British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on April 23rd that Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets would be stationed in Poland, underscoring the deepened security partnership between London and Warsaw amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The duration of their deployment remains undecided, but they will coincide with NATO’s Steadfast Defender exercises, involving approximately 16,000 British personnel in Poland.

Facing challenges such as cuts to planned procurement of F-35B fifth-generation fighters and production delays in the US, the Royal Air Force has turned to its older Eurofighter fleet.

In the conflict in Ukraine, both sides have relied on fifth-generation fighter aircraft. US F-35s have been instrumental in gathering electronic intelligence on Russian air defenses, while Russian Su-57 fighters have been effective in neutralizing Ukrainian air defenses and engaging in aerial warfare.

There’s uncertainty regarding whether the Eurofighters will be equipped with advanced Captor-E AESA radars or stick with the outdated mechanically scanned array radars. The Eurofighter program has been slower to transition globally, suggesting a significant portion of the fleet still uses the older system.

Integration of the Captor-E could enhance Eurofighters’ capabilities to provide electronic warfare and reconnaissance support to Ukrainian and allied ground operations. The UK has been actively involved in the conflict, deploying personnel ranging from Royal Marines engaging with Russian forces to Special Air Service consultants advising Ukrainian units.

Eurofighter Typhoon’s history spans nearly a quarter of a century, originating from a joint program with the French Rafale fighter, though divergent development paths led France to pursue its own unique aircraft.

While the Eurofighter possesses superior agility and ascendancy compared to the Rafale due to its more powerful propulsion system, it does face its own set of limitations. These include a shorter flight range, higher operational costs, and a delayed adoption of electronically scanned array radars, lagging behind the Rafale by a substantial 18 years.

The recent announcement of the expanded deployment of Eurofighters follows closely after the Royal Air Force designated this aircraft to combat Iranian drones in the Middle East, as part of a joint air defense operation involving the United States, France, Israel, and Jordan.

Since October 2023, British fighter jets stationed at RAF Akrotiri have made significant contributions to the ongoing conflict in Israel against Palestinian military groups, providing crucial surveillance over the Gaza Strip. Reports indicate that Eurofighters have played a pivotal role in these operations.