Thursday, May 22, 2014

ILA2014: Eurofighter and MBDA announce 'paradigm shift' in Typhoon capabilities

Integration of the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), Storm Shadow/Taurus cruise missile, and Brimstone air-to-surface missile onto the Eurofighter Typhoon will represent "a paradigm shift" in the combat aircraft's capabilities, company officials announced on 21 May.
Speaking at the ILA Airshow in Berlin, officials from both Eurofighter and MBDA noted how the integration of these new weapon systems onto the Typhoon will keep the fighter at the forefront of military capability for the coming decades.
"For the air-dominance, deep-strike, and close-air-support roles these new weapons are paradigm-changing enhancements, [and] we don't see a threat that [the Typhoon] can't handle for the next 30 years," said Paul Smith, Eurofighter capabilities manager and former UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon pilot.
Smith described the Meteor BVRAAM as "a tactical weapon with a strategic effect", and noted the Typhoon's ability to carry six such missiles, as well as two Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAMs).
Whereas similar-type missiles have a relatively short boost phase after launch, after which they glide to the target while bleeding energy, the Meteor's ramjet means it is propelled right up to the point of impact. This is significant, explained Smith, as it reduces the adversary aircraft's chances of escaping the missile and gives the Typhoon pilot much more confidence when engaging enemy aircraft.
"Combined with the Typhoon's wide field-of-view Captor [radar], PIRATE infrared search and track [IRST], and advanced targeting pod, the Meteor means there is now no escape," he said.
While coalition nations in general, and Typhoon operators in particular, have not had to concern themselves with air dominance over the previous decade or so of operations over Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, Smith noted that the current crisis with Russia proves the continuing importance of air-to-air capabilities.
"We have taken air dominace for granted, but events in Eastern Europe right now show that it should not be taken as a given," he said.
Smith and Russ Martin - an MBDA weapons integration capability military adviser and former RAF Panavia Tornado F.3 pilot - said integrating stand-off Storm Shadow/Taurus missiles allows Eurofighter to put the stealth on the weapon rather than the platform. These missiles' ability to be fired from range gives the Typhoon pilot a 'launch and leave' capability that greatly enhances his or her survivability, they added.
Brimstone was described by Martin as "a game changer". When the missile has been fully integrated, the Typhoon will be able to carry 12 on four launcher packs of three missiles each, he said. Smith added that experience of the Brimstone on the RAF's Tornado GR.4 aircraft over Afghanistan and Libya has been so positive that pilots now routinely opt to use this weapon over the internal cannon when looking for low collateral effects.
"RAF crews now choose to use the Brimstone in preference to the gun, as it is a one-shot pass with a guaranteed kill," he said. During Operation 'Ellamy' in Libya in 2011 UK government ministers would be reassured when told the Brimstone would be the weapon used to strike a particular target, he added.
While the Meteor BVRAAM and Storm Shadow/Taurus systems are being integrated onto the Typhoon under the Phase 1 Enhancements B (P1EB) package to be rolled out in the next six to 12 months, the Brimstone integration is a separate effort being carried out by the United Kingdom with a view to having the Typhoon fully multirole capable by 2018, in time for the planned retirement of the Tornado GR.4 in 2019.

No comments:

Post a Comment

no offensive and abusive language please