Really, really good news on the Eurofighter Tranche 2 - it can drop bombs ! Well 2 so far without any Flutter and with clear separation.
Our Mole in the Ministry tells us that after 20 years development (maiden flight feb 2003) the Phase 1 Enhancements (P1E) Development for Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoon Block 8 (including 72 aircraft for Saudi Arabian Air Force to be reckoned with) has dropped 2 (yes that's two) Enhanced GBU-16 1000lb bombs. These separated safely.
The 2 bombs were dropped from Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 4 which has now joined the P1E air vehicle flight trials programme in the south of Spain .
Sumultaneously Italian IPA2 is also performing trials with the 500lb Paveway IV bomb.
The current " Flutter" and "Environmental " trials, are essentially focused on confirming the aircraft performance characteristics with the new class of dual mode guided 500lb bombs.
Now the P1E development is in full swing, the Avionics Development is also gathering cracking along at a similiar breakneck speed and bits are now being tested on the rigs in order to start Avionics Flight Trials later this year.
PS : For those readers not up to speed the principal difference between Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft is the new suite of computers. These provide more processing power (speed and memory capacity) which will will be the enabler for future capability insertion (more bits to go wrong says our man with the spanners).
All Tranche 2 weapon systems will eventually go through the Phase One Enhancements programme, agreed in March 2007, which covers:
2.Enhanced multi-role Man-Machine Interface (MMI)
3.“Full” Laser Designator Pod (LDP) integration
4.Enhancements to MIDS, GPS, DASS, Communications
5.Additional weapons: Paveway IV; EGBU-16
So you can see why everyone is so excited about the above news that they have dropped two 1000 lb bombs and a Paveway munition.... after total cost of development / production to date of of over £20 Bn.
Money well spent says Toni Fabuloso... even if they cannot fly off the new Aircraft Carriers . Although we do have some from Coningsby stationed at Keflavik , Iceland keeping an eye on the Kaupthing bank deposits and enforcing the UK terrism laws.
PS : 6 UK soldiers have been shot or blown up in 2009 in Afghanistan. Sapper Sean David Greenfield in southern Afghanistan, fell to a sniper shot last week , the latest UK death in what has become a bloody winter for troops serving in this war.
Canadian Sapper Sean Greenfield, 25 was blown up by an improvised explosive device traveling in an armoured vehicle in in Zhari district, roughly 40 kilometres west of Kandahar CityAfghanistan January 31, 2009 24 . he was with Field Engineer Squadron, 2 Combat Regiment, based in Petawawa, Ont., is the 108th Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan since 2002.
When the first UK soldier was killed in Afghanistan in 2002 a friend one of whose forbears had served and survived Afghanistan in the 1870's) sent the lines from Kipling's (a jezail is a bullet)
"Arithmetic on the Frontier"
A scrimmage in a Border Station
--A canter down some dark defile
--Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail
--The Crammer's boast, the Squadron's pride,
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!
..... Strike hard who cares
-- shoot straight who can
--The odds are on the cheaper man.