Speaking in the House of Commons, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Dunne, said that the Ministry of Defence is currently reviewing its earlier decision to retire 53 Tranche 1 Typhoon combat aircraft in 2018.

Asked by Toby Perkins:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the consequences for the UK’s capability of the retirement in 2018 of the 53 Typhoon aircraft purchased in tranche 1; and if he will reverse this decision in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Strategic Review.”

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Dunne answered:

“The Ministry of Defence is reviewing the potential utility of all its current platforms, including its fleet of Tranche 1 Typhoon aircraft, as part of the ongoing Strategic Defence and Security Review. Where there is clear merit in extending the life of existing equipment in terms of both military utility and value-for-money, the opportunity to do so will be considered in the context of the wider Review. It is therefore not appropriate to anticipate decisions on the Typhoon Tranche 1, or other capabilities, that have not yet been made.”

The RAF currently field 192 combat aircraft, made up of 87 Tornados; 53 Tranche 1 Typhoons; and 52 Tranche 2 and Tranche 3A Typhoons, deliveries of which are ongoing.

General Sir Nick Houghton, the Chief of the Defence Staff, used an air power conference in London to publicly warn how thinly stretched the RAF is. He said the RAF was now at “the very limits of fast jet availability and capacity”.

BAE Systems, which makes Typhoon are lobbying for the MoD to upgrade the Tranche 1 Typhoons.

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This is a bit of a non-story. The reply was based on a direct question and was we are doing a review of our equipment and confirm this soon. I am unclear from the quote where the “to retain numbers” statement comes from.

Jason Bartlett

May retain theres no may about it they need to keep them. To lose 55 fighters with no replacements would be a disaster for the raf, there is still loads of life in these jets and we need to maintain or increase jet numbers not cut them.



don’t tempt the government like that. lol

Tim McNeill

Even if they are not updated or can’t be updated they are still a potent QRA aircraft. That frees the Tranch 2 and 3 for other duties.

Chris Power

Make sense IF it happens, if they need another 1-2 Fast Jet Sqn’s these things are (most importantly) paid for, but also in service, with the pilots and maintained guys and gals trained and the spares chain in place. It’s a small price to pay if the 1-2 Typhoon Sqn’s may be less capable than the others. The RAF has a long history of operating different capability aircraft in the same role (Spitfire/ Hurricane, Lightening/ Phantom, Phantom/ Tornado F3, Tornado GR1/ Buccaneer. …just in this case it would be same type, variable ability. Utter no brainer, why look at anything… Read more »

Brian Trueman

Change the engine update the computer systems not that hard is it?

Chris Power

Hi Brian the difference between the new and earlier jets is structural rather than computers or engines.


But could we not keep these aircraft as purely fighter aircraft and not ground capable?

Brian Trueman

Ahhhh ok cheers for that mate


I thought this was a good idea,but if Bae systems are lobbying for it, it’s almost definitely a bad idea


How effective are the Tranche 1 planes at dog fighting, compared to the later versions?

Douglas Newell

I thought the whole point of the Typhoon was that future updates were “software” and not “metal bending”.

Does anyone know why Tranche 1 airframes are structurally different from Tranche 2 & 3.


Steve – Typhoons have been beaten by both India and Pakistan is dogfights. That is because RAF pilots are trained at stand off warfare. Dogfighting would only be needed as a last ditch option. I suppose the Red Arrows/ Hawkes with the sidewinders and cannon, could do that job in an emergency.

Graeme Robertson

Makes sense or buy more new tranch 3 to replace them

Ian Petrie

Why are they getting rid of typhoons when the tornado is still in service? Was there something wrong with them? Can’t they be upgraded?

Rick Mundy

Heck, ISIS would be trembling from strafing Spitfires. Don’t always need a 100 million pound fighter to take out a Toyota pickup. Why get rid of functional fighters?

Tim Gilroy

“How effective are the Tranche 1 planes at dog fighting, compared to the later versions?”

Another reason why these are a waste of effort. I do have to believe that “dogfight” maybe will occur on occasion, but at last the technology has reached a point that those qualities are not as important as BVR. So in this instance I do wonder if this Is unwise

John Seddon

a hint of common sense; UK MoD should have kept Ark Royal A/C Carrier as a back up.


No, I am 99% sure that we will not need a plane in the dog fighter role in the near to medium future.

However, it’s more a question of numbers which we seriously lack, if the tranche 1 can replace the more modern versions in the role of QRA, we can move the better planes to bombing role which we will be using a lot of over the short to medium future.

Andrew Perrin

why not take out and update to new standard in batches so to keep numbers up and costs down on new builds


How much money are we talking about? There doesn’t seem to be much point in keeping a special class of plane to intercept airliners but is outclassed by enermy fighters.Maybe better off buying a couple of dozen new 3B.The price has miraculously fallen 25% now that the orders have run dry.This also makes sense for the industrial Base.

Andrew deacon

It woild be a shocking waste to bin aircraft only a third to half way through their 6000 flying hours lets hope sense prevails.
Its frankly inevitable that not all typhoons or any other aircraft for that matter will have the same capabilities, imagine how many blocks of f16’s the us and israel have , and no doubt many blocks within blocks.
Im sure the whole fleets within fleets thing was dreamt up by some penny pinching offcial in the mod!