The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is to shortly begin intensive trials and tests of the Project Centurion configuration that is earmarked for the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 combat aircraft from the end of 2018.
Speaking to Jane's at RAF Coningsby, the commanding officer of 41 (Reserve) Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) outlined the concentrated workload that the unit is set to undertake from July on the Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) and P3E packages that underpin Project Centurion.
"The programme is going to be tight - no one will deny that. P2E is big, with an awful lot of functional changes in the aircraft - key architectural ones to support the next phase," Wing Commander Steve 'Ras' Berry said.
The legacy weapons that comprise the Raytheon AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), MBDA Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM), Raytheon Paveway IV precision-guided munition, and the BK Mauser 27 mm gun will all be integrated by 1 November. This will be followed by the P2E weapons that comprise the MBDA Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) and MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile, and the P3E Brimstone air-to-surface missile.
"But we might pull some Storm Shadow work into exercises later this year to reduce the risk in P3E," Wg Cdr Berry said. "Testing of [P3E] is expected around May next year and [should be] completed by 28 December  when it will be flying on front line.
"Thoughts of where the effects will be tested are now under way and we might start some of the early stages of Meteor [testing] in November, but we could wait for next spring to do that," he added. "There are discussions too on how much Brimstone testing we will need to take overseas.
"If we need to replicate the capability of [the Panavia] Tornado [GR4] we need fast-moving targets.
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