Eurofighter Typhoon continues phase 1 enhancements testing
he Eurofighter Typhoon development fleet has begun flight testing the final part of the phase 1 enhancements (P1Eb) programme with completion and delivery to the customers scheduled by the end of 2013. This final step of the first batch of enhancements contract introduces a host of important improvements to the Eurofighter Typhoon capabilities.
These improvements include full air-tosurface integration on Eurofighter Typhoon (including laser designator pod), full smart bomb integration, modern secure identification friend or foe (IFF) known as Mode 5, improved radios and direct voice input, airto-surface helmet mounted sight system, improved air-to-air capabilities including digital integration of short range air-to-air missiles and updated MIDS datalink functionalities for enhanced interoperability with Coalition Forces.
P1E(b) will also see the introduction of many aspects from the UK Radar and Drop programmes which delivered improvements to the tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon — the latest standard of which has recently been delivered and is currently being evaluated by the RAF.
Cassidian flew the first P1E(b) flight in instrumented production aircraft (IPA) 7 in Germany on August 27, 2012. BAE Systems, Cassidian in Spain and Alenia Aermacchi followed with flights in IPA6, IPA2 and IPA4 respectively. After those flights it was confirmed that P1E(b) will deliver a robust simultaneous multirole capability to the nations’ air forces which will provide a significant leap in Eurofighter’s operational capabilities.
The phase 1 enhancements cover the design, development, qualification and clearance of the first major upgrade after the main development contract (MDC) which will be achieved via two separate software releases (SRP 10 with P1Ea and SRP 12 with P1Eb). The P1E programme is a major milestone in the development of Eurofighter Typhoon giving to the weapon system seamless air-to-ground integration and forming the baseline for future enhancements such as AESA radar and METEOR.
AFrench navy Rafale M shipboard fighter launched an AM39 Exocet anti-ship missile AM39 in an operational context recently. The aircraft, Rafale M27, was catapulted from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to validate the use of the missile. This flight test marks the end of operational testing and qualification of the Rafale/Exocet combination by the French Navy.
This is the first time that a Rafale belonging to the naval aviation launches an Exocet. The missile was qualified on the Rafale in 2007 by the DGA, as part of the development of the aircraft’s F3 standard. This test milestone paves the way for the operational implementation of this capability in both Rafale squadrons (11F and 12F) of France’s Naval Aviation.