BAE Systems says it is ‘on track’ to deliver the full Project Centurion-standard Eurofighter Typhoon capability to the Royal Air Force by the end of this year.
‘Centurion’ adds the MBDA Storm Shadow stand-off cruise missileand the long-awaited ‘big stick’ of the MBDA Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) under Phase 1, dubbed Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E). Adding MBDA’s Dual Mode Seeker (DMS) Brimstone to Typhoon under the follow-on P3E (Phase 2 of Project ‘Centurion’). With both Storm Shadow and Brimstone on Typhoon, the RAF is realizing ambition to replace all Tornado GR4 capabilities.
For the RAF’s Tranche 2 and 3 Typhoons, this structured upgrade means that by the end of 2018 it will be in possession of a Typhoon that is effectively able to replace the trusty GR4.
Speaking at the company’s Warton Aerodrome, Andy Flynn, the Head of Capability Delivery Programs for Combat Air at BAE Systems, and industry lead for ‘Centurion’, said that the first 26 aircraft have been upgraded to P2E standard for the RAF. Development flying for P3E was completed on July 4, paving the way for full operational test with No 41 Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES), which commences on August 10, before it is rolled out to the front line for training.
Flynn says both BAE Systems and the RAF have maintained the delivery objective for ‘Centurion’ of December 31 this year. He had previously told Combat Aircraft: ‘We’ve improved the HMI [Human-Machine Interface], and we’ve given the pilot more weapons, so it’s about enabling the pilot to do more whilst the software simplifies the task and maximizes the capability.’