Older Typhoon jets, specifically 24 Tranche 1 examples, are to be retired.

The 24 oldest examples are in the basic Tranche 1 configuration.

The 2015 Defence Review had set aside the Tranche 1 jets for air defence duties as well as aggressor training work. These 24 jets had been expected to be fly until 2030.

The Defence Command Paper released today, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age‘, states:

“The Royal Air Force will retire equipment that has increasingly limited utility in the digital
and future operating environment. This will include rationalising older fleets to improve
efficiency, retiring Typhoon Tranche 1 by 2025, and Hawk T1.

We will enhance the new military flying training system with further investment in synthetic training that will deliver more capable pilots more quickly and more efficiently.”

The UK had 157 Typhoon jets in total, including 22 two seat trainer aircraft. It is unclear where this decision leaves the aggressor training capability.

This defence review was previously described by Boris Johnson as the largest review of its kind since the Cold War.

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John Hartley

So Italy & Spain have done an upgrade to get rid of obsolete bits from their T1. It is off the shelf. We could have done it to RAF Typhoon T1. It is not as if the RAF is swamped with combat jets. We could not repeat the Kuwait liberation 1991. We do not have the numbers.


Something tells me they will be sold off cheap to somebody it’s what this government does best, selling off kit, with a promise to replace them in the future, then cut that number a bit later on.


Since boris got into power in 2019 what exactly has he agreed to sell off cheap that hes not replacing?


I think he was referring to the Tories in general. We have HMS Ocean, the Harriers, one of the Bay class LPD’s, Warthog. I don’t have an issue with any of those decisions except for Warthog, that was just the treasury pissing away money.
I think the C130-J’s will be sold off as they should be in good condition and good for another 20 years if maintained properly.
Typhoon I can’t see any takers for due to the maintenance costs. Maybe the ROI could purchase them.


The actual document is most vague on the numbers of F35, all they say is they will grow the number beyond the 48 order, but no time time scale or numbers are given. Should I take that as government speak as not going to happen?


No, they don’t give exact numbers, but, I think that an additional 20-25 aircraft procured somewhere between 2025-2030ish is muted, probably a slow dribble 4-5 aircraft a year. Anything more or later than 2030ishbwill impact on Tempest numbers. That is also why Typhoon numbers will remain at 100 odd airframes with Project Centurion to keep them current.
Big downside is that the RAF have effectively lost the 62 Tornado replacements the F35A were supposed to provide, as the 48 by 2025 effectively means exclusive use for CSG. My view only, possibly very wrong!!!


The paper makes no sense and contradicts itself. In one paragraph it states 7 operational Typhoon squadrons and a couple of paragraphs later says the tranche 1 jets are to go by 2025. Smoke and mirrors ? We have 7 squadrons now but need the T1’s for numbers, is there to be a reduction in squadron strength?

Alan Reid

Hi Mark – Almost certainly 2025 will see the disbandment of Nos. 9 & 12 squadrons and the reduction to only five front-line Typhoon squadrons.


I only hope that Wallace and chums keep to their word when they say they won’t again over stretch our armed forces. Will any of them have the backbone to stand up to Boris and say ‘Well actually we can’t do that because we cut too much in 2021’
Of course if project Lanca/ Mosquito ever gets off the ground we could keep the same number of squadrons with reduced aircraft but the overall mass kept the same through the use of drones? Instead of eight Typhoons attacking a target it would be 4 plus 4 Mosquito.


A numbers game? To be notionally replaced by the RAF half share of 48 F-35B


Maybe not the best news but if the tranche 1’s are kept operating until 2025 that would represent a 10 year extension on their previous OSD.

It’ll be interesting to see if changes in training and maintenance cycles allow for more than 5 Typhoon squadrons to be squeezed out of the remaining 107.

By 2025 we should have 48 F35’s delivered with 809 NAS stood up and fingers crossed some kind of commitment to a follow-on order. Coupled with the Protector fleet building up this will arguably mitigate their loss a bit.

Glass Half Full

Some T1s might be sold to commercial aggressor service providers operating across Europe air forces, then the RAF only pays for aggressor services when needed.

Other T1s might be needed as parts for TyTAN in order to keep the maintenance costs down on the T2/T3s.

Additionally do the T1s carry Meteor? I thought they didn’t have the Centurion update so don’t.

So perhaps a number of reasons why it doesn’t make sense to keep T1.

Paul T

Typhoon T1 can’t use Meteor – AMRAAM and ASRAAM only i believe.

Alan Reid

Hi GhF They have already broken 16 two-seaters down for spares. I think Tr1s only carry AMRAAM – but it’s still a great asset for UK QRA, relieving pressure on Tr2 and Tr3 airframes. From 2025, we will be hitting ground-zero for combat mass and combat persistence: only 107 Typhoon, 48 F-35Bs – seven front line squadrons in total. New RPAS assets may potentially share some of the burden, should they see the light of day by 2025. I’m hoping – as the economy picks up – there might yet be a reprieve for the Tranche 1s. They have already… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Thanks for answers Alan and Paul. If there’s one takeaway from this review it seems to be getting rid of old platforms. On that basis I suspect if they increase any of the fleet between 2025 and Tempest then it will be F35B. Especially because it supports UK organic carrier capability, but also because F35 will be a more powerful combination with our Typhoons, but also with much of the rest of the European fleet of 4/4.5 generation aircraft.


Tranche 1s are pretty useless. Sitting on QRA they dont do much – whereas Tr2/3s on Sqns get hammered being used for training, but Tr1s are no good for that because they dont have the weapons integeration and other bits to be representative. Ideally you want the Tr3s on QRA as they sit there not consuming hours, thus conserving them for later in the 2030s – and fly the arse off the Tr1s. But as above, we’re stuck the wrong way round. Getting rid is the best option, they are significantly more maintenance effort than the later jets. I guess… Read more »

John Hartley

The upgraded Spanish T1s get T2 & T3 bits, including a laser designator pod.


What bits? Tr1 have carried an LDP since about 2010. That isnt the problem nor indcative of a solution – they’d need a complete replacement of their avionics to accomodate the latest software for weapons and use of them. The UK having gone its own way ahead of other european typhoon operators (as a reaction to a lack of interest from them). Plus they are maintenance hogs. Scrapping and recycling is the best use for them although Id like to have seen some more Tr3s procured to keep a flow of new jets as I doubt Tempest will be on… Read more »

John Hartley

Janes, 26 Feb, 2019. “Spain receives first upgraded Tranche 1 Eurofighter”. ” as part of the upgrade T2 & T3 equipment was fitted to the T1 aircraft, including a computer symbol generator, a digital video & voice recorder, a laser designator pod & a maintenance data panel”.


All of which the Uk did years ago.


My View

107 Typhoons and 48 F-35Bs will provide about the same sized combat fleet to now – 130 something frontline Typhoons and 21 F-35B. It will actually be more advanced and modern swapping out 24 old T1 Typhoons for the next 27 F-35B. Then ideally a second order of F-35Bs of at least 20-30 odd to follow between 2025-2030 alongside those 107 T2 and T3 Typhoons that would then give the UK a combat jet fleet of in the 170-180s by 2030 ish.

Andy L

The rest of Europe are purchasing aircraft for delivery in the next few years, that will serve for the next 20+years, while we scrap aircraft now to put billions into research into aircraft that won’t enter service for at least 15 to 20 years and we all know given past experiences that Tempest won’t enter service. The £2 billion would be better spent on stripping the 37ish tranche 1s of all usable items and produce 24 new tranche 3s and fit the whole fleet with the EASA 2 radar, which is supposed to be the best in the world? I… Read more »


And then at the 20 year point we have nothing?

We have Typhoon and F35 and AESA radar now because of R&D spent in the 1980s, 90s and 2000s.

Andy L

The rest of Europe are happy enough to be bringing F35 or extra Typhoons into service now, so will be planning on keeping them longer than 20 years See however long their preceding F16s have been in service. l just can’t see Tempest happening, given the small number likely to be purchased by us( Italy is in a far worse situation financially so they are not likely to procure many) . The best that could happen is that we pay a disproportionate amount of the R&D for a Europe wide aircraft with we buy in tiny numbers. If you look… Read more »

My View

The UK has aircraft for delivery in the next few years in the form of the other 27 F-35Bs for 48 total and 16 new Protector drones. Not to forget there will almost definitely be more than 48 F-35Bs after 2025.


It would make sense to for India to pick up a number of T1’s from Europe and let HAL do some upgrades, like they have done with the Jaguar and iHawk. India are desperate to boost fighter numbers and the T1 would offer them a good platform that could be flown today and upgraded.

Captain P Wash

If you draw a curve based on the history of cuts… it looks as if we will have no Aircraft after 2050, or there abouts !


Please, please, please put into deep store for now. You never know when we may need some backups/replacements.


Does anybody actually know what the typical airframe hours are on T1s? We may be beating ourselves up since they may be knackered by 2025 anyway. Committing to 45 more F35Bs is possible and that would keep us at 200 FJs which was always a notional target


They’re high, but still fair chunk of nominal life left. Its an interesting conundrum – after decades of aircraft staying in service longer than expected and thus expensive re-lifes and expensive ongoing work to the airframe, we specificied future airframes to have much higher design lifes, which came at cost in design and so on. However we now find that the aircraft is obseolete (especially the avionics and wiring – the most expensive and difficult bit to try and rebuild) long before the airframe hours are used up and that it is better to build new than try and rebuild.… Read more »

Andy L

There has been a long history of totally renewing the avionics in fighter aircraft. The various F16 upgrades, A4s for Israel, Argentina, New Zealand, F4s for Germany, Turkey and Israel to name a few. Given the Typhoons excellent manoeuvrability etc and it finally maturing it should be ideal for future versions/ avionics upgrades especially as there are concerns over how long stealth aircraft will remain stealthy in the future. I think the problem comes when you have fleets within fleets, from a maintenance/ Logistics perspective. As far as i’m aware both T2 and T3 can follow a common upgrade path… Read more »


Those upgrades are very costly, and as mentioned, the UK has come to the conclusion that they are very poor value for money, especially in the modern certification environment and the sheer effort (cost) of certificating software particularly. I would also suggest there is an order of magnitude change (plus!) in the amount of software in very simple old A4/F16 aircraft and something like Typhoon. That should explain why this doesnt happen. I’m not sure how Typhoons manoeuvrebility has anything to do with upgrade potential? It is unlikely Tr2 will get the new radar. Fleets within fleets is an inevitability… Read more »

Andy L

Hi Rogbob, thanks for your reply, and I don’t disagree with what you say. My original reply was written very early and perhaps wasn’t the clearest. The upgrades I spoke of weren’t software upgrades but transplants of F16/F18 avionics suites as a more cost effective way of gaining capability , quicker and at less cost than purchasing new fighters. With regards to the complexity the F16 upgrades to F16V offered to Greece and the F15SA upgrade for Saudi are of an avionics capability comparable with the Typhoon. With regard to manoeuvrability you are right, what I was trying to say… Read more »

Last edited 2 hours ago by Andy L