Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The most advanced version of the Typhoon fighter plane has been delivered to the Royal Air Force, maker BAE Systems announced on Friday.
A ceremony at the assembly facility in Warton, England, marked the handover of the final Eurofighter plane in the RAF's order of 160 planes. The company said it will now shift to ramping up production on Qatar's order of the aircraft.
"This event marks another major milestone in our partnership with the U.K. which will continue to see us work together to invest in evolving Typhoon to become the complete battlefield controller," Andy Flynn, Typhoon Capability Director at BAE Systems, said in a press
Britain expects its Typhoon fleet to remain in service until 2040
Deliveries began in 2003, with 565 of the planes have been built for the air forces of Austria, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Britain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Spain.
BAE will begin building 24 Typhoons for the Qatari air force, the first of which is scheduled for delivery in 2022, as well as major structures of 28 more for Kuwait that will be assembled in Italy.
"Typhoon was designed to continuously evolve, and its untapped potential continues to be realized with new investments in radar, communications, data management, weapons and connectivity further strengthening its role in the front line of securing the skies over the U.K.," Flynn said.
Upcoming modifications include the planes' capability of carrying European-made Meteor, Brimstone and Storm Shadow missiles.
The Typhoons destined for Kuwait and Qatar will include new Active Electronically Scanned Array Captor-E radar and the Lockheed Martin sniper targeting pod, which provides positive target identification, autonomous tracking, GPS coordinate generation, and precise weapons guidance, The Aviationist reported.
The buildout at BAE Systems came on the same day that RAF Typhoons stationed in Scotland arrived in Malaysia to participate in the annual Five Powers Defense Arrangement exercises.
The Five Powers Defense Arrangement pact -- made up of Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Britain -- is regarded as a cornerstone of Britain's defense policy in the Indo-Pacific region, British officials said Friday.