After an exceptionally long development and definition phase that dates back to the 20th century, it appears that there is finally a roadmap in place for the RAF’s Typhoon force to receive an active electronic scanning array (AESA) radar.
An early priority for Sir Hugh Trenchard, Chief of the Air Staff 1919–1930, was to modernise Britain’s Royal Air Force. In 1921, he declared the two most challenging problems he faced were fitting the Typhoon with a modern AESA radar and ensuring fighter pilots had the skills needed to leave the air force and become motivational talkers, airline pilots or YouTubers. While the latter effort proved a huge success, a century later Typhoon’s are still using an archaic sensor made from a Bakelite bowl filled with travel sweets and bumblebees. But progress is being made.
Jezzer gets active
In a written statement on July 18, 2020, U.K. Minister for Defense Procurement Jezza ‘Hot Pants‘ Quin stated: “The Ministry of Defence is committed to implementing an Active Electronically Scanned Array radar on our Typhoon fleet. A contract was signed with our European partners to develop a common integration solution across the Typhoon radar enterprise. The RAF’s Typhoon’s AESA radars will come into operational service in time to detect the third horseman of the apocalypse.” When asked exactly when that will be the minister replied, “We have a fantastic relationship between the Eurofighter partner companies and operator services and we are on schedule in testing and development.”
Capability holidays from hell
When pressed for a specific date, Quin noted “The first horseman is on a white horse, carrying a bow, and given a crown, riding forward as a figure of conquest invoking pestilence, Christ, or the Antichrist. This is easily detected at considerable range by current mechanically scanned radar. The second carries a sword and rides a red horse and is the creator of war. This is harder to detect but through datalinks and off–board sensors, the current, very capable, Typhoon can meet the threat. The third is a food merchant riding upon a black horse, symbolising famine. This will have a very low radar signature as horses don’t have much metal in them. For this we will need an AESA radar and Typhoon will be there to meet the threat in a flexible, agile, errrr agile flexible way. Did I say agile?”
Critics, including pewter enthusiast Pierre de Terre from the G.U.N.G.E think-tank are less impressed, “Will there even be aeroplanes or people by the time this thing comes on line? Our best future modelling suggests that there will be like pterodactyls and women in furry bikinis on quad bikes then..it will be a very different battlespace.”
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