The first of the new standard Typhoon Tranche 3 fighter jet destined for the Royal Air Force will complete its first set of series of flight tests this week.
The Tranche 3 standard embodies a number of under the skin changes. Taken together there have been hundreds of modifications, changes and additions with which the Typhoon should be more interesting to field as a fighter jet.
Mark Kane, BAE Systems Managing Director – Combat Air says: “For casual observers the aircraft is little changed from its sleek predecessor but it has a number of provisions that will allow it to take on additional capability in the future. One of the few visual clues is a number of small panels on the fuselage which are there to accommodate the fitting of conformal fuel tanks. Once fitted, these would give the aircraft greater range and free up positions under the aircraft for larger or additional weapons. At the nose a new internal structure has been built and work has been carried out on power, cooling and electronics so that a new E-Scan radar could easily be accommodated.”
The first Tranche 3 has been produced for the RAF by the Eurofighter consortium and assembled by BAE Systems. British Single Seat aircraft no. 116 took to the skies for the first time from Warton in the second week of December with pilot Nat Makepeace in the cockpit.
Under the Tranche 3A contract signed in 2009, a total of 112 aircraft have been ordered for the four European partner nations of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. 40 aircraft are bound for the Royal Air Force.
Source: BAE Systems
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