The first Tranche 3 production example of the Eurofighter Typhoon made its début flight from BAE Systems Warton, last week.

Test pilot Nat Makepeace was at the controls and BAE Systems has released some of his spectacular in-cockpit footage:

Talking about Tranche 3, Mark Kane, BAE Systems Managing Director – Combat Air said: “For casual observers the aircraft is little changed from its sleek predecessor but it has a number of provisions that will allow it to take on additional capability in the future. One of the few visual clues is a number of small panels on the fuselage which are there to accommodate the fitting of conformal fuel tanks.

“Once fitted, these would give the aircraft greater range and free up positions under the aircraft for larger or additional weapons.

Copyright © 2013 BAE Systems. All rights reserved

Typhoon Tranche 3 – Copyright © 2013 BAE Systems. All rights reserved

“At the nose a new internal structure has been built and work has been carried out on power, cooling and electronics so that a new E-Scan radar could easily be accommodated.”

In November the first in a major series of flight tests to integrate the MBDA Storm Shadow missile onto the aircraft took place. Earlier this year Eurofighter Typhoon announced a contract to develop the integration of the Meteor weapon system.

Copyright © 2013 BAE Systems. All rights reserved

Typhoon Tranche 3 – Copyright © 2013 BAE Systems. All rights reserved

During the same period another development aircraft has been modified to take an E-Scan radar and is currently being prepared, at Warton, ahead of its first flight.

Under the Tranche 3A contract signed in 2009, a total of 112 aircraft have been ordered for the four European partner nations of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, with 40 aircraft bound for the Royal Air Force.

Thanks to BAE Systems for the information, imagery and video.