Flight testing for Tranche 3 Typhoon fighter jet

Dec. 10, 2013 at 9:38 AM
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WARTON, England, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A new model of Eurofighter's Typhoon has started a series of flight tests in Britain by BAE Systems, part of the consortium that builds the aircraft.

The new model, known as Tranche 3, features hundreds of modifications, changes and additions, BAE Systems said.

"For casual observers the aircraft is little changed from its sleek predecessor but it has a number of provisions that will allow it to take on additional capability in the future," said Mark Kane, BAE Systems managing director - Combat Air. "One of the few visual clues is a number of small panels on the fuselage which are there to accommodate the fitting of conformal fuel tanks.

"Once fitted, these (tanks) would give the aircraft greater range and free up positions under the aircraft for larger or additional weapons.

"At the nose, a new internal structure has been built and work has been carried out on power, cooling and electronics so that a new E-Scan radar could easily be accommodated."

In November, the first in a major series of flight tests to integrate the MBDA Storm Shadow missile onto the aircraft took place and earlier this year Eurofighter Typhoon announced a contract to develop the integration of the Meteor weapon system, BAE Systems said.

A total of 112 Tranche 3 Typhoons have been ordered by Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain, partner nations in the Typhoon program.

No details were provided on the length of the current testing program.

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