SAC GRAHAM TAYLOR / CROWN COPYRIGHT
INNOVATION FUTURE EQUIPMENT
An enhanced Paveway II bomb, fitted to a Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft. Some 48 Typhoons are equipped for Paveway munitions
capability, it is expected that they will be used mainly on air defence duties, such as providing Quick Reaction Alert interceptors, and also act as ‘Red Air’ (aggressors) for training purposes. The location at which they will be based is still under consideration. Despite the earlier reductions in RAF personnel strength, Duguid is optimistic that the extra aircraft will be effectively manned. There are currently 135 Typhoon pilots in the operational force, plus many others in non-operational roles. The extra personnel will be drawn from former Tornado pilots and slightly increased throughput from the flying training stream. “The extra pilots, experienced and new, will be integrated within the whole Typhoon force, thus allowing the balancing of experience levels within the force,” says Duguid.
THERE ARE 135 TYPHOON PILOTS IN THE OPERATIONAL FORCE, PLUS MANY OTHERS IN NONOPERATIONAL ROLES According to Squadron Leader Stefan Warwal, an instructor on the Typhoon operational conversion unit with 600 hours on Typhoon, the gradual introduction of upgraded capabilities has progressed smoothly. Having served with 1 Squadron during the introduction
of P1Eb software, Warwal notes the improvement of in-cockpit situational awareness, improved air-to-air capability – in part due to the Helmet-Mounted Sighting System (HMSS) – and the ability to use the Paveway IV precision-guided munition. He points out the use of the HMSS to cue an air-to-air missile (point-and-shoot) or the Litening III targeting pod camera on a ground target, adding that the radar can also cue targets. For the pilots, the arrival of Project Centurionstandard aircraft was eagerly anticipated. “They will display the information to the pilot when he needs to know it”, says Warwal, adding that the Praetorian DASS gives prioritised warnings. Looking ahead to the Tranche-3 aircraft, he confirms that the new weapons and systems, and the way they are fused together, will take Typhoon to a new level. Since SDSR 2015, the original Tranche-1 aircraft have a planned OSD of 2035, while the Tranche-2 and Tranche-3 airframes will fly to 2040 and possibly beyond. The current round of upgrades addresses the highest priorities for the Typhoon fleet but, says Duguid, “the future is developing the Tranche-2 and -3 capabilities”. These would include the tactical reconnaissance capability mentioned earlier, and the need for a new HMSS that adds an integral night-vision capability that is still to be decided. Summarising the current state of Typhoon, Duguid says, “it is delivering outstanding results on operations today, and its future, through both Project Centurion and the E-scan [AESA] radar, will ensure it remains one of the world’s most capable multi-role fighters”.
AIR POWER 2016 INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION
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