The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is operating 17 Phase I enhancements (P1E) standard Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft.

Undertaken by BAE Systems, the P1E upgrade programme included improvements to sensor suites, computing power and weapons systems integration advancements, which provides the Typhoon with improved air-to-air work, air-to-surface or a combination of both during a single mission.

Developed on the back of operations in Libya, the upgrade is divided into two elements, namely P1E(a) and P1E (b), and is executed in collaboration with Eurofighter partner companies, the RAF and UK Ministry of Defence.

Capable of delivering much more flexibility in mission planning, the P1E enhancements package enables a single pilot, in a single aircraft to simultaneously attack six different targets in one pass.

BAE Systems Air Combat director Martin Taylor said: "P1E is a massive leap forward in capability and by working jointly as one team, we’ve ensured that there are no surprises when it enters service.

"We have delivered a capability with all the necessary training and support to make sure it is ready and usable from day one."

The PE1b package upgrades the aircraft’s defensive aids sub system and the latest interoperability updates for the multifunction information and distribution systems, which together are claimed to ensure the Typhoon remains one of the most effective aircraft in the skies.

"P1Eb allows Typhoon to begin realising its air-to-surface capability while also delivering in the air-to-air arena."

RAF Typhoon requirements manager wing commander Stephen Williams said: "P1Eb allows Typhoon to begin realising its air-to-surface capability while also delivering in the air-to-air arena.

"Our ability to switch between air-to-air and air-to-surface modes is a big step, providing great flexibility for our pilots on operations.

"This is a key step to delivering capability for the UK’s Interim Force 15."

BAE is scheduled to hand over an additional 18 PE1-upgraded Typhoons to RAF by April 2015.

Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter manufactured by a consortium of EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE for deployment during air operations, including air policing, peace support and high-intensity conflict missions worldwide.

Image: The RAF is currently flying 17 phase 1 enhancements standard Eurofighter Typhoons. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.

Defence Technology