Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin praised the Typhoon during the recent Royal International Air Tatoo at RAF Fairford in 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.

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.”

27 COMMENTS

  1. All good upgrades but I’d like to hear some more definite news on CAPTAS-E. From what I’ve read that’s going to be a major enhancement if/when it happens.

    • I would caveat this by adding that the UK have lead the way forward on development of Typhoon, often with the other partners dragged kicking and screaming to where we are now.

      • Definitely Matt, it is us leading the way into developing the typhoon into one of the best multi role fighters on the planet, something to be proud of. But would we be in this position without the Joint European consortium that got it off the ground? I don’t think we would.

        I do think we should look at more multi nation projects for our kit, Tanks, possibly some ships. We already do it with our fighters and depending on the F35 it’s been a massive success.

        Imagine a joint British, German, French, Italian etc MBT? it would certainly be a world beater I think, and it will be the only way we can compete with the USA and China going forward.

        • Kieran – Nice idea but you know what they say about a camel? Its a horse designed by a committee.

          Regarding MBTs the Challenger is the only one with a rifled barrel and has the longest kill and the best defensive record because it uses Chobham / Dorchester armour. Would you be happy sharing that with the Europeans? We shared the early version of Chobham with the USA for their Abrams and got diddley back in return. Tanks are not a high volume market (we have some 220 in service / upgrade with 400 in warm storage) and therefore have no need to share anything. If the Canadians choose a Leopard well so what? As long as we have the best I don’t care.

          Typhoon is a huge success but two things stand out: The Germans wanted to bail out and leave us in the lurch early on and the French DID bail out when they had all the confirmatory data they needed for Rafale. Which has been, compared to Typhoon, a failure sales wise.

          And there lies the main issue: We as a country do not have the base ‘market’ to justify building expensive advanced military aircraft unlike the USA. And the only big market available to us is the USA which is totally protectionist (witness A330 MRTT debacle). All the rest are multiples of small ‘markets’.

          I am not too sure what the answer is but I am pretty convinced we should not trust the Germans, French and Italians to not play EU politics in any deals with us post Brexit. And the Italians grabbed an F-35 FAL and airframe maintenance contracts off the Yanks and they aren’t even Tier One partners.

          With Typhoon we have the best in service until 2040 by which time I doubt manned aircraft will be in front line action. And F-35s will be cheap as chips.

          • “Regarding MBTs the Challenger is the only one with a rifled barrel ”

            The rifled barrel is a liability, not an asset; that’s why everyone else has abandoned it. Rifling is necessary for HESH (a secondary nature) but doesn’t work with fin, which is the main anti-tank round. This is why UK fin rounds need a complex and expensive system to decouple the round from the rifling as it travels up the barrel. To add insult to injury, nobody except India makes ammunition for rifled 120mm guns anymore. The L30 guns should be replaced with the L55 smoothbore ASAP; their day is long gone.

          • well sharing chobam with the americans they do give us acsess to top military hardware that no one else gets, the UK was the only country invited into the f117 stealth fighter programme but we declined.

          • Well Chris the Typhoon, F35, Tornado, Viking, Storm Shadow and Meteor are some set of camels 😉

            Yeah the Challenger is great but when the time comes for a new MBT I would happily share chobham armor, infact tank technologies or the more so because we make so few of them and every war we have ever been in using tanks have been alongside allies using more tanks, we why not share the technology. “With the Europeans” Chris we are European 😂

            We have already signed defence agreements with France and Germany well after Brexit for greater defence cooperation, I’m pretty sure our European neighbors defence ministers and committees are and will be putting their countries defence over brexit/EU politics. It would be a shame if they didn’t but going off evidence so far it seems they are which is a good thing.

            You’re right about unmanned aircraft taking over, in fact we already have a joint project in the works with the French for the FCAS, it’s a mix of Taranis and dassault nEUROn.

          • The best Defence Projects are those where you with a Bi-Lateral relationship as opposed to Multi-lateral. Too many Chefs leads to far to much politics and delays. I’d also be very wary of getting into partnerships with the Germans. They tend to inflate the number of units they want to buy at the beginning to get larger work share then drop the number dramatically during the programme and then whine constantly about cost over runs. See Typhoon or A400 for great examples of that. Best if we ignore the Germans for a while and leave them on the naughty step to consider what they’ve done wrong.

    • Best pound for pound aircraft of its type.
      Maybe we should stop and take stock as to what is needed do we require; a few very expensive limited payload a/c or do we need quantity at a price that can be afforded and provides the defence against our perceived real threat

  2. The F35 is only stealthy when it is not carrying external weapons. It can only carry 4 internal weapons and as soon as pylons are attached to carry an external payload the low vis radar cross section is lost. Would it not be better to reduce the F35 order by say 24 and instead purchase 48 extended range uprated Typhoons to act a bomb trucks for F35 led strike packages. The minor upgrades proposed for a Typhoon 2020, such as conformal tanks and the leading edge wing extensions, could provide an aircraft that maximises the potential of the airframe, commits politicians to supporting the UK manufacturing base, recognises the limitations of the F35 that are being ignored and increases the capability of the RAF, all for a very small cost.

    • A F35 with external weapons is still exponentially stealthier than a clean 4th gen figher much less one with a weapons load. F35 has a low vis option with a weapons load while a 4th gen does not.

    • This is the biggest load of misleading nonsense I’ve read in a long time. Which 4 weapons were you referring to that it can only carry internally? What is an extended range Typhoon? Does such a thing exist? F-35 does support the UK manufacturing base!

      The specific weapons that will be carried internally of the UK F-35 will be the Spear 3 mini cruise missiles and Meteor BVRAAM missiles. The F-35B internal capacity is such that four Spear 3 and 1 Meteor can fit into each of it’s two internal bays.

      In relation to stealth, your comments show no basic understanding about how stealth works – and I’m not going to cover that here. I suggest you inform yourself on this capability by doing some reading of readily available online documentation.

  3. Ron5, “Typhoons cost more than F-35’s”. It is almost impossible to obtain an definitive unit cost for individual aircraft. Orders are split into batches or tranches and spread over years. Costs change and the development costs assigned by batch varies. The National Audit Office and the Parliaments Public Accounts Committee have estimated the final cost for the Typhoon project at £17.6 billion. For the 160 aircraft to be delivered this equates to a unit cost of £110 million but this includes ancillary project costs. BAE, with MOD agreement are now quoting a delivery unit cost for new Typhoon orders at £87 miilion. The cost of an F-35B is far less clear. On 26 Jan 2017, the defence minister, Harriet Baldwin, in response to a question asked in Parliament about the unit cost for an F-35, in a written reply stated “I am withholding details of this funding as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.” The closest official statement by the UK government came in a National Audit Office report, “Delivering Carrier Strike”( 16/3/17). This report disclosed that £5.8 billion had been allocated to provide 24 F-35B for delivery by 2021. This equates to £241 million per aircraft. The actual cost per aircraft is not disclosed. From the above, I find it difficult to accept the accuracy of your pronouncement that Typhoons are more expensive. I would be interested to hear on what you base your statement.

  4. Dogood. Typhoon RCS = 0.5 m2. F-35 = 0.005 m2. I am not aware of any data on a F-35 RCS with external weapons. The F-35 +F22 are commonly flown with Luneberg Reflectors. These are barely noticeable but increase the RCS hundreds of times. Their purpose is to allow civil ATC to track transit flights and to prevent data acquisition by hostile radars, such as in Syria. If such small reflectors have such big impact on the F-35’s RCS to allow civil radar to track them, then it is fair to assume that a couple of 2000 lbs JDAMS under each wing will make have a similar effect as tiny Luneberg Reflectors. After all stealthy aircraft are not invisible. In the case of the F-35 a huge amount of money is being spent to minimise the visibility which is lost just when the bomb bay doors open.

    • Matt. I will stick to the points only. 1. The F-35 is considered to have 4 internal weapons stations that can accommodate 4 FULL size weapons. Typically 2 air to air missiles and 2 air to surface munitions. The A + C’s can carry 2 x 2000 lbs bombs. The F-35 B’s can accommodate 1000 lbs bombs only. 2. The advance Typhoon proposed is named Typhoon 2020. The main modifications are conformal fuel tanks and leading edge root extensions ( these have been tested and provided a 30% improvement in manoeuvrability). As well as upgraded sensors. 3. The UK / BAE has just delivered the 200th rear fuselage. The UK is a level 1 partner because of its financial contribution but Italy, is only a level 2 partner and despite it reducing its orders and threatening to withdraw, has been awarded one of the only 3 full production facilities. While we ship rear ends the Italians are building complete aircraft. BAE Systems will get an F-35 airframe light maintenance facility at RAF Marham, this will not have the same level of overhaul capability that the Italians have. In fact RAF planes will have to be repaired in Italy. Turkey was awarded the important engine plant. The list goes on about the UK getting minor contracts compared to other countries which have contributed far less. No other country is getting a low a return for the money being spent. 4. Spears are smaller than JDAMs so it is no surprise that more can be carried. But the F35 is considered to have only 4 internal weapons stations. 5. With regard to stealth see my earlier comment. In short there is not a single thing you said that discredits my suggestion. May I suggest you adopt your own advice and become better informed before passing patronising comments.

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