Brimstone Integration Flight Trials Continue For Typhoon

Eurofighter Typhoon BS117 with full P3E weapons fit. Pictures by Jamie Hunter

SHAH ALAM: Eurofighter Typhoon, one of two fighters downselected for the MRCA programme continue its trial to integrate the MBDA Brimstone AGM. 

A live firing trial is expected later this year which likely see the clearance of the weapon for operational use next year.

The trials are part of the enhancement package for the Typhoon. The capability is for meant for the RAF although once completed will be offered to other users as well including export customers.

Eurofighter Typhoon BS117 with full P3E weapons fit.
Pictures by Jamie Hunter

Release from BAE Systems

Successful Brimstone Weapon Integration Flight Trials Continue For Typhoon

A further series of flight trials of Eurofighter Typhoon with the low-collateral, high precision MBDA Brimstone air-to-surface weapon have been successfully completed at BAE Systems’ site in Warton, Lancashire. The trials are part of ongoing development work on the Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package for Typhoon, which will also deliver further sensor and mission system upgrades as part of Project CENTURION – the programme to ensure a smooth transition of Tornado capabilities on to Typhoon for the Royal Air Force by the end of 2018.

Potential Brimstone fit on Typhoon. MBDA UK Ltd

The flight trials, an important milestone on the integration programme following the completion of ground testing and initial flight trials last year, were partly carried out through a Combined Testing Team (CTT) approach with pilots from the Royal Air Force’s 41(R) Squadron (the RAF’s Test and Evaluation Squadron). In total around 40 trials to integrate Brimstone with Typhoon have seen the aircraft flown with four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, two Paveway IV laser guided/GPS bombs and two launchers each containing three Brimstone missiles. Eight of the 40 flights have been carried out with 41(R) Squadron.

Steve Formoso, Chief Test Pilot for BAE Systems Military Air & Information business, said: “This series of flight trials has included Aero Data Gathering (ADG) flights to test how the addition of the Brimstone weapon and other assets interacts with the aircraft’s flight control system software. The results have been excellent, with pilot maintaining manoeuvrability whilst carrying a heavy weapons load.

Potential Brimstone fit on Typhoon, MBDA UK Ltd

“The detailed results of these trials will now be analysed and further testing carried out ahead of firing trials. The low-collateral Brimstone will provide the Typhoon pilot with the ability to precisely attack fast-moving targets at range, further enhancing the aircraft’s already potent air-to-surface capabilities.”

The flight trial programme for Brimstone is running alongside ongoing Typhoon development programmes with the Meteor and Storm Shadow weapons, which form part of the aircraft’s Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) package.

Farnborough 2016 infographics

As mentioned in the comments section, the Typhoon will not be performing at next week’s LIMA 17. As in previous two LIMA’s a full-scale replica will be displayed instead.

— Malaysian Defence

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12 Comments

  1. so many years to integrate a small stand off missile to a platform that you developed on your own? clearly it is just an excuse to give money to bae systems, and no we don’t want to be the next one in the line. compare that to the time they got to integrate the storm shadow to the typhoon or the brimstone to the tornado and it makes it look out of place.

  2. I doubt it was an excuse ”to give money to bae systems”; there were various issues involved, plus maybe a share of cockups but there were reasons. As Brimstone has already been integrated and certified; any present or future Typhoon operators will not face any issues.

  3. Aside the facts and figures and the logic, who else has the gut feeling that we are going to land the Typhoon for our next MRCA most likely ex-Saudi’s, besides myself?

  4. Fird,

    Assuming that, how soon can we expect them? The Saudis will soon send their existing F-15s for upgrading. Can they afford to let the Typhoons go at this time?

    I believe they can because have ample aircrsft, but it all comes down to how they organise it.

  5. Actually they can give away their assets because we have not seen them actually operate their assets competently. So in reality those numbers, even if given some of it away won’t really affect much of their operations.

    For example, they have 50 hercules, but have we seen them used for humanitarian help in indonesia or bangladesh?

    Did their superior fighter assets able to track down yemeni scud missile launchers that recently landed missiles just 60km from mecca?

  6. The Saudi armed forces and for that matter all of the Gulf Arab countries are not equipped or structured or have the doctrine
    to operate on foreign soil for long periods: full stop/period. Operations in Yemen have benefited immensely from intel and logistical support provided by Uncle Sam.

    As for the Scuds it’s really not an indication of anything. Iraqi Scuds still landed in Israel and despite Uncle Sam being in charge of Saudi security; Iraqi Scuds still landed on Saudi soil. Unlike Saudi the U.S. had satellites and long range early warning stuff that could provide real time warning of a Scud launch; yet Scuds still manage to make it past Patriot and land on Saudi and Israel.

    Any speculation that Saudi will provide fighters is at the moment pure speculation, nothing more. Even if they offer us fighters; we won’t accept them if they will cost and arm and leg to operate/support. Just because we are offered something doesn’t mean we’ll automatically accept it.

  7. Isn’t that one of the critics against the Typhoon..expensive “arm & legs to support” maintenance? Still made it into our short list..

    Reply
    RMAF was looking for twin engine MRCA, the support costs were already known when they decided

  8. Well, there simply isn’t a fighter in this class that is cheap to operate. This is the nature of modern fighter aircraft. The other candidate, the Rafale is certainly not cheap either, like its predecessor the Mirage 2000.

    Due regard should also be given to indirect costs. There are aircraft that are cheaper to buy but come with their own problems with reliability and the quality of support. Direct operating costs are never going to be available to us to make a proper comparison. Those indirect costs are even harder to know and have a big impact on performance and availability.

    Reply
    That is why some in the air force prefer the Super Hornet, as it has a bigger user base, Australia and US Navy. That’s why we are having so much problems with the Sukhoi and Fulcrums, we cannot tap into a user base that can help to sort out things. We have to do it on our own and have rely on the OEM which is not geared to the kind relationship with their Western counterparts.

  9. One factor that makes current gen fighters expensive to operate is that they have more electronics, computers, etc, all requiring test support equipment. Whether it’s a Typhoon or Rafale; all current gen fighters are more expensive to maintain compared to earlier gen ones and that’s without taking into account fuel and the fact that support crews require more, in depth training – in other words current gen fighters require a more extensive support infrastructure.

    There is nothing to indicate that Typhoon is more expensive to run compared to Rafale or vice versa; both types have their respective merits. As AM has pointed out, there is no current gen MRCA which is ”cheap” to run. Same applies to current gen MBTs which for obvious reasons are more expensive to run compared to say a
    T-72M1 or an early model Leopard 2.

    On the Fulcrum, if we had flown it the way the Russians and other former Warsaw Pact users did and adopted the same operating and support philosophy; it wouldn’t have been expensive to operate. The problem is we flew the Fulcrum the way we did our Western platforms. With the MKMs, we had to fork out cash to integrate and certify various non Russian gear [Thales was the systems integrator]; if we had done what Indonesia and Vietnam did, the bare minimum with regards to modifications; our Su-30s would have cost less. The Russians [and the Indians] helped us with a maintenance syllabus but couldn’t help us with a combat syllabus as they don’t operate MKMs.

  10. Oh that matter, I believe the Russian philosophy of cheap aircraft will not last forever.

    The Russians will increasingly have to pack their airframes with technology to compete with western models. Yet it becomes obvious that packaging them in low lifespan airframes will be counterproductive, perhaps unaffordable. The pilots will also have higher training requirements, and they will have to operate to greater degrees of autonomy than in the past, so the old Soviet philosophy of limited training hours will have to go. For another thing, Russia is a market economy now so factories don’t exist for the sake of producing large numbers of airframes or engines.

    Russia will still produce cheap weapons for its traditional markets, but they also have to change or be left behind.

  11. BTW Canada has officially started negotiations to get 18 Super Hornets as an “intrim” fighter before an open tender for the replacement of the rest of the legacy hornet to be started later.

  12. Some background for the commenters. Typhoon is a group-manufactured and owned aircraft. although each nation can and has adapted the aircraft for their own needs. Brimstone integration is so because the Tornado GR4 is retiring and the F-35B, its replacement CANNOT launcher Brimstone from its internal bays as that missile/bomb is rail launched. F-355B will have SPEAR 3 and PAVEWAY IV for air-to-ground strike. Brimstone and PAVEWAY IV will be for Typhoon. The Typhoon GR4, the RAF\’s model, can launch PAVEWAY (as it is doing so over Syria and Iraq) but not Brimstone. Backtrack, the RAF initially wanted the Typhoon as only an air defence/superiority fighter, not a strike aircraft, but times change.

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