BAE Systems has completed the first ever ‘major’ maintenance on a Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon aircraft, after the jet fighter clocked up 1600 flying hours.
A ‘major’ maintenance programme is carried out as part of the Typhoon Availability Service (TAS). The TAS contract, awarded by the UK MOD to BAE Systems in 2009, consists of a joint BAE Systems and RAF team and ensures the UK’s fleet of Typhoon aircraft remain ready for operational duties, anywhere in the world.
The maintenance programme itself involves a complete ‘strip-down’ of the aircraft to enable detailed inspections to be performed by the specially trained engineers. Any repairs and modifications are also performed on the aircraft at this time before the aircraft is prepared ready to return to duty.
The first aircraft to complete the programme was ZJ921, it has now been returned to 3 Squadron, based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. ZJ921 was also one of the aircraft to fly out to Gioia Dell Colle in Italy, to support Op Ellamy over Libya.
Martin Taylor, Combat Air Support Director at BAE Systems said: “The completion of the first RAF Typhoon aircraft to undergo a major maintenance is a significant milestone for us under the TAS contract.
“The team is continually improving processes and procedures, as part of the contract deliverables, to ensure this complex frontline fighter aircraft is available for operational duty and that the RAF’s flying timetable remains on schedule. This achievement is a good example of how this hard work is delivering results.”
Group Captain Simon Ellard, of the Fast Air Support Team, Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) said: “TAS takes yet another step forward with the delivery of the first aircraft to have completed a major maintenance. A great deal of joint RAF/DE&S and BAE Systems planning and preparation went into this and I know that the timely roll-out is the result of considerable effort and a strong culture of constantly improving effectiveness and efficiency.”
The first set of maintenance work known as a ‘primary maintenance’ is undertaken once the aircraft has flown 400 hours, followed by a ‘minor maintenance’ which is carried out at 800 flying hours. ‘Once the aircraft reaches the 1600 flying hour threshold the ‘Major’ maintenance is then carried out.
The Typhoon Maintenance Facility at RAF Coningsby currently has a further 3 aircraft in the facility undergoing major maintenance.