Typhoon a step closer to replacing Tornado GR.4 as RAF’s primary strike platform

royal-air-force-raf-typhoon-fgr-4-eurofighter-panavia-tornado-gr-4British Aerospace (BAE) and Eurofighter have announced that the next phase of upgrades and enhancements to the RAF’s fleet of Typhoons has entered the operational evaluation stage. The improvements are aimed at allowing the Typhoon fleet to adopt not only the full range of strike and reconnaissance capabilities the Tornado GR.4 is capable of but also improve upon them. The enhancements will also see the initial integration of the Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air to Air missile (BVRAAM) and the Storm Shadow stand-off Air to Surface weapon.

Operating under the guise of Project Centurion, the MoD and the RAF are confident that the Typhoon will be ready to fully replace the venerable Tornado GR.4 by 2018. The Eurofighter consortium issued a press release earlier this week outlining the next phase of the project.

Phase 1 Enhancements Further Work (P1Eb FW) is an evolution of the current Tranche 2 Typhoon aircraft in service with the UK. The P1Eb standard Typhoons entered service last year.

P1Eb FW is the first part of the UK’s Project CENTURION, the package of enhancements which aims to deliver a seamless transition of capability from Tornado to Typhoon by the end of 2018.

The upgrades will bring numerous new capabilities, including additional Human-Machine Interface technologies and additions to the aircraft’s Air to Surface targeting capability.

P1Eb FW has successfully undergone trial installation and Operational Evaluation with 41 Squadron, the Royal Air Force’s Test and Evaluation Squadron at RAF Coningsby, is now underway.

The Panavia Tornado has performed the all-weather day/night interdiction role for the RAF admirably since its introduction in its original GR.1 form in the early 1980s. Like the Eurofighter Typhoon, the aircraft was built by a multi-national consortium established in the 1970s (its origins can be traced back to the aborted Anglo-French Variable Geometry aircraft project in the early 1960s). The Typhoon replaced the Air Defence Variant (ADV) of the Tornado in RAF service in 2011 and will fly alongside the RAF’s Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning IIs once the Tornado GR.4 is withdrawn.

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9 responses to “Typhoon a step closer to replacing Tornado GR.4 as RAF’s primary strike platform

  1. It will of course be sad to see the Tornado phased out of service, but is equally good to see the Typhoon mature into the capable aircraft that it is. The Tornado has been an extraordinarily good aircraft for the Royal Air Force, (and for the Italians and the Germans). Where did 30 years go? Suddenly, I am feeling very old!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rich took the words right out of my mouth! I can remember the Tornado coming in and thinking how sad it was that older aircraft would now be replaced. Here we are now about to lose the Tornado! How time flies! (No pun intended!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha, I remember when the Jaguar was withdrawn from service. I couldn’t imagine the Jag not flying in the RAF anymore. Then the Harrier went and my world was turned upside down. I think in fairness, despite a truly epic career, the Tornado is due for retirement. I am truly sorry to see it in its final years but it is time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: RAPTOR pod too big for Typhoon | Defence of the Realm

  4. Pingback: Tornado GR.4s participate in Frisian Flag 2017 | Defence of the Realm

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