(March 30, 2007) -- The MoD has taken another significant step to equip the Royal Air Force with the capability it requires by signing a contract to transform RAF Typhoon fighters into an advanced multi-role aircraft.
The Future Capability Programme (FCP) will integrate advanced laser designation technology and precision munitions together with essential interoperability upgrades. The contract involving the four Typhoon partner nations UK, Germany, Italy and Spain, is valued at about pound830M (UK share pound325M) and the first RAF aircraft to be upgraded are expected to enter service early in the next decade.
Defence Minister Lord Drayson said:
"This contract marks a significant milestone for Typhoon. The multi-role capability it provides is key to the RAF meeting the demands and challenges it will face in the 21st Century. The aircraft is already providing exceptional performance in its air defence capability and will shortly take on its first operational role - providing Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) cover over the UK."
The development of Typhoon's initial combat capability has focussed on the provision of air-to-air weaponry with the aircraft set to be armed with the world's most advanced short range and medium range missiles. With this contract attention has turned to the development of a ground attack role that is vital in meeting the operational challenges facing the UK and its allies in this day and age.
This contract has been agreed between the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), on behalf of the four Typhoon Partner Nations, and Eurofighter GmbH.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, said:
"Having flown Typhoon and spoken to many of the frontline Typhoon pilots, I have absolutely no doubt about the aircraft's superb performance and huge potential. The enhancements delivered by this contract will develop the aircraft's multi-role attack capability and ensure that Typhoon remains one of the most capable combat aircraft in the World."