RAF prepares to ramp up Project Centurion testing for Typhoon
Alan Warnes, RAF Coningsby – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
10 April 2017
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is to shortly begin intensive trials and tests of the Project Centurion configuration that is earmarked for the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 combat aircraft from the end of 2018.
Speaking to Jane’s at RAF Coningsby, the commanding officer of 41 (Reserve) Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) outlined the concentrated workload that the unit is set to undertake from July on the Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) and P3E packages that underpin Project Centurion.
“The programme is going to be tight – no one will deny that. P2E is big, with an awful lot of functional changes in the aircraft – key architectural ones to support the next phase,” Wing Commander Steve ‘Ras’ Berry said.
The legacy weapons that comprise the Raytheon AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), MBDA Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM), Raytheon Paveway IV precision-guided munition, and the BK Mauser 27 mm gun will all be integrated by 1 November. This will be followed by the P2E weapons that comprise the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) and MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile, and the P3E Brimstone air-to-surface missile.
“But we might pull some Storm Shadow work into exercises later this year to reduce the risk in P3E,” Wg Cdr Berry said. “Testing of [P3E] is expected around May next year and [should be] completed by 28 December  when it will be flying on front line.
“Thoughts of where the effects will be tested are now under way and we might start some of the early stages of Meteor [testing] in November, but we could wait for next spring to do that,” he added. “There are discussions too on how much Brimstone testing we will need to take overseas.
“If we need to replicate the capability of [the Panavia] Tornado [GR4] we need fast-moving targets.
Original post janes.com
The Typhoon FGR4 provides the RAF with a highly capable and extremely agile multi-role combat aircraft, capable of being deployed in the full spectrum of air operations, including air policing, peace support and high intensity conflict.
- Engines: 2 Eurojet EJ200 turbojets
- Thrust: 20,000lbs each
- Max speed: 1.8Mach
- Length: 15.96m
- Max altitude: 55,000ft
- Span: 11.09m
- Aircrew: 1
- Armament: Paveway IV, AMRAAM, ASRAAM, Mauser 27mm Cannon, Enhanced Paveway II
Initially deployed in the air-to-air role as the Typhoon F2, the aircraft now has a potent and precise multirole capability.
The pilot can carry out many functions by voice command or through a hands-on stick and throttle system. Combined with an advanced cockpit and the HEA (Helmet equipment assembly) the pilot is superbly equipped for all aspects of air operations.
Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain formally agreed to start development of the aircraft in 1988 with contracts for a first batch of 148 aircraft – of which 53 were for the RAF – signed ten years later. Deliveries to the RAF started in 2003 to 17(R) Sqn who were based at BAE Systems Warton Aerodrome in Lancashire (alongside the factory where the aircraft were assembled) while detailed development and testing of the aircraft was carried out. Formal activation of the first Typhoon Squadron at RAF Coningsby occurred on the 1st Jul 2005. The aircraft took over responsibility for UK QRA on 29 Jun 2007 and was formally declared as an advanced Air Defence platform on 1 Jan 2008.
Initial production aircraft of the F2 Tranche 1 standard were capable of air-to-air roles only and were the first Typhoons to hold UK QRA duties. In order to fulfill a potential requirement for Typhoon to deploy to Op HERRICK, urgent single-nation work was conducted on Tranche 1 to develop an air-to-ground capability in 2008. Tranche 1 aircraft were declared as multi-role in Jul 2008, gaining the designation FGR4 (T3 2-seat variant), fielding the Litening Laser Designator Pod and Paveway 2, Enhanced Paveway 2 and 1000lb freefall class of weapons.
All F2/T1 aircraft have been upgraded to FGR4/T3.
Tranche 2 aircraft deliveries commenced under the 4-nation contract in 2008, in the air-to-air role only. These aircraft were deployed to the Falkland Islands to take-over duties from the Tornado F3 in Sep 09.
A total of 53 Tranche 1 aircraft were delivered, with Tranche 2 contract provisioning for 91 aircraft. 24 of these were diverted to fulfill the RSAF export campaign, leaving 67 Tranche 2 aircraft due for delivery to the RAF. The Tranche 3 contract has been signed and will deliver 40 aircraft. With the Tranche 1 aircraft fleet due to retire over the period 2015-18, this will leave 107 Typhoon aircraft in RAF service until 2030.
Weapons integration will include Meteor air-to-air missile, Paveway IV, Storm Shadow, Brimstone and Small Diameter Bomb. Additionally, it is intended to upgrade the radar to an Active Electronically Scanned Array.
Eurofighter is easily recognisable from any angle. The engine intake is mounted on the bottom of the fuselage (1). Typhoon also has canards (foreplanes) mounted before the main wing (2) and delta (triangular) mainplane (3) is very deep at the point it joins the main fuselage. A tall, sharply swept tail (4) is at the rear of the upper fuselage, with the twin engine jet pipes directly below. The two-seat version has a large bubble cockpit for the additional pilot and a deeper upper fuselage giving a more humped appearance. Source raf.mod.uk
Eurofighter Typhoon: Details