News story

RAF Typhoons to get weapons upgrade

The UK's Typhoon aircraft are set to be armed with world-leading Meteor air-to-air missiles later this decade.

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Meteor missile system on a Typhoon aircraft (stock image) [Picture: Copyright Eurofighter, Bryan Walsh]

Meteor missile system on a Typhoon aircraft

The announcement of the upgrade comes after an agreement was signed today, 18 June, by industry and the 4 Eurofighter nations.

During a short ceremony at the Paris Air Show, defence ministers from the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain witnessed a contract being signed between Eurofighter and the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency that will see the missile system integrated onto the aircraft.

The Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, manufactured by MBDA, is a highly-advanced long-range weapon that can be used against a range of targets. The missile will complement the missile systems already in use on the aircraft, giving pilots a greater choice of weapons depending on their mission objectives.

The Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile being successfully launched from a Eurofighter Typhoon for the first time. Copyright BAE Systems.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne, who attended the signing ceremony on behalf of the UK, said:

This is a further exciting step in the planned upgrade programme for this impressive aircraft. The entire programme is a powerful example of European government and industry collaboration in both missile technology and combat air weapon system development.

Meteor will provide the RAF with a world-leading air-to-air weapons capability and improve prospects for export of the Meteor missile and the Typhoon weapon system.

Typhoon with Meteor missiles attached

An RAF 17 Squadron Typhoon with Meteor missiles attached (stock image) [Picture: Copyright BAE Systems Warton]

Typhoon is already delivering air defence for the UK and the Falkland Islands, and its ground attack capabilities were instrumental in allied operations over Libya. The RAF took delivery of its hundredth Typhoon aircraft earlier this year.

Over the next 10 years, MOD is to spend £18 billion on Typhoon and the Lightning II F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, 2 of the world’s most modern and capable multi-role aircraft, which will deliver the UK’s combat air capability.

Published 18 June 2013