A Typhoon model fitted with conformal fuel tanks
CFTs (Conformal Fuel Tanks) have always been one of the features Eurofighter was thinking about since the Typhoon was pitched for the Indian MMRCA (Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft) and UAE fighter deals.
It looks like BAE Systems has eventually started the testing that will help to accelerate the clearance process by assessing the aerodynamic characteristics of carrying two fuselage mounted conformal fuel tank at the company’s world class high speed wind tunnel facility in the UK.
Actually, a mock up Typhoon was already fitted with CFTs and showcased at several exhibitions and airshows around the world, including Al Ain, earlier this year, where photographer Luigi Sani took the image below.
Image credit: BAe Systems (Top); Luigi Sani (Bottom).
The Typhoon is not only getting the CFTs: testing has also started to integrate air-launched cruise missiles, like the Storm Shadow and the Taurus.
A video recently shot at BAE Warton shows a mystery stealth jet moved upside down. Not a (current) Black Project, still interesting.
The following footage was shot on Feb. 18, near BAE Systems facilities at Warton, in Lancashire, England.
The aircraft being moved is probably a full size model of the BAE Replica, a British stealth aircraft model developed by BAE in the 1990s and used for radar testing before its associated program, the FOAS (Future Offensive Air System), was cancelled in 2005.
The FOAS was a study aimed at finding a replacement for the RAF Tornado GR4. After the program was scrapped, it was replaced by the Deep and Persistent Offensive Capability (DPOC) program that was itself cancelled in 2010, following the UK military’s spending review.
The Taranis UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle) a semi-autonomous pilotless system that will feature an intercontinental range and will be able to carry a wide variety of weapons, including PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions) and air-to-air missiles, emerged as the eventual successor of the FOAS.
Anyway, the experience done by the BAE with the full-scale model of the BAE Replica is believed to be useful for the F-35, that is going to be the actual replacement for the Tornado GR4.
What’s unclear is what the airplane was doing in the open (and upside down). For sure nothing really secret (otherwise it would have been covered).
It’s been used for some additional tests on stealth technologies/designs? Something useful for the Taranis project or something else?
Although the footage was shot in August 2013, today BAE Systems released it for the first time.
“Taranis“, the technological demonstrator of UK’s stealthy unmanned combat vehicle made its first flight on Aug. 10, 2013.
Where the maiden sortie took place remains a secret.
The aircraft flew at the old British Nuclear test range at Woomera, Australia.
The only thing we know is that the “superdrone” flew under the command of BAE Systems’ test pilot Bob Fraser and “made a perfect take off, rotation, ‘climb out’ and landing.”
Since then, a number of other test flights have taken place in much secrecy.
“Taranis” is an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV), described as “the most advanced aircraft ever built by British engineers”.
It’s a semi-autonomous pilotless system that will feature an intercontinental range and will be able to carry a wide variety of weapons, including PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions) and air-to-air missiles.
The Royal Air Force already operates a fleet of Reaper drones from RAF Waddington airbase.
Image credit: BAE Systems
Here’s another cool video.
It was taken from the backseat of a two-seater Typhoon multirole jet fighter of the 29 Sqn of the Royal Air Force from RAF Coningsby involved in an ultra-low level mission over the stunning scenery of the Lake District and the Welsh valleys.
This video, that is particularly interesting because it is commented “live” by the pilot Flight Lieutenant Jamie Norris, 2013 Royal Air Force Typhoon Display Pilot, is currently showing at the London Science Museum.
Started on Nov. 27 at Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, flying activity aimed at integrating the MBDA Storm Shadow missile, a 1.300 kg standoff weapon (over 5-mt long), onto Eurofighter Typhoon multi-/swing role aircraft continues.
The Instrumented Production Aircraft 2 (IPA2) Typhoon, updated to the Phase 1 Enhancement standard, carrying two stealthy, long-range precision Storm Shadow missiles was spotted at Deci airbase in the last weeks.
The photographs in this post, taken by The Aviationist contributor Gian Luca Onnis, provide a closer look at the Typhoon configuration, featuring two AIM-9L Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAMs along with the Storm Shadows.
Image credit: Gian Luca Onnis