Typhoon is to remain at the forefront of combat air capability in Europe for decades to come, according to Air Commodore Linc Taylor.
The RAF is set to deliver the capabilities of the Tornado onto the Eurofighter by December this year under a programme called Project Centurion.
Project Centurion integrates additional state of the art complex weapons onto the platform; the operationally proven deep strike cruise missile, Storm Shadow; Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile, Meteor; and the unique low-collateral, precision attack missile, Brimstone.
Air Cdre Taylor, speaking to media recently, said that one of the key lessons of the Project Centurion programme will be how future capability upgrades are built into the aircraft in the years and decades ahead.
“The future is an uncertain place and one of our challenges is how do we get more and more spiral development (incrementally building on existing capabilities) because we will need to be more agile and flexible. In the future we will be bringing in next generation precision strike stand-off missiles like Spear Cap 3, Expendable Active Decoys, a new E Scan radar and a new helmet.
But we are going to bring them in differently. We are going to integrate them in a much more agile way. It’s important because we have to maintain combat advantage and to do that we have to be faster than our adversaries. The big thing is pace. This is the approach of our Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative (FCAS TI) which is spiralling in new capability.
When you have the best in the world already, like you have with Typhoon, why would you start again? So, we are learning and delivering new technologies in concert with Typhoon. And if we develop a capability within the FCAS TI programme we can spin it back into Typhoon.”
The Air Cdre added that Typhoon’s ability to share information and work with other assets will also be key in the future. He said:
“It is about ensuring the right information is in the right place at the right time. The sensors on the aircraft are so good it’s a question of how we use that information and how we get it to other fast jets and ground allies.”
This comes not long after Eurofighter CEO, Volker Paltzo, confirmed that an enhanced Eurofighter Typhoon would form a core part of any European future combat air system, working hand in hand with any future European fighter programme – manned or unmanned.
Speaking during Farnborough International Air Show, Volker Paltzo said:
“Eurofighter Typhoon is the benchmark for European collaboration – now and in the future. Eurofighter will be a central pillar of any European FCAS, and has a key role to play in this future system, operating alongside any existing or new European assets that may come into play in the future battlespace – across all mission scenarios.”
Talking about the technologies that will form part of a European FCAS, Paltzo added:
“I firmly believe that Eurofighter Typhoon is the best platform to carry, demonstrate and certify a whole host of technologies and deliver them as a mature capability for Europe.”
Paltzo also confirmed that a need for greater connectivity, sensor and data fusion in the future battlespace would see a refresh of technology in the cockpit, including a high resolution large area display, and up to 15% more power to the aircraft’s EJ-200 engines, as part of the aircraft’s long term evolution plans.
“We are in ongoing dialogue with our partners regarding these emerging requirements”, he stated.
Clemens Linden, Eurojet TURBO GmbH CEO, speaking on behalf of the Eurofighter engine consortium during Farnborough International Air Show, said:
“Eurofighter, with the EJ-200 engine, already has the best engine in its class in the world today. But we can make it even better, delivering a 15% increase in thrust, to ensure that Eurofighter Typhoon can maintain its combat edge in the future.”
Volker Paltzo also confirmed the ongoing importance of Eurofighter to European defence, stating
“Eurofighter is the biggest and most successful defence collaboration project ever undertaken in Europe. It is the backbone of NATO’s European air defence and will continue to be developed to defend against all future threats for decades to come. It is what Eurofighter was built to do.”