BAE Systems says the UK's phased replacement plan for the Panavia Tornado GR4's strike capabilities remains on schedule, following a successful first separation of an MBDA Brimstone air-to-surface missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon.

Typhoon IPA6 Brimstone - BAE Systems

BAE Systems

Conducted on 13 July using the UK's instrumented production aircraft 6 flying from BAE's Warton site in Lancashire, the test forms part of a Project Centurion activity to clear the Royal Air Force's Typhoons to deploy the Brimstone weapon and MBDA's Storm Shadow cruise missile.

Describing the first live firing as intended to "test the separation of the low-collateral, high-precision Brimstone weapon", BAE notes: "In total, nine firings will take place to expand the launch and range capabilities."

BAE says the first Brimstone firing from a Typhoon follows a series of around 40 flight trials conducted earlier this year, including the involvement of the RAF's 41 Sqn fast jet and weapons operational evaluation unit.

The addition of the Brimstone and Storm Shadow are key enhancements in enabling the Typhoon to fully replace the Tornado's mission capabilities before the variable-geometry type is retired from use by early 2019.

The Typhoon is also being armed with MBDA's Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile to further enhance its operational performance.