RAF Typhoon FGR4, 29 (R) Squadron, RAF Coningsby (Crown Copyright, 2018) [880]

Project Centurion Ensures Future of RAF Typhoons

£425m Project Equips Typhoons with Storm Shadow, Meteor and Brimstone

In three years, the £425m ‘Project Centurion’, has re-equipped the RAF’s Typhoon fleet with the deep strike cruise missile Storm Shadow, air-to-air missile Meteor and the precision attack missile Brimstone, ensuring its future into the 2040s.

Speaking at RAF Marham, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that the RAF’s Typhoons have now been fitted with a state-of-the-art complex weapons suite to vastly increase their capability, transforming the Typhoon fleet into a world-leading multi-role combat air platform for decades to come. The Typhoons now have boosted capabilities to intercept airborne missiles and strike ground-based targets, seamlessly taking over from the Tornado’s attack role as the Tornado nears retirement.

According to the MOD, Project Centurion was completed on-time and to budget. RAF engineers and personnel have worked together with hundreds of UK workers from British defence firms including BAE Systems, MBDA and Leonardo to reach the milestone.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

A transformed Typhoon has the power to dominate the skies into the 2040s and we continue to look even further into an ambitious future.

The Defence Secretary made the announcement in front of four different RAF aircraft, in a brand-new maintenance hangar at RAF Marham, which he opened today along with a state-of-the-art new training centre. The four aircraft represent the past and future of British fighter jets.

They included the Tornado, which has been in-service since 1979, making its combat debut in the 1991 Gulf War and still flying combat sorties over Syria and Iraq on Op SHADER. The Tornado will be retired later this year and its role will transferred to the Typhoon.

In addition to the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35B Lightning II, the Tempest concept fighter jet model (Project Tempest) was also on show. The model, which represents an example of what the UK’s future capability might look like, was unveiled last Summer at Farnborough International Air Show, when the Defence Secretary launched the nation’s Combat Air Strategy to ensure the UK remains a world-leader in the sector for years to come.

The aim is then for a next-generation capability to have initial operational capability by 2035.

Next Generation Air Force

Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said:

The successful integration of Stormshadow, Brimstone and Meteor on Typhoon completes and enhances the transition of world-class capabilities from Tornado and allows a stalwart of the RAF’s Combat Air inventory to retire from service.

The RAF has already trialled its Typhoon and F-35B Forces’ interoperability. In a series of operational trials, the evidence clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of both platforms when operating alongside one another.

With its larger payload and increased agility and range, the Typhoon will operate in concert with the stealthy F-35 and its next-generation sensors, making the RAF one of the few air forces with the ability to exploit the synergy of 4th and 5th generation combat aircraft and delivering the UK a potent force equipped to counter evolving threats in the global environment.

Source: MOD

Image: RAF Typhoon FGR4, 29 (R) Squadron, RAF Coningsby (Crown Copyright, 2018).