RAF sources have indicated that they plan to create an additional front-line squadron of Typhoon aircraft according to Aviation Week and other online commentators.
The additional eighth squadron will be formed with air frames taken from the other seven. It’s understood that increased availability will allow squadrons to downsize and provide the aircraft for the eighth squadron while still allowing the same number to fly.
The government had earlier announced that the life of the jet is to be extended into 2040 and that two additional squadrons will be created, giving a total of 7 front-line squadrons.
“We will be extending the life of our multirole Typhoon for 10 extra years through to 2040, meaning we will be able to create 2 additional squadrons. This will give us a total of 7 frontline squadrons, consisting of around 12 aircraft per squadron.”
There will now be eight front-line squadrons.
It is understood that this move was made possible by the TyTAN contract, Typhoon Total Availability eNterprise service.
The contract which replaces the previously contracted Typhoon Availability Service, PC4, PC5, RDSS and Contract 1 contracts sees BAE Systems entering into a 10 year partnership with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to transform support to the UK Typhoon fleet. According to the RAF, BAE Systems will work in partnership with the Royal Air Force and the MoD and will jointly “transform the way they work” to further reduce the costs of operating the fleet at RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth by more than a third.
The contract will enable circa £500m of savings to be re-invested into developing new capabilities for the aircraft.
According to a Royal Air Force press release, one of the major challenges the service faces is that the Tornado out of service date is currently driving the need to ensure Typhoon is fully capable of performing all the operational roles provided today by Tornado. In addition, the current operational requirements on Typhoon are further driving the need for these capability enhancements.
“Through delivery of TyTAN we will reduce the cost of the support service by circa 40 per cent, whilst maintaining and improving levels of support to the UK Typhoon fleet. Furthermore, by making significant savings we have the opportunity to re-invest in developing future capabilities for the UK Typhoon fleet.
The capability enhancements and our ability to deliver cost-effective support will make Typhoon even more competitive in the export market and improve our competitive advantage in the wider realms of fast jet aircraft support.”
The three currently unmanned squadrons are expected to stand up int he 2018-2023 period.