A new package of advanced weapons, software and avionics enhancements for Typhoon is being trialled by Royal Air Force Test and Evaluation.

The work forms a major part of Project Centurion – the programme to ensure seamless transition of capability from the Tornado GR4 to Typhoon.

Operational testing and evaluation of the upgrades, known as the Project Centurion Phase 1 capability package, includes trials of MBDA’s Meteor ‘beyond visual range’ air-to-air and Storm Shadow deep attack air-to-surface missile software systems. The test work is being supported by BAE Systems.

Meteor will bring an extreme ‘beyond visual range’ air-to-air capability to Typhoon. It is an active radar guided missile designed to provide a multi-shot capability against long-range, moving targets, such as fast jets, small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and cruise missiles, in dense electronic warfare environments. Storm Shadow will introduce a stand-off air-to-surface capability, enhancing Typhoon’s abilities against well-defended infrastructure targets.

The test work follows trial installation work and subsequent upgrade of six aircraft. The work was completed by the Royal Air Force’s 41(R) Squadron – the Test and Evaluation Squadron – and supported by teams from BAE Systems in Warton, Lancashire. The aircraft and support products used in the trials were generated by Eurofighter GmbH and the Eurofighter Partner Companies – Airbus and Leonardo – supported by MBDA.

James Glazebrook, Head of UK Centurion and Eurofighter Capability Programmes at BAE Systems Military Air & Information, said:

“Planned testing and evaluation by 41(R) Squadron is now well underway. This is another important milestone on the Project Centurion programme and has been achieved through hard work and excellent collaboration between our teams and the Royal Air Force.”

The work also includes a number of new UK-only national capabilities, which will bring additional human machine interface and other improvements, specifically required by the Royal Air Force, to the aircraft. Operational testing and evaluation will include ground test and flight test work as well familiarisation for the pilots and ground crew with new features introduced by the upgrades.

BAE Systems will continue to increase the capability of the Phase 1 package ahead of scheduled customer firings of the Meteor and Storm Shadow weapons. This will lead to eventual entry into service of the upgrades, scheduled for early 2018. The next and final stage of Project Centurion includes the integration of the Brimstone high precision, low collateral air-to-surface missile on to the aircraft.

The first live firing of a Brimstone missile from a Typhoon was successfully completed earlier this month.

22 COMMENTS

  1. I like the expression “to ensure seamless transition of capability from the Tornado GR4 to Typhoon.”

    If you ignore that the tordado’s retirement had to be delayed for multiple years, then very seamless.

    Bright side is that we are almost there and the old jet can be retired, freeing up pilots for the f35’s.

    • And those Tornado pilots must be some of the most experienced combat pilots flying anywhere in the World, we are lucky to have them.

  2. Steve – what are you talking about? The GR4s original out of service date before SDSR10 was 2025. And was then brought forward to 2018 to save money. Project Centurion has always been about ensuring the Typhoon could take over the GR4’s attack role by 2018. The only change to this was a few years ago when Op Shader over Syria/Iraq required the retention of an additional GR4 Sqn during that transition. This 12 Sqn was reactivated to do that until 2019.

    • Needing to reactivate a squadron for minimal bombing options (admittedly fairly sustained but still small numbers involved), is hardly a seamless transition. You could in fact call it a complete mess up.

  3. How much are these murders by bombing costing and what exactly is being achieved other than setting this country up as a target for terrorism?

    • TH, I think most of us have tolerated your different point of view until now. But, by calling RAF aircrew murderers you have crossed a line!

    • If assassinating men who crucify Christians; burn foreign fighters alive; drop gays off towers; mass rape Yazidis; feed Yazidi babies to their mothers; and mash rebellious children up in industrial dough mixers is murder – then I am completely happy with that definition and I would be a murderer too; given a rifle or Typhoon.

      Sometimes peace, at any cost, is a greater evil than targeted “murder”.

      Your faux righteousness in the face of unparalleled evil is little more than delusion and confusion.

      • Nathan, I’m convinced by now TH is either a troll or someone living in a self-deluded utopia where we don’t need a military or to make hard choices that’s going to involve casualties. It would be nice to live in that kind of world, unfortunately we don’t.

    • I don’t know why anyone replies to this idiot, he obviously gets a kick out of winding people up, a trait of a 5 year old. Leave him to cry in his corner.

  4. It’s really beginning to look good. typhoon very close to getting the best BVR anti-aircraft missile added to its repertoire plus a stand-off weapon that will give it a whole new mode of ground attack. Massive progress. Brimstone also on its way and then hopefully when (rather than if) the collaboration with Japan puts the AESA seeker onto Meteor that takes an already word-beating missile to the next level. The future of the Typhoon weapons integration really is looking bright.

  5. As an retired serviceman, I believe TH might ave some very good points. After all, what is really being achieved by setting this island up as a target? We will be the ultimate losers!

    • We are a target because of who we are, rather than what we do.

      If anyone is still trying to tie the Iraq war into the blame chain for ISIS, or indeed Afghanistan, then look at Sweden or Germany to see that being – to all intents and purposes – ‘neutral’ doesn’t excuse you from ISIS’s attack plans.

      They are radical, extremist Muslims. They take the Koran literally – a bloodthirsty book which repeatedly says ‘slay the unbelievers wherever and whenever you can’. Of course not all Muslims believe it literally, but the likes of ISIS who want to enforce Islam on the world will not stop.

      I have spent many years in China; they have exactly the same problem with Islamist terrorism in provinces which have a total of 120 million Chinese Muslims; and China hasn’t bombed any Arab land.

  6. I have always thought that the Typhoon’s potential would be realised a long way down its operational life. The makings were clearly there and to have a great multi-role aircraft you must start with the best fighter and then add the rest. world beating radar, Brimstone, Meteor and Storm Shadow and some of the most advanced sensor and helmet systems available.

    I cannot possibly see why a country like Canada would want an F-35 which has limited pylon capacity which, when used, destroys any stealth advantage. It goes against everything they have demanded to fit their particular Northern Hemisphere / Arctic defence requirements of twin engined adaptable fighters. Witness why they bought the F-18 despite it being a heavy airframe built for carrier use. And the Typhoon is one very serious QRA / defence weapon with added huge attack capabilities.

    Canada could be offered a deal where the pre-built modules as currently built in UK, Spain, Italy and Germany are shipped to Canada for final assembly and fitting out to their discrete needs. Creates more Canadian jobs and keeps our production lines going. I am sure the RAF would offer the RCAF a few to train with and develop while production is being fired up.

  7. Just out of interest anyone know who ‘Major T Woods’ was? I know this photo is from April 2013 but any background?

    Some wag suggested it was a golfing mad mech. extracting the Michael ….

    Especially interested as ‘Major’ is obviously not an RAF or FAA rank. Apache / Lynx graduate? US exchange?

  8. Could anybody explain why we are purchasing so many F35’s ( excluding essential carrier requirements ) and abandoning Typhoon development. The F35 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. This would also support the UK’s manufacturing base and capacity.

    • I think Taranis is going to be the next RAF bomb truck, hopefully with it being unmanned not not requiring as many defensive sensors and aid sweets it will be significantly cheaper so the UK could go it alone to prevent all the delays and cost increases caused from splitting the work out among countries that have no intention of buying it.

    • John, our commitment to the F35 is over the life of the programme. We are not buying 138 to operate at once but this will be spread over decades, with only enough in service to operate perhaps 36 on the QEC at any one time. Only buying 24 F35Bs will mean only 12 available for the carrier air wing – no point building the carriers if we are going to do that.

    • To BB45 +Rob. Very good point about Taranis, if the funds are every provided. I was only suggesting reducing the total order of F35 by 24 not down to 24. My logic is that 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.

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