Jon Lake – The RAF’s Typhoon Force has flown its first operational sortie carrying the new-to-Typhoon MBDA Brimstone 2 precision attack missile.

On 30 January, Air Commodore Justin Reuter, UK Air Component Commander for Operation Shader and Air Officer Commanding 83 Expeditionary Air Group shared a video on the social media website Twitter. The video showed preparations for the first operational Typhoon sortie carrying the Brimstone air-to-surface missile. The video was clearly filmed at RAF Akrotiri, from where the six Typhoons and eight Tornados of No.903 Expeditionary Air Wing fly their missions against Daesh targets in Syria and Iraq.

The video showed individual missiles being fitted to only the outboard hardpoints of the now-standard Brimstone triple carriers that are fitted outboard of the Typhoon’s underwing tanks. The aircraft, ZK301, also carried a pair of 500-lb Raytheon UK Paveway IV dual mode bombs, and a Litening 3 laser designation pod on the centreline.

For self defence the aircraft carried a pair of underwing ASRAAM missiles outboard and a single AIM-120C AMRAAM missile in the forward port missile recess.

Integration of the Brimstone missile on Typhoon means that the aircraft can now carry all of the same weapons as the retired Panavia Tornado GR.Mk4.

Three new weapons have been integrated on the RAF’s Typhoon in the two distinct phases of the £425 million Project Centurion upgrade. Each weapon marks a dramatic new capability for Typhoon.

The Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) saw the incorporation of enhanced software and the integration of the MBDA Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile and the MBDA Storm Shadow CASOM (Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile) long-range cruise missile. Meteor and Storm Shadow ISDs (In Service Dates) were declared on 31 August 2018. This opened the way for the use of the Meteor missile on QRA, and the first QRA launch of a Typhoon carrying Meteor took place on 10 December 2018.

The Phase 3 Enhancement covered the integration of the MBDA Brimstone 2, whose ISD was formally declared on 18 December 2018.

by Jon Lake