A Eurofighter Typhoon Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) has successfully completed a release of the MBDA Storm Shadow, conventionally armed, stealthy, long-range stand-off precision missile.
This continues the series of trials that Eurofighter Partner Company, Alenia Aermacchi, is leading to demonstrate the full integration of the Storm Shadow missile with Typhoon's weapon system. With support from Eurofighter Partner Company BAE Systems, missile designer and producer MBDA, and specialist trials support from QinetiQ, the trials were conducted in November 2015 at Aberporth MoD firing range, in the UK.
The integration of the missile with the aircraft's weapon system was successfully demonstrated. The trials also verified the interface of the missile with the weapon system for pre-launch checks, demonstrated post-launch safe separation and the subsequent commencement of missile flight.
Test pilot Enrico Scarabotto flew the sorties and he said: “The Eurofighter and its weapon system performed exactly as expected. The aircraft’s performance is not significantly degraded by this heavy missile and, thanks to the aircraft's performance and the large number of weapon stations, after the launch of the missiles the Eurofighter keeps a full spectrum of capabilities for both air-to-air and air-to-surface engagements. This is a great advantage that only the Eurofighter, among western fighters, can guarantee. A truly swing-role combat aircraft.”
Storm Shadow provides a significant leap in the Eurofighter Typhoon’s operational capabilities, enabling the platform to deploy multiple weapons at a very long range well clear of danger from air defences. Storm Shadow, already in service with the Italian Air Force, Royal Air Force and others, is a long range weapon system designed to neutralise high value, hardened or buried targets.
The new weapons system will add the capability to strike in day or night in all-weather conditions, well-defended infrastructure targets such as port facilities, control centres, bunkers, missile sites, airfields and bridges that would otherwise require several aircraft and missions. This is a new addition to the Eurofighter Typhoon’s potent simultaneous multi-role/swing-role capabilities. Powered by a turbo-jet engine, with a range in excess of 250 km, the Storm Shadow missile weighs approximately 1.300 kg and is just over 5 metres long.
The first tests on Storm Shadow integration for the Eurofighter began in December 2013 with IPA2 operated by Alenia Aermacchi.
Six further flights were then completed in the following weeks to assess the Storm Shadow’s compatibility with the Eurofighter’s Air Data System, and Flutter & Structural Coupling tests were also carried out. A later flight was then performed with baseline configuration for comparative analyses purposes. The assessment of the Performance & Loads on the aircraft while carrying the missiles was done in March 2014 in a programme known as Extended WIF phase 1. Five flights were performed with the Storm Shadows installed and a further three with baseline configuration. Following this testing, IPA7 (Airbus Germany) and IPA4 (Airbus Spain) undertook an intensive campaign of related Aero Data Gathering trials with IPA4 having one and/or two Storm Shadows fitted in order to complete the WIF Flight Test phase of testing.
In November 2014 inert drop-tests and store jettison trials were accomplished at an Italian test range. The trials saw the missile being jettisoned from the aircraft and tracked by radar up to impact. In September 2015 two avionic integration flights have been performed in Decimomannu airbase to check the aircraft-missile avionic interface.
Eurofighter Typhoon is the most advanced new generation multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft currently available on the world market. Seven nations (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman) have already ordered the Eurofighter Typhoon and the State of Kuwait has recently signed an agreement for 28 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The Eurofighter Typhoon is currently the largest military procurement programme in Europe. Over 300,000 flying hours have already been accumulated and 450 aircraft delivered.
The Programme’s high-technology strengthens the European aerospace industry in the international market and secures over 100,000 jobs in 400 companies. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH manages the Programme on behalf of the Eurofighter Partner Companies Alenia Aermacchi/Finmeccanica, BAE Systems and Airbus Defence and Space in Germany and Spain - the most important aviation and aerospace companies in Europe.