Dec 6, 2014
UK downplays conformal fuel tanks for Eurofighter Typhoon
Writing in the service's official annual review published at the start of December, Air Commodore Beach put bringing air-to-surface capability on line as his top priority because of pressure to exploit it in current operational tasking. "The decision [in October by the UK government] to extend the third Panavia Tornado GR.4 squadron gives an idea of the pressure combat air is under; we're being asked to do a lot."
He said the ability of the Typhoon to "migrate roles" from the Tornado is really important and he said that work to declare the Typhoon operational with the Raytheon Paveway IV guided weapon was "going well". "I am confident we'll declare the capability by the end of the first quarter ," he said.
Looking at more long-term requirements, Air Cdre Beach down played RAF interest in acquiring conformal fuel tanks for the Tranche 3 aircraft that are now being assembled for the service at BAE Systems' Warton site. The Tranche 3 aircraft are 'plumbed' for the tanks that are intended to be fitted on their upper fuselage spine.