UK to retire Tranche 1 Typhoons with more than half of airframe hours remaining

by Gareth Jennings

The UK's recently revealed plan to prematurely retire its Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft will see the fleet axed with more than half of its airframe fatigue life remaining, the government said on 7 September.

Having earlier intended to retain 24 of its Tranche 1 Typhoons out to 2040, the UK will now retire them in 2025 with more than half of their airframe hours remaining. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

Having earlier intended to retain 24 of its Tranche 1 Typhoons out to 2040, the UK will now retire them in 2025 with more than half of their airframe hours remaining. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

Answering questions in the House of Commons, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence, James Heappey, said that the Tranche 1 Typhoons that were earmarked for early retirement in the Defence Command Paper published on 22 March would be retired with an average of nearly 60% of their airframe fatigue lives remaining.

“There are 30 Typhoon Tranche 1 aircraft in the sustainment fleet and the projected average flying hours for each of the aircraft, when they reach their respective out-of-service date, is 2,544.8 flying hours,” Heappey said.

With the Typhoon notionally rated to an airframe life of 6,000 hours, 2,544.8 hours represent just 42.4% of airframe use. With this figure being averaged out across the fleet, a number of the more recently delivered aircraft will have flown significantly fewer hours than this. Of the 53 Tranche 1 aircraft received by the Royal Air Force (RAF), 30 remain in the inventory. Of these, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told Janes that 20 are in active service while the remaining 10 are in storage.

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The UK's recently revealed plan to prematurely retire its Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircr...

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