The claim comes after an aircraft from the RAF’s 41(R) Squadron 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.
These 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.”


    • The F35 is basically replacing the harrier fleet. The tornados replacement is the upgraded tyhoon with no extra planes been purchased. So our fast jet fleet will have shrunk by more than 100 aircraft in the last 15 years. So the typhoon and F35 will be worked twice as hard wearing out the airframes much quicker.

      • Isnt Tyranis supposed to be the replacement for Tornado? Development seems to have grinded to a stand still which is a pitty as long term it should save a fortune when it comes to targeting thugs in Syria

        • UK typically would run for the hills before developing it further alone and for benefit of our industry.
          They will go international, hand the tech on a plate oversees, and then the programme grinds to a halt over work share arguments.

          Rince and repeat.

  1. With F22 Raptor around I find this hard to believe but there you go. Still one of the worlds best fighters without doubt.

    • The F22 is definitely the best air superiority fighter in the world. The tyhoon is a close 2nd, difference is the F22 can do one thing only, the typhoon can do it all and still be a beast at air superiority.

    • The Raptor has its weaknesses.

      – As of right now it is limited to the AIM-120C7 (the ‘D’ still in testing).
      – It has no helmet mounted missile cuing system
      – It has no IRST
      – It still doesn’t have full Link16 capability
      – Without external tanks its range is middling.

  2. The statement isn’t that outlandish.

    This is all on paper of course, but I think any aircraft armed with the pairing of the ASRAAM/Meteor vs Sidewinder/AMRAAM has an advantage.

    IMHO the European A2A missiles (including the IRIS-T from Germany) are the best in the world…… on paper of course.

  3. Its a great plane but…£37billion paid by UK taxpayer so far, divided by 160 airframes delivered = £231m per unit. Not including cannibalisation of airframes (or the cost of the new targetting pods/guidance pods).
    Why are we spending more on this when we should be buying more modern and more adapatable F35b’s. Or maybe new tanks, choppers or warships or maybe saving the very useful and very often used Royal Marines from being cut!

      • Costs declared by an RAF AVM whilst getting a bit confused about long division to Parliamentary committee (its recorded in Hansard). Cost by 2018 are £37billion. Not whole lifetime costs. Cost to 2018, money paid so far according to the AVM.
        But no need to get upset the RAF has loads of money, apparently they even found over £8miliion to spend on centenary parties, stuff the Typhoon is great at airshows but parties are clearly the best way to spend the budget, on parties, possibly a medal and maybe a jazz band and singer or two, great.
        Or alternatively how many rounds of 9mm, 5.56 or 7.62 would £8m buy?

        • I disagree with this method of costing. The design and development costs are sunk, so if we want more airframes the only meaningful measure if the marginal cost of ownership.

          • The flyaway cost for a Typhoon was recently quoted by BAE as £89M.
            For an aircraft with its outstanding capabilities, that’s a competitive price.
            A price for the F-35B? Be interested to hear any comments – I’ve read it variously described somewhere between £160M – £240M per unit.

    • The F35B is not I repeat not a dedicated air to air fighter/interceptor. Yes, it can carry out this role but it is limited due to the following reasons. To maintain stealth it must carry its weapons internally, therefore you will be limited to the number of Meteors and ASRAAMs it can carry. Secondly, it has a pretty short combat radius and will have to rely on air to air refuelling to maintain a CAP such as the bit between Iceland and the Shetlands. Thirdly, although not so relevant these days it is not a dogfighter as per the Typhoon.
      The aircraft was designed as a primary strike aircraft, i.e. to destroy air defences or attack strategic targets as part of an offensive package. In the Airforce it was bought to replace both Harrier and Jaguar, which were both tactical strike aircraft. The aircraft’s requirement has developed into an all round strike aircraft, as it has to fulfil the roles for the USAF, USN and USMC as well as the partner Nations.
      The Typhoon by comparison was deigned primarily as an interceptor. It has an increased combat radius as it was designed to replace the role carried out by the Tornado F3s. It has also a phenomenal time to height, which is important not only QRA but also leads nicely to the amount of thrust available when engaged in dogfighting. It’s wing shape is not suited to low level attack, but supersonic cruising. It has been made to cover the multi-role attack due to budget costs, we simply cannot afford single type aircraft any more. Therefore in a modern peer to peer scenario the aircraft will be teamed up with the F35s. The F35s will carry out the suppression of enemy defences whilst the Typhoons carry out the bombing role. In the air to air roll especially a NATO scenario the Typhoon will be teamed up with F22s acting as a missile truck whilst the F22 uses it AESA to carry out long range scanning. The Typhoon has done very well against F22s at Red Flag, the IRST is first rate and can detect stealthy targets.

  4. How does it compare to Rafale these days? No maritime capability and no AESA radar as yet. Is it really better than Rafale?

    • julian – the fact there never was a Naval Typhoon was a direct result of the French pulling out of the Typhoon programme. When they left there was no need for us to develop a CATOBAR Typhoon as we had no CATOBAR carriers. Time has moved on and now we have F-35s that will be far superior to a Typhoon could be off a carrier if not in overall capability.

      You are also wrong about radar as Justin Bronk, a Research Analyst of Military Sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, discussed recently:
      ” Radar is a sensitive and highly restricted topic for open source discussion… however, in very broad terms CAPTOR-M which is the current radar on Typhoon is the most advanced and capable mechanically scanned fighter radar in service around the world. It loses out to the new RBE2 AESA radar which has entered service with Armee de l’Air Rafales in terms of low-probability of intercept (stealthy emissions) and multiple simultaneous tracking and search capabilities. In the air to air domain, at longer ranges against a small number of conventional threat aircraft, Typhoon might well have the advantage over even the RBE2 due to its impressive range and resolution. However, against large numbers of targets at different ranges/altitudes and certainly in a ground-scanning role, the Rafale is currently ahead on radar capabilities. Once the long-delayed CAPTOR-E AESA radar is integrated onto Typhoon, however, Typhoon should have the advantage in radar and greater development potential since its radar aperture is much larger, can fit a greater number of T/R modules for its AESA than Rafale and will have a much wider field of regard. The latter capability will allow Typhoon to take particular advantage of the long-range capabilities of the Meteor missile by continuing to provide guidance to the missile whilst maintaining maximum range from an incoming target”

      • Warning – two (different) Julians on the same thread! Hello Julian1 🙂

        Chris (or anyone) – Do you know whether CAPTOR-E upgrades for the U.K. Typhoons are baked into the current equipment budget or is it something that the RAF wants but budget hasn’t been allocated to yet?

        From looking at publically released info on CAPTOR-E a year or so ago it is one of the potential Typhoon upgrades that looks very exciting. I read that as well as the huge amount of space in the Typhoon nose cone meaning it will be big, they will also maintain the mechanical scanning mount used for the current radar so its field of regard will be increased even further vs a regular fixed AESA and it will actually have a greater than 180 degree field of regard, i.e. will be able to look slightly further back than perpendicularly left/right/up/down.

        With CAPTOR-E installed I think that, at least on radar capabilities, Typhoon will be in a different league to Raphale. Now we just need to hope that it happens.

  5. I think Ali is either confused or misrepresenting the evidence.

    The figure of £37bn is projected total cost of the RAF typhoon fleet over its lifetime, which includes development, procurement, support and modification.

    The cost of each UK typhoon including the R&D is around £110m each, without the R&D it’s around £80m.

    So for each Typhoon we procure we will have to spend a further £120m on using and updating it, which is not unreasonable given that each airframe has projected life of over 30 years. It costs around £4000 per flying hour for a typhoon, again not unreasonable.

    The problem with Typhoon, is that development of typhoon in to a truly multi role aircraft has taken far to long and resulted in lost export orders, such as the Indian contract. The winner, Rafale, was considered by them to be mature and ready combat the Typhoon was not.

    So good news, but it should have been carried done several years ago regards the attack role

    • When I worked at Warton, thirty years ago in military sales, the rule of thumb was that lifetime costs were 4 times procurement cost. Maybe the factor has been re-jigged?

  6. I saw report the Saudis love their Typhoon’s because of the bomb load they can carry and reliability. Going forward I think it correct we purchase more tranche 3 to replace the last 3 squadrons of tornado. Or we consider F35A perhaps. Then we step up research into unmanned aerial fighter and long range strategic bomber aka unmanned b2. Time we got on the front foot of future military aviation again.

    • I agree Andy, it would be good to see the MOD reinstate the Tranche 3B purchase they dropped a few years ago. It would also be a shot-in-the-arm for the workers at Warton!
      A force-structure based on 160 Typhoons is too few – particularly as it will be years before the F-35 is built-up in sufficient numbers, and operational capability, in squadron service.

  7. If we put nationalism aside, which is the World’s most potent fighter? Is it the F22, which is hands-down the most capable air-superiority fighter? Is it the Typhoon with its wide range of top-notch ordinance or is it the SU35 which is also capable of carrying a wide range of excellent weapons. It surely depends on your criteria. One day, it might be the F35. Don’t laugh. It is stealthy, has a great radar, will be able to carry almost any NATO ordinance (most externally) has a helmet-mounted sight and (crucially) is designed to work with other aircraft to provide real-time secure situational awareness data to ground and air assets. The aircraft has not evolved to full capability, yet.

    • Nick, I wouldn’t worry too much about the Su35s. It has a large RCS due to all its 90 degree reflectors and look at me engine compressors, but also has a massive heat signature. The Typhoon by comparison is much better, it has quite a small RCS and heat signature, especially frontally as per the Rafale. The IRST on Typhoon is the game changer, the Typhoon can detect the Su35 a lot earlier than it can be detected, and that is all that matters! With Meteors monster range and two way data link – game over!

  8. It’s all very confusing really, comparing “fighters”, as there is or was no such thing as a Typhoon, it all depended on which tranche and block, for a multi-role. I seem to remember thinking the T1 Block 2 at the time was the best interdiction and /or air superiority depending on which role deployed, backing it against the F22. But with the improvement of the air to ground with later blocks and tranches, that must have reduced a bit its air to air role, it’s always a bit of a compromise. For me though the Typhoon is still mainly tasked for air to air, and the RAF seem to agree with me (or vice versa!).

    The F35 though multi-role is more for air to ground etc, with air defence being almost secondary, and the RN seems to agree with that, though of course the basic air defence of an unescorted QE would be the F35.

    And, err, that’s about it from me.

  9. BAE Systems, did design a “marinised” Typhoon. It was to have strengthened undercarriage, a raised nose undercarriage and salt water protection. It was a back up plan in case the X32 or X35 did not work. Sadly it was only a computer model.
    It is theoretically possible for a Typhoon to take off from the QE deck using the ramp. It has a sufficient thrust to weight ratio, which is comparable to an Su33/Mig29K.


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