In a recent parliamentary exchange, the Ministry of Defence has provided detailed information regarding the composition of the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon fighter aircraft fleet.

The query, raised by Conservative MP Mark Francois of Rayleigh and Wickford, specifically requested data on the number and proportion of Typhoons across different Tranche variants.

James Cartlidge, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, outlined the breakdown in a session on May 2, 2024.

According to the provided figures, the RAF’s Typhoon fleet comprises a total of 137 aircraft, distributed as follows:

  • Tranche 1 variants make up 22% of the fleet, totaling 30 aircraft.
  • Tranche 2 variants, the largest group, consist of 67 aircraft, representing 49% of the total fleet.
  • Tranche 3 variants account for 29% of the fleet, with 40 aircraft.
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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_815770)
25 days ago

I presume it’s still the intention to cut the T1s by the end of this/next year? Loss of 20% of the fleet without replacement is a tough pill to swallow. Were they always intended to be phased out and replaced with F-35 procurement, or is this a real terms cut in squadrons?
Another question: Are the T2s on the upgrade path with AESA radar etc. or just the T3s?

Jim
Jim (@guest_815777)
25 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

It’s now just the T3 on the AESA radar upgrade path, makes you wonder if we have to get rid of the T1 because they can’t be upgraded (according to the MOD) then why can we keep the T2’s. Spain is upgrading its T1’s and BAE says it can do the same. Hopefully money is found at the last minute to keep them in service. As we are seeing in the FI they are still very useful. Suddenly the Air Defence mission has become more important and the UK is lacking in air defence assets. Keeping the T1’s and buying… Read more »

Martin
Martin (@guest_815785)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Stop talking sense you know the MOD and top brass do not like it,

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_815787)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim

👍

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_815793)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I agree it can be done, in terms of upgrading the T1s. I just wonder about the cost of it vs the other defence considerations we have.
If I had to choose between the two, I’d take the extra 2 E-7s and scrap the T1s every time.
in fact, I’d probably rather build new T3 airframes than refurb the T1s- I’m willing to bet that Spain’s T1s won’t ever be as good as a newly built T3. That would definitely be my route if it kept BAE hands busy while they wait for Tempest orders.

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_816759)
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

You dont need F35 for every war and every mission. I’d order another 48 T3’s right now and give us another squadron. We are seriously overstretched and our bases are dangerously crowded. We need to disperse our assets for soon to come emergency.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_816770)
20 days ago
Reply to  Jonno

Agreed that F-35 isn’t needed for everything. When you say an extra 48 Typhoon T3 (apparently SB says there’s a T4 out now, too?!), do you mean on top of the ~48 F-35 we have on order, or on top of the planned 72? Personally I think we should meet the 72 number as a solid force, which I think is supposed to give us 3 operational squadrons and a training squadron, plus a pool of aircraft? Or is it 4 operational squadrons? But, I do think that, whatever mix of Typhoon and F-35 we end up with, we need… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_816975)
19 days ago
Reply to  Jonno

Sorry, bit a rant but add a bit GBAD to actually protect allthose crowded bases, and exposed ports and facilities.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_815798)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim

It is such a fundamental rebuild turning a T1 to a T4…..

That said building from scratch is not really an option either as the line will be flat out with the exports and then moving over to the Gen6 item – some people will already be pulled away to that project as the prototype is due to be flying soon.

Jim
Jim (@guest_815837)
25 days ago

But you don’t need to turn a T1 into a T4, Spain is just doing a basic upgrade to T1. AMRAAM will be around for decades and T1 as a dedicated A2A platform is still very useful in the FI and UK.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_815909)
25 days ago

Not really last time I looked typhoon only had orders until 2030..I’m not sure the orders for tempest will be ready for 2030 production…and BAE are still looking for typhoon orders…a one for one replacement of the T1s would sit well in any industrial strategy and derisk any delays in tempest.

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy (@guest_817278)
18 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

You know we never replace ac one for one – the poiticians will say Tempest (or whatever it turns out to be mid 2030’s at the earliest) is world beating and so we don’t need as many – the argument is flawed but with all the other demands on the MOD budget (Carrier upgrades etc) its difficult to see more the 100 Tempest at best.

Rudeboy
Rudeboy (@guest_815808)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim

The Spanish T1 upgrade is not that big a deal.

Some of the upgrades are already present on RAF Tranche 1 aircraft.

A wider upgrade including an AESA radar panel onto the CAPTOR-M back end was not proceeded with.

Jim
Jim (@guest_815838)
25 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy

Yes as you say our T1 already have much of the updates that Spain is giving its T1 for basic ground attack. We won’t upgrade our T2 to T4 standard so why not just leave T1 alone and give it a basic mid life upgrade.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_815943)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Here’s an option for you Jim, withdraw the T1 fleet, buy Spain’s 17 T2 surplus aircraft and upgrade all T2 and T3 to a common advanced standard with Radar 2 and all the trimmings… As I understand it, the avionics and bespoke engines in T1 are becoming very difficult to support. The early Tranche 1 electronics are apparently now totally obsolete ( being turn of the century) and not in production or supported by the original manufacturers, we got round this initially by using the two seater Tranche 1 jets as spares sources, but apparently these parts bins are now… Read more »

Steve R
Steve R (@guest_815896)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Those are solid, sound ideas that are also reasonably-priced.

Exactly why the MoD are unlikely to go for it, sadly.

Is there any reason the T1s couldn’t be used solely to fulfil the UK and Falklands air defence role, freeing the T2s and T3s for other duties?

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_815905)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Or if we do get rid of the T1s then ensure a replacement T4 purchase..this would also have the benefit of keeping the typhoon line open until it can be converted to the new 6th generation offer…quite frankly I’m not sure how we will be in a position to manufacture a 6th generation fighter if the Typhoon production line has been shut down.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_815788)
25 days ago

Hmm like more Typhoons T4s like yesterday please 🤗

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_815795)
25 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Thing is capacity to do that and the export units?

Jim
Jim (@guest_815839)
25 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Even if we ordered them today you would not see a single plane until 2028. The DoD recons 2027 is the at risk year for western military forces.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr (@guest_815856)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Sounds like the best available time to order them then.
Unless we’re still convinced that no war between major powers will last more than a few months?

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_815887)
25 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

Not sure how for how ong a conventional war could be financed. The US entered WW2 with public debt of @$30b. By 1945, it was >$310b or 112% of GDP. Current debt to GDP is 124%.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_815911)
25 days ago
Reply to  Jim

To be honest it’s from 2027 until the early 2030s..china is essentially getting ready for 2027 as the earliest date for an invasion..but it’s strategic position will still be improving until the early 2030s after which it will start to decline…also china is not planning for a swift conflict…. They are looking at years…so delivery in 2028-2030 timeline would be perfect for the most likely conflict timeline ( if it all goes south)….north of 2030 is more problematic. I would like to see the T1s kept on until they are replaced by a T4 delivery in 2027-2030…as at that point… Read more »

Last edited 25 days ago by Jonathan
Meirion X
Meirion X (@guest_816677)
21 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The RAF could buy back the T2’s from the Saudi’s, which we gave up some of the original allocation, to them in the 2000’s? Was is nearly 30 airframes, that we gave up? The Saudi’s can afford new T4’s?
The original total order, was for 232 Typhoons, I think?

Last edited 21 days ago by Meirion X
Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_816687)
20 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

That could work.

Angus
Angus (@guest_815807)
25 days ago

And less than 100 operational too. No matter our borders are well open to who ever wants to come over and get their share of the freely given away wealth so they can send it home to their folks. The Armed Forces are a mere token effort these days. A real disgrace for what is spent on them. All WOKE !

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_815935)
25 days ago
Reply to  Angus

The 6th most powerfu and capable Armed forces on the planet for 50 Billion quid a year. Not bad value I’d say.

Micki
Micki (@guest_815822)
25 days ago

The goal is to leave Britain unarmed. Traitors!!

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_815932)
25 days ago
Reply to  Micki

Apart from spending £2.34 billion upgrading the T2/3 fleet. And also continuing to bring F35 into service.

Paul42
Paul42 (@guest_815870)
25 days ago

The only sense in retiring the T1s is on saving money, it makes no sense when it comes to the defence of the UK. T1 already provides the QRA/ initial air defence capability, freeing up the later multi role aircraft for other tasks, and its more than capable of doing that for a good few years yet.

Jim
Jim (@guest_815874)
25 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

The MOD seemed to agree with you until about 2 years ago when they suddenly decided to re reverse the T1 cuts. Honestly though it’s not to save money 😀

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_815930)
25 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

All varients do QRA. of those 30 T1s only about 10 arw in actual service. The rest are in the sustainment fleet.

Challenger
Challenger (@guest_815871)
25 days ago

Apparently 4 Tranche 1’s will be retained beyond 2025 in The Falklands. So to all the gloomsters will actually have a whopping 111 Typhoons rather than a paltry 107!!!

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_815885)
25 days ago

Ordering additional Typhoons seems an obvious and necessary step. Even if Tempest development runs to schedule, it won’t be in service much before 2040. Like the Tornado, Typhoons are being used a lot, unlike our F35 fleet.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_815894)
25 days ago

If we are scrapping/ mothballing the T1, then we should at the least be replacing them with T4s. We should be looking at fitting all our Typhoons to use the upgrades AESA radar.
The short sightedness being demonstrated by the MoD and the RAF is breathtaking!!

RB
RB (@guest_815897)
25 days ago

Like the other two forces, the capabilities of RAF are still being quietly dismantled by salami cuts every year: Sentinel R1 surveillance, C-130 Hercules transports, Hawk T.1 trainers, 2 of the 5 E-7 AEW aircraft cancelled, and soon Typhoon Tranche 1. And that is before we consider the hundreds of now long-gone Jaguar’s, Harrier’s (and RN Sea Harrier’s) and Tornado’s that have been “replaced” by just 36 in-service F-35B’s. Some “back of an envelope” maths suggests that since 2010 the RAF has received at best one new aircraft for every five retired, with no sign of this changing – other… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_815998)
24 days ago
Reply to  RB

Agreed. Often those capabilities have been replaced, but with already in service assets, which makes the problem worse as they are then run into the ground.
Add Islanders and Defenders to that list, they did not publicise that one much.

Lonpfrb
Lonpfrb (@guest_816308)
22 days ago
Reply to  RB

With respect, #45 has old views on old news to trigger his ignorant isolationist base. NATO says that the 2010 spending agreement is on track, which they don’t have to do if it wasn’t true. So 2% GDP is the floor not ceiling spending and UK has achieved 2.1% by the HM Treasury trick of counting the CAS strategic deterrent with the MoD spending. The reality being much less than 2% at MoD. Typical weasel words from the out going politicians “target 2.5% by 2030, as economic conditions allow”. The Peace Dividend delusion has allowed politicians to safeguard their electoral… Read more »

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN (@guest_815916)
25 days ago

Fine, retire the T1’s if you have to, it’s not like the RAF has all the pilots at the moment anyway.
The essential thing to do right now is order 30-40 T4’s until tempest comes along, just make it a priority and overcome the bottlenecks AND invest in credible number of GBADS to ensure coverage.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_815995)
24 days ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

👍

Geo
Geo (@guest_815936)
25 days ago

Tranche 1 should maintained till service life is up……getting rid early is ridiculous unless they are done. Teetering at going under a 100 is a joke

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_815947)
25 days ago

Labour will not order any of the things we all want. I am not making a party political point. I am saying that defence will be so far down the list we’ll be lucky to keep the funds recently announce…at last!

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_815994)
24 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

For sure

SteveM
SteveM (@guest_815979)
24 days ago

Keep T1’s for Uk & FI QRA and for the Red Arrows 9 T1’s would look and sound amazing 🙂

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_816066)
24 days ago

Pitifully small fighter/strike force.

leslie johnson
leslie johnson (@guest_816100)
24 days ago

If the situation in Ukraine was to worsten and Russia become even more an expansionist nation (As is possible) I assume it would be likely that the UK would want to expand and modernise it’s armed forces including the airforces in order to keep the UK secure. If we tried to purchase(at short notice) additional,capable combat aircraft (Because we had to) where would we get them from (If at all possible),how much would it cost per unit ,what would the lead time be to full usability….. Imagine I’m thinking of 25 or so fighters I suspect a look at that… Read more »