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British Air Force receives advanced Typhoon fighter jets

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The Eurofighter Typhoon. A BAE Systems photo

LONDON (BNS): The Royal Air Force (RAF) has started operating the "most advanced" fighter jet in its arsenal – the upgraded Eurofighter Typhoon – after taking its delivery from the BAE Systems.

The refurbished Typhoons, upgraded by BAE under the Phase 1 Enhancements (P1E) programme, are now capable of conducting air-to-air task or air-to-surface task or a combination of both during a single mission.

The aircraft upgrades include enhanced computing power, weapons systems integration advancements and improved sensor suites, making Typhoon even more potent. The P1E enhancements package delivers much more flexibility in mission planning. Divided into two elements, Phase 1 Enhancements (a) and Phase 1Enhancements (b), the latter takes the multi-role concept to a new level.

"P1Eb allows Typhoon to begin realising its air-to-surface capability while also delivering in the air-to-air arena. Our ability to switch between air-to-air and air-to-surface modes is a big step, providing great flexibility for our pilots on Operations. This is a key step to delivering capability for the UK's Interim Force 15," according to Typhoon Requirements Manager, Wing Commander Stephen Williams.

The upgrade enables the jets to carry the Paveway IV precision-guided bombs for the first time. The weapon will provide enhanced air-to-surface capability with the ability to attack up to six separate targets at one go by using GPS guidance.

Besides, the Typhoons are also fitted with upgraded radar and sensor systems, improved avionics, upgrades for the aircraft's Defensive Aids Sub System and improved communications systems.

The warplane is equipped with the Litening III targeting pod for high resolution targeting imagery and precision targeting information to the aircraft, pilot and weapon, according to BAE Systems.

The company is upgrading 35 of the RAF Tranche 2 Typhoons under the P1E programme in a £950 million contract. The first 17 have been delivered with a further 18 set to be delivered by April 2015.

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