Andy Flynn, Capability Delivery Director, BAE Systems Air discusses his role and the vital work his team is doing this year to ensure Typhoon remains at the cutting edge of combat aircraft technology.
As Capability Delivery Director on Typhoon for BAE Systems Air, I am in a privileged position.
I lead a team charged with developing and managing into service the latest technology and weapons capability on to the aircraft for the UK.
Typhoon is already one of the world’s most advanced and powerful combat jets, operationally proven and keeping our national airspace safe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The aircraft is what we term ‘multi-role’, meaning it can carry out both air-to-air and air-to-surface missions in the same operation.
The work we are doing is game-changing.
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2018 is a momentous year for the Royal Air Force as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.
We are less than 300 days away from the planned final delivery of Project Centurion, a programme for the RAF which will ensure Typhoon is ready to take over from Tornado when the latter is retired from service next year. It is no coincidence that Project Centurion is planned for 2018, the 100th year of the RAF.
As part of Project Centurion, we are working with our partners in Europe and alongside the RAF on integrating new weapons and enhancing the ‘brains’ of the aircraft – the software, the sensors and the avionics – ensuring Typhoon is more potent and keeps our pilots safer than ever.
We are especially focused on enhancing the full potential of Typhoon. It is a flexible aircraft by design, meaning it can be enhanced with the latest technology so that it will always do what our customers need it to do. It also provides the UK with freedom to develop the fleet further.
The combination of its evolving capability and what it can do already – the power, the flight control system and so on – has resulted in a very advanced weapons system.
Project Centurion is a complex programme, but the skills, knowledge and expertise of our people and the collaboration with the RAF and our partners in Germany, Italy and Spain – something we call the ‘whole force approach’ – enables us to deliver what is required.
So, where are we now?
Testing of some of these enhancements – including the new Meteor beyond visual range air–to-air weapon and the deep strike Storm Shadow – is ongoing with the RAF’s 41(R) Squadron, the Test and Evaluation Squadron, at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, ahead of their roll out on to the UK fleet. We have been working closely with 41(R) Squadron throughout the whole process to ensure we are being as efficient as possible. Further testing is also continuing with the Brimstone precision air-to-surface weapon.
At the same time, our teams have been working at the two UK Typhoon bases, RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth, to upgrade simulators, allowing pilots to train now with these new capabilities.
As for the best part of my job…
Seeing the hard work of our teams and our partners over the past few years come together in this landmark year for the RAF is definitely a highlight.
We have had a lot of good days at the office over the past 12 months and we have many more to come this year.
For me, it’s about knowing what Typhoon is already doing for its customers around the world, and realising that we are really unleashing its full potential, ensuring it remains a world-leader.