteor and Storm Shadow, and most recently the Defence Secretary revealed we’re enhancing its Defence Aids Subsystem (DASS), which provides missile warners, chaff, and flare dispensers to adapt to the changing threats. He has just announced a £9.5 million contract to train our Typhoon pilots to use the latest cockpit technology, preparing them for the frontline out to September 2020.”
The Minister was speaking at a special briefing on the aircraft. She said: “The second reason that we choose Typhoon is because it strengthens the UK’s skills base. So, whenever I’ve had the pleasure of visiting BAE Systems’s factory in Warton in Lancashire I’ve seen the impressive state-of-the-art hangars and met the excellent engineers engaged on this programme.
“We have some 5,000 people working directly on Typhoon with thousands more of our British brains busy in the supply chain in more than 300 companies from the north east to the south west. Together they’re not just manufacturing but they’re innovating, everything from smart skin to carbon fibre composites, and sophisticated polymers.
“The third reason that we love Typhoon is we know this fabulous fighter will strengthen our prosperity. In an increasingly competitive and demanding international market it’s the only fighter jet on the market able to offer such wide-ranging capabilities.
“Its unique history — designed and built by four nations — gives it an unparalleled ability to work seamlessly with other aircraft types in combat, defence surveillance, and monitoring scenarios. It’s why five European nations, alongside three Gulf States, have already chosen this aircraft.
“At a darker, more dangerous time we know it will benefit our allies, helping collective efforts to shore up our international rules-based order. That’s why the UK government and the governments of our European partners are fully focused on working with industry to maximise Typhoon’s export potential in the worldwide combat air jet market.
She added: “The Ministry of Defence in particular is pleased now to be supporting and leading some of those campaigns, whether it’s in Europe, the Middle East, or South-East Asia, where we believe Typhoon meets the requirements of our international partners.
“When I was last at Warton I was privileged to see the first Typhoon for the Royal Air Force of Oman and welcome them into the Typhoon family. I’m glad to say that those first two aircraft have now safely landed in Oman; the latest country to be welcomed into the Typhoon family.
“So, if we go back to the original question, why do we in the UK so value this aircraft? Why do we choose the world’s most powerful and reliable swing-role combat aircraft? I think you can see that the question answers itself.