“It's been an incredible year for the Typhoon force.” RAF Group Captain Matt D’Aubyn, Typhoon Programme Director, told a media briefing at RIAT today.
“It has been an unprecedented year in terms of the number of hours that we have flown on operations.
“We have continued to support Quick Reaction Alert North, South and Falkland Islands, as well as with continuing operations in the Middle East on Op Shader. Our NATO air policing effort and an enhanced posture in Eastern Europe has really come to the fore. In addition to all that, we have continued to project globally on exercises to maintain those really high-end skill sets, exercises like Red Flag and Arctic Challenge exercise in Sweden.”
The Typhoon force flew more than 22,000 hours last year – the second highest since it was formed — and within that total it clocked up its highest ever operational hours.
In terms of capability Group Captain Matt D’Aubyn said that the war in Ukraine had demonstrated the need to maintain Typhoon’s capability
“We are absolutely war fighter focused. Everything we do in the capability programme is focused on delivering the best possible capability to the war fighter to go and do those tasks.
“The war in Ukraine has shown that control of the air remains a vital enabling function for any military operation. But also that control of the air can still be contested by a relatively small but intelligent force in the face of potentially superior massing technology.
“That is why we need a Typhoon programme that outpaces the threats and sustains our operational advantage to continue to deliver control of the air.”
He said that the work on the European Common Radar System (ECRS) Mk2 radar would sustain Typhoon's operational advantage into the next decade.
Earlier this month the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced an £870 million contract award to BAE Systems to deliver the new radar to enhance the Typhoon fighter fleet.
The award will fund the further development of technology and integration work on the European Common Radar System (ECRS) Mk2 radar by BAE Systems and Leonardo UK.
Looking to the future, Group Captain D’Aubyn added that the Striker II helmet was another ‘absolutely vital capability for Typhoon’ that will be ‘an integral part of the weapon system.’ He said that Phase One up to the Preliminary Design Review is progressing well and is on track for the end of the year.