The Eurofighter consortium has moved a step closer to delivering a package of major enhancements for the Typhoon combat aircraft, with test flights having been performed over recent weeks in all four partner nations.
Final elements of the P1E(b) upgrade were taken to the air using four instrumented production aircraft, including IPA 7, which was flown by EADS company Cassidian with the modifications in late August.
Enhancements include integrating the Litening targeting pod and IRIS-T missile
To deliver what Eurofighter describes as "a robust simultaneous multirole capability" through the second part of a Phase 1 Enhancement programme, the development will be delivered to the air forces of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK as a new software release by the end of 2013.
Key elements of the P1E(b) package include the full integration of Rafael's Litening targeting pod and precision-guided bombs; a combination previously cleared for use by the Royal Air Force only under a UK-funded effort. Also in the weapons field, the package brings the full digital integration of the Diehl BGT Defence IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile.
Coalition activities will be improved through the addition of Mode 5 identification friend-or-foe equipment and updated Multifunctional Information Distribution System/Link 16 functionality, with improved radios also part of the package.
"The P1E programme is a major milestone in the development of Eurofighter Typhoon, giving the weapon system seamless air-to-ground integration and forming the baseline for future enhancements," Eurofighter says. The latter will include the integration of an active electronically scanned array radar and MBDA's Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.