Alenia Aermacchi has successfully conducted the first release of a Storm Shadow missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.
The location that the missile was fired from is so far undisclosed.
Undertaken in collaboration with its Eurofighter partners, such as BAE Systems, the trials saw the missile being released from the aircraft and tracked by radar up to impact.
The inert drop-tests and store release trials form part of a contract received by Eurofighter in July. This contract agreed the firm would integrate the Storm Shadow missile onto the Typhoons of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.
Eurofighter chief executive officer Alberto Gutierrez said: "The trials represent an important step forward in the development and integration of the Storm Shadow weapon system onto the Eurofighter Typhoon.
"The results help pave the way for full integration of the missile onto the aircraft for operational use."
The Storm Shadow-Typhoon integration flight test programme started with an instrumented production aircraft 2 (IPA2) in December 2013.
Initially, the early weapon integration flexibility tests featured a configuration of two Storm Shadow missiles, two AIM-9L air-to-air missiles, and four under fuselage advanced medium range air-to-air missiles.
The missile’s compatibility with the aircraft’s air data system was evaluated through a further six tests in the following weeks, alongside flutter and structural coupling tests, and an additional trial for comparative analysis purposes.
In March, the assessment of the performance and loads on the aircraft while carrying the missiles was carried out. This was followed by five more flights with the Storm Shadows installed, and a further three with baseline configuration.
Alenia will now work on the instrumented missiles for the environmental data gathering tests, in addition to validating the automatic pilot set for new aircraft configuration, and assessing handling qualities.
In parallel with the Alenia-led flight trials, BAE also completed the first trial installation of a Storm Shadow missile onto a UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon, which is an essential part of the integration contract.
Manufactured by MBDA, the Storm Shadow is a conventionally armed, stealthy, long-range stand-off precision weapon designed to neutralise high value targets. These targets include port facilities, control centres, bunkers, missile sites, airfields, and bridges that would otherwise require several aircraft and missions, in all-weather conditions.
The missile is already in service with the Italian Air Force and RAF Tornados. It is expected to enable Typhoon to deploy multiple weapons at a very long range, well clear of danger from air defences.
Image: Alenia has successfully conducted the first release of a Storm Shadow missile from a Typhoon aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH.