The Eurofighter Typhoon Instrumented Series Production Aircraft 6 (ISPA 6) made its first-ever flight equipped in the Kuwaiti Air Force’s configuration. It completed its test flight at the Flight Test Center of Leonardo Aircraft Division in Turin-Caselle, Italy, on the 23 December, 2019.
The successful test flight marks the first time the new advanced Captor E radar has flown as part of the jet’s Phase 3 Enhancements Package b (P3Eb) suite of improvements.
The jet tested is set to be delivered to Kuwait as part of a contract between the Ministry of Defense of the State of Kuwait and the Italian aerospace company Leonardo signed back in 2016. The latter being a member of the Eurofighter consortium including the UK’s BAE Systems and pan-European Airbus. It is expected to enter service with the Kuwaiti air force in 2020.
Specific upgrades in this new configuration are being tested by the other Eurofighter Partner Companies, such as the Euroradar Captor E electronically scanned radar undergoing testing in the UK and Germany using older Eurofighter Typhoon variants. The Kuwaiti package, however, is the first tested package containing them all.
The Captor E promises increased air-to-air range, faster detection, and tracking of targets, interleaved air-to-air & air-to-ground scanning, as well as overall improved performance and reduced life cycle cost.
“This variant will put the Kuwait Air Force at the front-line of the fighter technology when the aircraft will enter into service” read the press release by Eurofighter.
The new improvements to the Typhoon go beyond its new radar. The Kuwaiti package includes Storm Shadow, Brimstone, and other air-to-surface missile systems integration. It is equipped with the new Lockheed Martin Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod laser designator, expanding the fighter’s set of cleared laser designator pods. The DRS-Cubic P5 air combat maneuvering instrumentation (ACMI) combat training pod and an improved Very High Frequency (VHF) Omni-Directional Range (VOR) navigation aid system are also added to the new package.