At the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in July, RAF Air Commodore Linc Taylor told media at a briefing that Eurofighter Typhoon will remain at the forefront of combat air capability in Europe for decades to come.
The RAF is set to deliver the capabilities of the Tornado onto the Eurofighter by December this year under a programme called Project Centurion.
Air Cdre Taylor also said that this will deliver a host of enhancements and do so faster than previous Eurofighter upgrades: "We have delivered Project Centurion differently through a new partnering approach with industry and we are doing more than ever before, faster than ever before."
Project Centurion integrates additional state of the art complex weapons onto the platform; the operationally proven deep strike cruise missile, Storm Shadow; Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile, Meteor; and the unique low-collateral, precision attack missile, Brimstone.
Air Cdre Taylor said one of the key lessons of the Project Centurion programme will be how future capability upgrades are built into the aircraft in the years and decades ahead: "The future is an uncertain place and one of our challenges is how do we get more and more spiral development (incrementally building on existing capabilities) because we will need to be more agile and flexible.
"In the future we will be bringing in next generation precision strike stand-off missiles like Spear Cap 3, Expendable Active Decoys, a new E Scan radar and a new helmet.
"But we are going to bring them in differently. We are going to integrate them in a much more agile way. It’s important because we have to maintain combat advantage and to do that we have to be faster than our adversaries. The big thing is pace.
"This is the approach of our Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative (FCAS TI) which is spiralling in new capability.
"When you have the best in the world already, like you have with Typhoon, why would you start again? So, we are learning and delivering new technologies in concert with Typhoon. And if we develop a capability within the FCAS TI programme we can spin it back into Typhoon."
The Air Cdre added that Eurofighter’s ability to share information and work with other assets will also be key in the future. He said: "It is about ensuring the right information is in the right place at the right time. The sensors on the aircraft are so good it’s a question of how we use that information and how we get it to other fast jets and ground allies."
Andrew Flynn, Delivery Director – BAE Systems Typhoon Capability, said: "The unity of purpose we have shown throughout Project Centurion has translated out into Europe as well. This is not just a UK initiative we have needed the help of our partners in Europe too. My equivalent numbers in Airbus and Leonardo understand exactly what Centurion is, and we are all benefitting from it."