The Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft is set to undergo flight trials with MBDA’s Storm Shadow cruise missile in the UK later this year.
To prepare for the trials, Eurofighter consortia members Alenia Aermacchi and BAE Systems have completed a series of ground-based tests at their facilities in Turin-Caselle, Italy, and in Warton, Lancashire, UK, respectively.
Fitted with two of MBDA’s Storm Shadow cruise missiles, the Italian instrumented production aircraft 2 (IPA2) and the UK production Typhoon aircraft, BS111, underwent electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) tests during the first set of ground trials.
The EMC testing is claimed to ensure the integrity of the electrical systems onboard the aircraft and the missile.
After these tests, the missiles were prepared for flight by positioning a series of laser tracking points that allow engineers to precisely analyse the trajectory of the weapon when released from the aircraft.
Supported by MBDA engineers, Alenia is leading the programme to integrate Storm Shadow onto Typhoon, and will also partner with BAE engineers to lead the UK-based flight trials.
The flight trials are scheduled to build upon previous trials in Italy in 2014, which saw the first successful release of a Storm Shadow from a Typhoon.
During the UK-based trials, Storm Shadow will be released from Italian IPA2 aircraft in order to collect safe weapons separation trajectory data and to verify the correct release sequence of the missile.
Manufactured by MBDA, the Storm Shadow is a conventionally armed, stealthy, long-range stand-off precision weapon designed to neutralise high value targets in all-weather conditions.
These targets include port facilities, control centres, bunkers, missile sites, airfields, and bridges that would otherwise require several aircraft and missions.
The missile is already in service with the Italian Air Force and RAF Tornados, and is expected to enable Typhoon to deploy multiple weapons at a very long range, well clear of danger from air defences.
Image: Alenia Aermacchi engineers mount Storm Shadow cruise missiles on Eurofighter Typhoon at Turin-Caselle’s facility in Italy. Photo: courtesy of Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH.