Friday, November 29, 2013

Eurofighter Typhoon gets a serious strike upgrade.



One of the more glaring deficiencies of the Eurofighter Typhoon compared to its contemporaries (Super Hornet, Rafale, etc) has been its focus on air-superiority over strike capability.  As older Panavia Tornados get retired, however, the Typhoon will step up and take more of a ground-pounder role.  This means upgrades.

Most recently, trials have begun incorporating the Storm Shadow air launched cruise missile (ALCM).  The Storm Shadow is a big, stealthy missile with about a 500km range and a 450kg warhead.

No.  Not THAT Storm Shadow.
If one 500km range ALCM isn't enough, then how about the slightly bigger Taurus KEPD 350?  It's already been ground tested and air trials are said to be happening soon.  The Taurus is quite similar to the Storm Shadow, with a slightly bigger warhead (500kg vs 450kg).

A Typhoon shows off 2 Taurus KEPD 350 ALCMs on its inboard wing pylons.
The Storm Shadow and Taurus are big missiles, and placement is limited to the inner wing pylons.  Normally, this is where the drop tanks would be located, but updates to the Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 versions of the Typhoon enable it to utilize conformal fuel tanks (CFTs), freeing up these pylons without sacrificing range.

With increased orders originating from the Middle East, valuable upgrades to the aircraft's weapon systems are taking place.  With the addition of a new AESA radar, targeting pods, and the like, the Eurofighter Typhoon will no longer be seen as a strictly air-to-air fighter.

3 comments:

  1. An order from UAE could help Typhoon in ground attack capabilities integration. Because there's still work to do : after Taurus and Storm Shadow, it would remain :
    -A lighther laser-guided bomb like 500lbs GBU-12 (at least) in addition to the heavy 2000lbs GBU-24
    -Some propelled air-to-ground weapon : Maverick or most probably Brimstone

    -an anti-ship missile : MBDA Marte was proposed for India, but the picture at the top of your post shows the Kongsberg NSM. It will probably depend on the customer...
    -an anti-radiation missile (for few customers only) : Harm or Alarm most likely.


    Another difference between Storm Shadow and Taurus is the range (250km vs 500km): quite useful when you have a short-legged Typhoon or F-35...


    And I can't resist a Rafale fact here : due to its 5 heavy-payload hardpoints instead of 3 for the Typhoon, Rafale is able to carry 2 Storm Shadow and 2 drop tanks, as your picture in the Rafale post shows...

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Typhoon will likely be equipped with the Brimstone as of 2020:

    http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/asd_08_19_2013_p03-01-607933.xml

    They are also slowly but surely integrating other weapons like the GBU-16 and Litening pod:

    http://theaviationist.com/2013/04/19/typhoon-dual-attack/



    It's got a way to go to reach the same omni-role capability of the Rafale (if it ever gets there) but it is interesting to see.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the update. 2020 for Brimstone...that's far. With costly ground attack F-35 to buy, that will be hard for UK to fund integration of this mainly british weapon don't you think?


    I thought Litening pod integration was mainly done, with Damocles pod integration under way as an alternative to Israel-product in GCC countries. GBU-16, good.... but why, again, an heavy ordnance (1000lbs) ? Recent operations with big issues about collateral damages push the need for 500lbs or even 250lbs weapons.


    A big work was already done in the air-to-ground area for Rafale. Brimstone integration could be very interesting, as well as anti-radiation missile (maybe with India?).

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.