The UK Royal Air Force has predicted 2018 will be the ‘Year of the Typhoon’ with weapons upgrades transforming the aircraft into the most capable fighter in the world.
The claim comes after an aircraft from the RAF’s 41(R) Squadron – the Test and Evaluation Squadron based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire - recently became the first of its type to successfully fire a Storm Shadow air-to-surface missile and a next generation Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air weapon in trials.
Gp. Capt. John Cunningham, who heads up Project Centurion - the programme to improve the jet’s capabilities for the UK fleet - said: “By the end of 2018, no other aircraft in the world will have all of the Typhoon’s capabilities.
“It will have the long-range air-to- air Meteor missile, Brimstone and Storm Shadow which can hit moving targets and underground structures, Paveway IV laser guided bombs, the Litening III targeting pod and ASRAAM air-to-air missiles. All this will come together by December 2018 making the next year the biggest game changer ever in the development of this aircraft.”
Project Centurion will ensure seamless transition of capability from Tornado to Typhoon by the time Tornado goes out of service in 2019. Currently only the RAF’s three Tornado squadrons can fight with Storm Shadow and Brimstone air-to-surface missiles.
Next year’s improvements will make Typhoon the backbone of the RAF’s combat air capability.
Andy Flynn, BAE Systems’ Centurion and Eurofighter delivery director, said: “We have had some great days in the office this year with starting the operational evaluation of Meteor and Storm Shadow capabilities and completing the firing campaigns of Brimstone. We have a big year ahead of us that will require us to ensure we make every day count.”