Feb 23, 2015
Typhoon Set For PE3 Upgrade, integrating Brimstone Missile
The single largest part of the package is the £72 million deal with BAE Systems to complete integration of MBDA's air-to-ground Brimstone 2, which has already won plaudits for its ability to strike small fast-moving targets with low collateral damage during missions in Afghanistan, Libya and now Iraq.
The weapon is already installed on Royal Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force Tornado strike jets, but with the jet due to be taken out of service no later than 2019, Brimstone's combination of lethality and low collateral damage would have been lost on piloted aircraft without the integration order.
The deal for what is known as Phase 3 Capability Enhancement (PE3) also includes software tweaks to the aircraft to enhance the capabilities of the Storm Shadow, Paveway IV, Meteor and ASRAAM missile either already integrated on the jet or in the process of being married to the airframe.
Typhoon jets have recently become operational with new capabilities in what is known as the Phase 1 Enhancement Package. Phase 2 enhancement work is already underway adding improvements like the Storm Shadow and Meteor missiles.
Completion of PE3 is scheduled for 2017.
Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are all in the hunt for combat jets in competitions that have attracted the attention of fighter makers from the US and Europe scrambling for work to maintain production lines threatened by the looming presence of Lockheed Martin's F-35.
The Typhoon has already been sold to regional export customers Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Qatar could be the first to declare its hand on selection of a new fighter. A second industry executive said a decision could come sometime in the third quarter of this year.