Nov 29, 2015

UK's Typhoon service life extended and numbers increased

The UK is to extend the service life of its Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft at the same time as boosting overall numbers, as it looks to maintain its frontline fighter strength.
The plan, which was disclosed in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) released on 23 November, will see the Typhoon out-of-service date (OSD) extended from 2030 to 2040, with 24 aircraft that would have been retired before this date now being retained to form two new frontline squadrons.
There are currently 53 Tranche 1 and 67 Trance 2 Typhoons in service, and the RAF has begun receiving the first of 40 Tranche 3A aircraft (the status of the proposed buy of 43 Tranche 3B aircraft has not been confirmed). The Tranche 1s were slated for retirement between 2015 and 2019.
In addition to the increasing Typhoon numbers and service dates, the government has also recommitted itself to the capability enhancements for the aircraft that include the integration of additional air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons types, as well as an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
Given the software limitations of the Tranche 1, it is likely that, if as expected it is these platforms that are retained, these earlier aircraft will be used for air defence duties that do not require the Phase Enhancements (PE) upgrade packages earmarked for the Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 platforms. The Tranche 2 and 3 platforms will be prioritised for upgrades to include AESA and enhanced ground attack capabilities.

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