The UK Royal Air Force is using a new upgrade to its Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft during exercise Red Flag 13-3 in the USA, with the enhancement to also soon be embodied with all its early production examples of the type.
BAE Systems, which developed the enhancements package, says the activity "provides capability upgrades to a wide range of Typhoon avionic systems, covering the displays and controls, attack and identification, defensive aids and communication subsystems". The programme also involves Germany's national support centre for the Eurofighter.
The first flight of a modified aircraft was performed at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire in May 2012, BAE says, with the new standard having been formally assessed during a High Rider series exercise late in the same year.
"The Drop 2 upgrade has been successfully evaluated and will now be embodied onto the [RAF's] wider Tranche 1 fleet," the UK's Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation says. "The initial roll-out has targeted the aircraft participating in the Red Flag high intensity air-to-air combat exercise being conducted at Nellis AFB in February/March 2013, with the remaining frontline squadrons receiving the upgrade shortly thereafter."
Nine Typhoons from the RAF's 11 Sqn are participating in the multinational Red Flag 13-3 manoeuvres from the Nevada base, with Panavia Tornado GR4 strike aircraft from the service's Lossiemouth-based 12 Sqn also involved.
Other Eurofighter operators are also looking to incorporate the improvements brought with the latest modification, according to the DE&S. "The participating nations within the Drop programme have taken a keen interest in what the Royal Air Force has achieved with this modification, and are now looking to embody the Drop 2 product onto their Tranche 1 aircraft," it says.