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.

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