Integration of the MBDA Storm Shadow missile onto Eurofighter Typhoon multi-/swing role aircraft has started.
Eurofighter and Alenia Aermacchi have released some images of the initial flight trials that began on Nov. 27, by the Alenia Aermacchi Flight Test Center at Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, Italy. Such tests, supported by BAE Systems and Cassidians, are aimed to demonstrate that the air-launched cruise missile, already in service with both the Italian Air Force and Royal Air Force Tornado bombers (that used them in the 2011 Libya Air War), can be safely carried by the Typhoon.
The testing campaign involves the Instrumented Production Aircraft 2 (IPA2) updated to the Phase 1 Enhancement standard. The aircraft will conduct flutter tests and air data system large store interference assessment to validate the integration of the new weapon that will give the aircraft a significant capability to employ the stealthy, long-range precision weapon against high value, well defended targets, day or night, in all-weather conditions.
According to Eurofighter, the 1.300 kg standoff weapon (over 5-mt long) will be available to the 7 Typhoon operators (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman) from 2015 when the Eurofighter Typhoon Phase 2 Enhancements become operational.
Image credit: Eurofighter/Luigino Caliaro