The Lancashire-built Typhoon is set to be a mainstay of world air forces for years to come thanks to a raft of new upgrades – despite plans in France and Germany to develop a replacement.
Typhoon has passed a significant milestone with the first live firing trial of its new air to ground missile, the Brimstone, which will be introduced to the phase three enhancement set to be in use until beyond 2040.
The Paris announcement on Thursday was seen by some aviation and political commentators as a set-back for the UK aviation sector and BAE Systems.
But speaking at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, BAE System’s managing director of military air and information, Chris Boardman, welcomed the European announcement and said BAE would be ready to play its part if required. The theme of the airshow was partnership and he said that was the way that the aviation industry worked these days.
He highlighted the close co-operation between BAE and its supply chain and also with its customers in projects such as Titan, a ten year close working relationship with the RAF which will see up to 40 per cent savings on maintenance and servicing of aircraft.
He added that BAE was also working on an international 5th Generation aircraft project, with Turkey, with engineers from Warton heavily involved.
It is a 10-year contract and we are effectively reducing the operating cost per flying hour of the aircraft by between 30 and 40 per cent
He said: “We already have an Anglo-French project under way to produce a future unmanned combat aircraft.
“We are working closely with Dassault and the next phase is due to begin next year.
“There is nothing I have seen in the announcement this week that would affect that.
“It is moving forward. I welcome it, I like clarity.
“We don’t feel threatened by it. From an industrial perspective we always work on a collaborative basis.
“I hope that BAE Systems will have some involvement in the future.”
Typhoon has seen a series of upgrades, from improved weapons such as Meteor air to air missiles, Stormshadow cruise missiles and now work on introducing the Brimstone guided bombs as well as the £40m upgrade planned for hi-tech defences for the jet.
He said the Titan contract was attracting interest from all over the world as a benchmark of close working with customers.
He said: “It is a 10-year contract and we are effectively reducing the operating cost per flying hour of the aircraft by between 30 and 40 per cent”
He said it meant the Typhoon operated at a similar cost to an F16, a much simpler single-engined aircraft, making it and the company’s services hugely more attractive world wide.