The German Air Force’s fleet of Eurofighter jets is now capable of launching the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAM) thanks to a new software update, the service announced on April 16.
According to the air force, the Eurofighters were recently upgraded with the P2Eb software, which is a collective badge for the integration of the Meteor and Storm Shadow weapons, as well as a series of other changes which have been dubbed “enhancement package 2.”
Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 74 (74th Tactical Air Force Wing), based at Neuburg Air Base in Bavaria, was the first to receive the upgrade.
The 180-kg Meteor is a ramjet missile capable of travelling at speeds of around Mach 4 and hitting targets at distances of over 100 kilometers. The missile is built by France’s MBDA as prime contractor under an international project. The UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden are all involved. MBDA builds the missile for the six nations at its facility in Bolton, England.
In addition to a new missile capability, German Eurofighters are also getting new active electronic scanning array (AESA) radars, which will be integrated by German sensor system supplier Hensoldt in cooperation with Airbus. AESA radars improve air-to-air detection capabilities and enhance air-to-ground mapping. They also have better jamming resistance and lower probability of detection.
Other new armament includes the GBU-54 precision-guided bombs, which have previously been flown by German Tornado aircraft, but never on the Eurofighters. The bombs are equipped with the conversion kit “Laser JDAM” (Joint Direct Attack Munition), which enables them to engage stationary and mobile targets through the combination of INS/GPS navigation, laser seeker and target designation. Eurofighters are expected to receive the bombs by the end of the year.
Apart from upgrading its fleet, Germany is also replacing older airframes with new-build units. In November 2020, the country confirmed an order for 38 new Eurofighters that will replace the Tranche 1 aircraft as part of the country’s Quadriga project.
These aircraft are expected to be delivered by the Eurofighter consortium by 2025 under a contract worth $6.35 billion.