Hallbergmoos – All Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon shall have the same capability. That is the objective of the substantial retrofit programme R2 that has now begun for 115 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft of earlier capability standards. Aircraft in Blocks 1, 2 and 2B, are now being upgraded to Block 5 capability, FOC standard (Final Operational Capability) in order to maximise Eurofighter Typhoon capability at a fleet level.
An upgrade management philosophy is in place to combine Eurofighter Typhoon Capability Upgrades with routine scheduled maintenance to enhance overall fleet availability. With ongoing development on Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 aircraft, maintenance philosophies and Capability Insertion Upgrade planning will need to be integrated to keep all aircraft to the same standard, whilst retaining high fleet availability.
The first non-Block 5 aircraft to be brought to FOC standard is BS021, the 21st single seater of UK production. Only a few days later German aircraft GS019 joined the programme. Both are Block 2B aircraft. This functionality standard standard represents the full air-to-air functionality, whereas Block 5 includes this plus the enhanced carefree handling air-to-ground capability to drop laser guided bombs.
Priority in the R2 programme is on the upgrade of Block 2B aircraft, as less work is required to bring these aircraft to the higher performance level. By the end of 2007, the combination of Block 5 new aircraft deliveries and upgraded R2 aircraft will enable the Partner Air Forces to meet their NATO commitment goals.
Following on from Block 2B aircraft, Block 2 Eurofighter Typhoons with the initial air-to-air capability will be upgraded. Finally early Block 1 aircraft (all of them twin seaters) will enter the programme. Thereafter the Partner Company’s Return To Works Programmes are designed to deliver a ratio of single seat and twin seat aircraft to satisfy each Nation’s operational requirement. R2 is scheduled to upgrade all Tranche 1 aircraft to the Block 5 FOC standard by early 2012.
The R2 programme is paving the way for future upgrades to Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 aircraft with an option in the medium term to upgrade Tranche 1 to Tranche 2 capability standards as required by the Partner Air Forces and Austria.
105 production aircraft have been delivered to date including five Instrumented Production Aircraft operated by industry and owned by the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency NETMA.
Seven units in four nations are successfully operating Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft with more than 12,000 flying hours already accumulated by the Partner Air Forces, in addition to the almost 4,800 flying hours by the test fleet.
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