The Typhoon is now limited to carrying smart bombs and is for the most part an air superiority platform, but is expected to become a true multi-role platform able to conduct the full range of both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.
It will be able to carry missions that are currently restricted to Tornado aircraft, which can carry the Storm Shadow. Other upgrades scheduled include the replacement of the Captor radar with a Selex AESA radar. The long-range ramjet-powered Meteor BVRAAM from MBDA is also set to be integrated.
The Storm Shadow is a fire-and-forget, high-precision, long-range, low-observable, low-flying turbojet-powered cruise missile, which supports way point planning and can be used in day or night and all-weather conditions.
It can be used amongst others against hardened underground bunkers with a tandem BROACH penetrator and warhead. The Typhoon will be able to carry one Storm Shadow missile under each center-wing pylon for a total of two. Each Storm Shadow missiles has a:
- Length of 5.1 m
- Weight of 1300 kg
- Range exceeding 250 km
To compensate for the inability to carry fuel tanks due to the pylons being occupied by Storm Shadow missiles, conformal fuel tanks have been made available to the Typhoon aircraft.
Once integration is complete, the gap between the Typhoon and Rafale will be narrowed. For now the Rafale remains ahead of the Typhoon in air-to-ground capability, including being already compatible with the SCALP missiles, which is the French version of the Storm Shadow missile.
Storm Shadow integration with the Typhoon should also assist with the integration of the German / Swedish Taurus KEPD 350 missiles, which is to begin in late 2013 and is roughly similar to the Storm Shadow / SCALP.
Compatibility of the Storm Shadow with the Typhoon should be of interest to users of the Typhoon such as Saudi Arabia, which already has a number of Typhoon in service.
Besides Saudi Arabia, the Typhoon is in service with the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria. Oman has yet to receive the aircraft it has ordered. It is expected that by the end of 2013, a total of around 400 aircraft will have been delivered.