Libyan bombing operations in 2011 has inspired the UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF) largest ever fighter upgrade program known as the Phase 1 enhancements (P1E).
The UK has started using the upgraded package Typhoon aircraft, developed by BAE Systems working together with its Eurofighter Partner companies, the RAF and UK Ministry of Defense, (MOD) as part of the P1E. The capabilities have been developed based on the operations in Libya, BAE systems said in a statement Thursday.
The aircraft upgrades include enhanced computing power, weapons systems integration advancements and improved sensor suites making Typhoon even more potent whether tasked with air-to-air work, air-to-surface or a combination of both during a single mission. The P1E enhancements package delivers much more flexibility in mission planning. It allows a single pilot, in a single aircraft to simultaneously attack six different targets in one pass.
Divided into two elements, Phase 1 Enhancements (a) and Phase 1Enhancements (b), the latter takes the multi-role concept to a new level.
Typhoon Requirements Manager, Wing Commander Stephen Williams said: “P1Eb allows Typhoon to begin realizing 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.”
The PE1b package also brings upgrades for the aircraft’s Defensive Aids Sub System and the latest interoperability updates for the Multifunction Information and Distribution Systems, which together ensure the Typhoon remains one of the most effective aircraft in the skies.
Testing of the P1E package was conducted through a combined industry and MOD team. Martin Taylor, Director for Combat Air at BAE Systems said: “P1E is a massive leap forward in capability and by working jointly as one team; we’ve ensured that there are no surprises when it enters service. We have delivered a capability with all the necessary training and support to make sure it is ready and usable from day one.”
The first 17 P1E standard aircraft are now in service with the RAF with a further 18 to be delivered by 1st April 2015.