RAF to add two Typhoon squadrons

Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015

The UK SDSR 2015, to be announced this afternoon, looks set to increase the Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon Force by two additional squadrons.

The RAF currently has five front line Typhoon units: Nos 1(F), II(AC), 3(F), 6 and XI(F). Two additional units would take the RAF to seven front line squadrons, confirming recent rumours of a potential increase. However, sources suggest the RAF had been pushing for 3-4 additional squadrons.

The increase in units will be facilitated by the retention of a portion of the 53 early Tranche 1 Typhoons. Although it is with noting that these have only been in service for 10 years. RAF plans called for these aircraft to be retired by 2020, but now they will be retained for UK air defence duties and for aggressor roles. The forthcoming arrival of the F-35B in 2018 in the UK will require a far more robust ‘red air’ capability in the UK to test the capabilities of these advanced fighters.

It is thought that unless the three RAF Tornado GR4 units are extended, the increase in Typhoon squadrons will simply mean a smoother transition from the Tornado GR4 to the F-35B in terms of retaining mass.

The Typhoon CAPTOR E Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar project also looks to have been funded. This will give the RAF’s Tranche 3 jets a potent multi-role capability.

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