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An initial phase of enhancements to ensure that the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Eurofighter TYPHOON fleet is ready to take on the role currently performed by TORNADO aircraft has entered the Operational Evaluation stage.

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.

These latest upgrades has successfully undergone trial installation and Operational Evaluation with 41 (R) Squadron, the RAF's Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) at RAF Coningsby, is now underway.

The integration of P1Eb Further Work is an important and necessary incremental step towards Phase 2 Enhancements (P2E) for the aircraft,” Flt.Lt. Luke Gili-Ross, RAF 41 (R) Squadron (TES), said. “On the surface, it appears to deliver quite small improvements, but for the operator they may be significant in terms of the aircraft's continued effectiveness.”

The achievement of the delivery of P1EB Further Work capability is an important milestone,” Paul Ascroft, Technical Lead for Project “Centurion” at BAE Systems, continued. “Working with 41 Squadron, we are now undergoing Operational Evaluation and this is progressing well. This work is providing lessons learnt for the forthcoming packages, while achieving the first step on the journey and setting the standard of how the RAF and industry can work effectively together.”

Following the achievement of these latest upgrades to the aircraft, the first tranche of enhancements as part of Project CENTURION will continue with the delivery of the Phase 2 Enhancement package, which provides additional Human-Machine Interface and availability improvements, along with the initial integration of MBDA’s METEOR Beyond Visual Range  (BVR) Air-to-Air missile and the STORM SHADOW stand-off Air-to-Surface weapon.

The next and final upgrades deliver the Phase 3 Enhancement package, which includes the final integration of STORM SHADOW and METEOR capabilities, as well as the introduction of the BRIMSTONE 2 close air support Air-to-Surface capability.

Each of these enhancements will move through joint customer and industry initial installation, Operational Evaluation and squadron training before being declared operational.

RAF Eurofighter TYPHOONs Welcome USMC F-35Bs to the UK, as the country prepares delivery of the first F-35s and begins evaluation of the TYPHOON’s “Centurion” upgrade package. (Photo: Crown)

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