Two of these fighters just intercepted one of Putin’s Bear bombers. The money spent on them would be better spent on BMD and decent equipment for the Brit army.
…Typhoon jets scrambled for the first time to intercept Russian nuclear bombers approaching British air space, the Ministry of Defence said yesterday.
The Tu-95 Bear nuclear bombers were detected over the Atlantic on Friday, the RAF said yesterday.
The Typhoon is an Anglo-German-Italian-Spanish air-to-air fighter with ground attack capabilities, conceived in the 1970s. Its advanced maneuverability was prototyped by the Brits in 1986, and the tower of babel of developers took until 1994 to get a prototype in the air.
Not surprisingly, it’s expensive and late:
The cost of the UK’s aircraft has increased from £7 billion to £19 billion and the in-service date (2003; defined as the date of delivery of the first aircraft to the RAF) was 54 months late.
Still, it’s now in service and harassing geriatric Russian turboprops that could only harm a fly by actually landing on it.
So what’s the Typhoon for?
High maneuverability would have been great in the 1980s and early 1990s, when Soviet planes had lousy radar and missiles, and the USSR threatened an invasion of NATO-defended Europe.
Now, with the US gone, the Russians can take continental Europe without much of a fight. If they do, why should Brits care? A Russian governed Europe could hardly be more hostile to them than the EU.
And if UK/Russian air battles did take place, the Brits would face planes with much better radar and missiles, and:
…the primary determinant of air combat success appears to be having the best radars and display systems – the aircraft that can detect, lock-on and shoot first will almost certainly win an engagement, even, to a limited degree, against aircraft behind it.
Unfortunately the Typhoon is highly visible – it’s said to have the radar cross-section of the F4F Phantom.
To win in air combat now, you need the F-22 Raptor:
In June 2006 during Exercise Northern Edge (Alaska’s largest joint military training exercise), the F-22A achieved a 144-to-zero kill-to-loss ratio against F-15s, F-16s and F/A-18s simulating MiG-29 ‘Fulcrums’, Su-30 ‘Flankers‘, and other current front line Russian aircraft, which outnumbered the F-22A 5 to 1 at times…
The F-22 is extremely difficult to defeat during dogfighting. At Red Flag 2007, RAAF Squadron Leader Stephen Chappell, F-15 exchange pilot in the 65th Aggressor Squadron, commented that “The thing (F-22) denies your ability to put a weapons system on it, even when I can see it through the canopy. It’s the most frustrated I’ve ever been.”
That’s because the F-22 has a very low radar cross-section and infra-red emissions, and has very advanced passive and active radars that virtually eliminate the “flashlight-in-cellar” problem of earlier radars.
The US, sensibly, won’t let anyone buy the F-22, but you can bet the Russians are spending big to reduce its superiority, and that makes the Typhoon very vulnerable.
So a rational Brit government would cancel future Typhoons and spend the money on a BMD and tactical air support planes, UAVs, and EFP protection for its splendid army.
However the damage may be past repair – the dreadful equipment and manning levels of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan stem directly from the money diverted the the Typhoon over the past decade.