A new package of advanced weapons, software and avionics for the Lancashire-built Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet is being trialled by Royal Air Force pilots at RAF Coningsby ahead of roll-out across the UK fleet.
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.
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.
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 other improvements, specifically required by the Royal Air Force.