Role Multirole fighter
Manufacturer Eurofighter GmbH
First flight 27 March 1994
Introduced 4 August 2003
Royal Air Force
Italian Air Force
Spanish Air Force
Number built >200 as of December 2009
471 ordered (as of January 2009)
Unit cost €63 million (flyaway cost, estimated),
GB£45.46 million in Tranche 1 contract
Developed from British Aerospace EAP
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems, and EADS; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986. The project is managed by the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency, which acts as the prime customer.
The series production of the Eurofighter Typhoon is underway, and the aircraft is being procured under three separate contracts (named "tranches"), each for aircraft with generally improved capabilities. The aircraft has entered service with the British Royal Air Force, the German Luftwaffe, the Italian Air Force, the Spanish Air Force and the Austrian Air Force. Saudi Arabia has signed a contract worth £4.43 billion (approx. €6.4 billion, $9.5 billion) for 72 aircraft.
The UK had identified a requirement for a new fighter as early as 1971. A specification, AST 403, issued by the Air Staff in 1972, resulted in a conventional "tailed" design known as P.96, which was presented in the late 1970s. While the design would have met the Air Staff's requirements, the UK air industry had reservations as it appeared to be very similar to the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, which was then well advanced in its development. The design had little potential for future growth, and when it entered production it would secure few exports in a market in which the Hornet would be well established. Simultaneously, by 1979 the West German requirement for a new fighter had led to the development of the TKF-90 concept. This was a cranked delta wing design with forward canard controls and artificial stability. Although the British Aerospace designers rejected some of its advanced features such as vectoring engine nozzles and vented trailing-edge controls, they agreed with the overall configuration.
In 1979 British Aerospace and Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm presented a formal proposal to their respective governments for the ECF, the European Collaborative Fighter or European Combat Fighter. In October 1979 Dassault joined the ECF team for a tri-national study, which became known as the European Combat Aircraft. It was at this stage of development that the Eurofighter name was first attached to the aircraft. The development of different national prototypes continued. France produced the ACX. The UK produced two designs; the P.106 was a single-engined "lightweight" fighter, superficially resembling the JAS 39 Gripen, the P.110 was a twin-engined fighter. The P.106 concept was rejected by the RAF, on the grounds that it had "half the effectiveness of the two-engined aircraft at two thirds of the cost". West Germany continued to refine the TFK-90 concept. The ECA project collapsed in 1981 for several reasons including differing requirements, Dassault's insistence on "design leadership" and the British preference for a new version of the RB199 to power the aircraft versus the French preference for the new SNECMA M88.
As a result the Panavia partners (BAe, MBB and Aeritalia) launched the Agile Combat Aircraft (ACA) programme in April 1982. The ACA was very similar to the BAe P.110, having a cranked delta wing, canards and a twin tail. One major external difference was the replacement of the side mounted engine intakes with a chin intake. The ACA was to be powered by a modified version of the RB199. The German and Italian governments withdrew funding, and the UK Ministry of Defence agreed to fund 50% of the cost with the remaining 50% to be provided by industry. MBB and Aeritalia signed up with the aim of producing two aircraft, one at Warton and one by MBB. In May 1983 BAe announced a contract with the MoD for the development and production of an ACA demonstrator, the Experimental Aircraft Programme.
In 1983 the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain launched the Future European Fighter Aircraft (FEFA) programme. The aircraft was to have Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capabilities. In 1984 France reiterated its requirement for a carrier-capable version and demanded a leading role. The UK, West Germany and Italy opted out and established a new EFA programme.
In Turin on 2 August 1985 Italy, West Germany and the UK agreed to go ahead with the Eurofighter. The announcement of this agreement confirmed that France, along with Spain, had chosen not to proceed as a member of the project. Despite pressure from France, Spain rejoined the Eurofighter project in early September 1985. France officially withdrew from the project to pursue its own ACX project, which was to become the Dassault Rafale.
By 1986, the cost of the program had reached £180 million. When the EAP program had started, the cost was supposed to be equally shared by both government and industry, but the West German and Italian government wavered on the agreement and the three main industrial partners had to provide £100 million to keep the program from ending. In April 1986 the BAe EAP was rolled out at BAe Warton, by this time also partially funded by MBB, BAe and Aeritalia. The EAP first flew on 6 August 1986. The Eurofighter bears a strong resemblance to the EAP. Design work continued over the next five years using data from the EAP. Initial requirements were: UK: 250 aircraft, Germany: 250, Italy: 165 and Spain: 100. The share of the production work was divided among the countries in proportion to their projected procurement - British Aerospace (33%), DASA (33%), Aeritalia (21%), and Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA) (13%).
The Munich based Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH was established in 1986 to manage development of the project and EuroJet Turbo GmbH, the alliance of Rolls-Royce, MTU Aero Engines, FiatAvio (now Avio) and ITP for development of the EJ200. The aircraft was known as Eurofighter EFA from the late 1980s until it was renamed EF 2000 in 1992.
By 1990, the selection of the aircraft's radar had become a major stumbling block. The UK, Italy and Spain supported the Ferranti Defence Systems-led ECR-90, while Germany preferred the APG-65 based MSD2000 (a collaboration between Hughes (of the USA), AEG and GEC-Marconi). An agreement was reached after UK Defence Secretary Tom King assured his West German counterpart Gerhard Stoltenberg that the British government would underwrite the project and allow GEC to acquire Ferranti Defence Systems from its troubled parent. GEC thus withdrew its support for the MSD2000.
The maiden flight of the Eurofighter prototype took place on 27 March 1994. Dasa chief test pilot Peter Weger took the prototype on a test flight around Bavaria. The 1990s saw significant arguments over work share, the specification of the aircraft and even participation in the project.
On 9 December 2004, Eurofighter Typhoon IPA4 began three months of Cold Environmental Trials (CET) at the Vidsel Air Base in Sweden, the purpose of which was to verify the operational behaviour of the aircraft and its systems in temperatures between -25 and -31 °C.
In May 2007, Eurofighter Development Aircraft 5 made the first flight with the CAESAR demonstrator system, a development of the Euroradar CAPTOR incorporating Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology.
The maiden flight of Instrumented Production Aircraft 7 (IPA7), the first fully equipped Tranche 2 aircraft, took place from EADS' Manching airfield on 16 January 2008.
The production version of the CAPTOR-E radar was being proposed as part of Tranche 3 of the Typhoon from 2012. Tranche 2 aircraft use the non AESA, mechanically scanned Captor-M which incorporates weight and space provisions for possible upgrade to CAESAR (AESA) standard in the future. The Italian Air Force doubted that the AESA radar would be ready in time for Tranche 3 production. In July 2010, Eurofighter announced that the AESA radar would enter service in 2015.
The first production contract was signed on 30 January 1998 between Eurofighter GmbH, Eurojet and NETMA. The procurement totals were as follows: UK 232, Germany 180, Italy 121, and Spain 87. Production was again allotted according to procurement: British Aerospace (37%), DASA (29%), Aeritalia (19.5%), and CASA (14%).
On 2 September 1998, a naming ceremony was held at Farnborough, England. This saw the Typhoon name formally adopted, initially for export aircraft only. This was reportedly resisted by Germany; perhaps because the Hawker Typhoon was a fighter-bomber aircraft which served with the RAF during the Second World War against German targets. The name "Spitfire II" (for the famous British WWII fighter, the Supermarine Spitfire) had also been considered and rejected for the same reason early in the development program. In September 1998 contracts were signed for production of 148 Tranche 1 aircraft and procurement of long lead-time items for Tranche 2 aircraft. In March 2008 the final aircraft out of Tranche 1 was delivered to the German Luftwaffe, with all successive deliveries being at the Tranche 2 standard. On 21 October 2008, the first two of 91 Tranche 2 aircraft, ordered four years before, were delivered to RAF Coningsby.
In October 2008, the Eurofighter nations were considering splitting the 236-fighter Tranche 3 into two parts. In June 2009, RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy suggested that the RAF fleet might only be 123 jets, instead of the 232 previously planned. In spite of this reduction in the number of required aircraft, on May 14, 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown confirmed that the UK would move ahead with the third batch purchase. A contract for the first part, Tranche 3A, was signed at the end of July 2009 for 112 aircraft split across the four partner nations, including 40 aircraft for the UK, 31 for Germany, 21 for Italy and 20 for Spain. These 40 aircraft were said to have fully covered the UK's obligations in the project by Air Commodore Chris Bushell, due to cost overruns in the project.
In 1988, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces told the UK House of Commons that the European Fighter Aircraft would "be a major project, costing the United Kingdom about £7 billion". It was soon apparent that a more realistic estimate was £13 billion, made up of £3.3 billion development costs plus £30 million per aircraft. By 1997 the estimated cost was £17 billion; by 2003, £20 billion, and the in-service date (2003; defined as the date of delivery of the first aircraft to the RAF) was 54 months late. Since 2003 the Ministry of Defence have refused to release updated cost estimates on the grounds of 'commercial sensitivity'.
The financial burdens placed on Germany by reunification caused Helmut Kohl to make an election promise to cancel the Eurofighter. In early to mid-1991 German Defence Minister Volker Rühe sought to withdraw Germany from the project in favour of using Eurofighter technology in a cheaper, lighter plane. Due to the amount of money already spent on development, the number of jobs dependent on the project, and the binding commitments on each partner government, Germany was unable to withdraw; "Rühe's predecessors had locked themselves into the project by a punitive penalty system of their own devising."
In 1995 concerns over workshare appeared. Since the formation of Eurofighter the workshare split had been agreed at the 33/33/21/13 (United Kingdom/Germany/Italy/Spain) based on the number of units being ordered by each contributing nation. All the nations then reduced their orders. The UK cut its orders from 250 to 232, Germany from 250 to 140, Italy from 165 to 121 and Spain from 100 to 87. According to these order levels the workshare split should have been 39/24/22/15 UK/Germany/Italy/Spain, Germany was unwilling to give up such a large amount of work. In January 1996, after much negotiation between UK and German partners, a compromise was reached whereby Germany would purchase another 40 aircraft. The workshare split is now 43% for EADS MAS in Germany and Spain; 37.5% BAE Systems in the UK; and 19.5% for Alenia in Italy.
The next major milestone came at the Farnborough Airshow in September 1996. The UK announced the funding for the construction phase of the project. In November 1996 Spain confirmed its order but Germany again delayed its decision. After much diplomatic activity between the UK and Germany, an interim funding arrangement of DM 100 million (€ 51 million) was contributed by the German government in July 1997 to continue flight trials. Further negotiation finally resulted in German approval to purchase the Eurofighter in October 1997.
On 21 November 2002, DA-6, the Spanish twin-seat prototype crashed due to a "double engine flame-out", said to be specifically related to the experimental trial standard of engine being used by that aircraft. The aircraft went down but the two crew members escaped unhurt.
On 2 July 2002, the Austrian government announced the decision to buy the Typhoon as its new air defence aircraft. The purchase of 18 Typhoons was agreed on 1 July 2003, and included training, logistics, maintenance, and a simulator. On 26 June 2007, Austrian Minister for Defense Norbert Darabos announced a reduction to 15 aircraft. The first aircraft was delivered on 12 July 2007 and formally entered service in the Austrian Air Force.
After unsuccessful campaigns in South Korea and Singapore (losing in both cases to versions of the Boeing F-15E), on 18 August 2006 it was announced that Saudi Arabia had agreed to purchase 72 Typhoons. In November and December it was reported that Saudi Arabia had threatened to buy French Rafales because of a UK Serious Fraud Office investigation into the Al Yamamah ("the dove") defence deals which commenced in the 1980s.
On 14 December 2006 Britain's attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, ordered that the Serious Fraud Office discontinue its investigation in the BAE Systems' alleged bribery to senior Saudi officials in the al-Yamamah contracts, citing "the need to safeguard national and international security". The Times has raised the possibility that RAF production aircraft will be diverted as early Saudi Arabian aircraft, with the service forced to wait for its full complement of aircraft. This arrangement would mirror the diversion of RAF Tornados to the RSAF. The Times has also reported that such an arrangement will make the UK purchase of its tranche 3 commitments more likely. On 17 September 2007, Saudi Arabia confirmed it had signed a GB£4.43 billion contract for 72 aircraft. 24 aircraft will be at the Tranche 2 build standard, previously destined for the UK RAF, the first being delivered in 2008. The remaining 48 aircraft will be assembled in Saudi Arabia and delivered from 2011. Saudi Arabia is considering an order of 24 additional jets in the future,more recent reports suggest that number may be as high as 60or 72, but this may have been superseded by Saudi Arabia's request in August 2010 to purchase 84 new F-15s.
On 22 October 2008 an aircraft in the full two-tone grey livery of the Royal Saudi Air Force flew for the first time at BAE Systems' Warton Aerodrome, marking the start of an initial test flight programme for RSAF aircraft.
Also in October 2008, the United States Department of State gave its approval for the sale that was needed because the Eurofighter contains a significant amount of American technology (ITAR).
Following the official handover event of the first Eurofighter Typhoon to the Royal Saudi Air Force on 11 June 2009, the delivery ferry flight took place, as planned, on 23 June 2009.
BAE has been training Saudi Arabian personnel at their factory in Warton, in preparation for setting up an assembly plant in Saudi Arabia.
Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the bidders in the Indian MRCA Competition, worth $10.5 billion, to supply the Indian Air Force with 126 'Multi-Role Combat Aircraft'. The other competitors are the Boeing F/A-18IN, Dassault Rafale, JAS 39 GripenNG/IN, Mikoyan MiG-35, and F-16IN Fighting Falcon. Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of military air systems, said that India is invited to join the Eurofighter Typhoon programme as a partner. The production of the Eurofighter Typhoon will create thousands of new jobs in India. He also said that in order to win the contract, EADS would move avionics jobs from Germany to India. The campaign is fully supported by the four European nations (Germany, United Kingdom, Spain and Italy), their four Air Forces and Europe's leading aerospace companies Alenia/Finmeccanica, BAE Systems and EADS.
In January 2010, India's ambassador to Italy, Arif Shahid Khan, said that the Eurofighter was "leading the race" to win the MRCA competition.
In March 2007, Jane's Information Group reported that the Typhoon was the favourite to win the contest for Japan's next-generation fighter requirement. The other competitors then were the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-15E Strike Eagle. On 17 October 2007, Japanese Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba confirmed that Japan may buy the Typhoon. Although the F-22 Raptor was in his words "exceptional", it was not "absolutely necessary for Japan", and the Typhoon was the best alternative. The F-22 is currently unavailable for export per US law. During a visit to Japan in June 2009, Andy Latham of BAE pointed out that while F-22 exports were restricted to keep advanced military technology from falling into the wrong hands, selling the Typhoon would take a "no black box approach", that is that even licensed production and integration with Japanese equipment would not carry the risk of leakage of restricted military technology. In July 2010 it was reported that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force favoured acquiring the F-35 ahead of the Typhoon and the F/A-18E/F to fulfil its F-X requirement due to its stealth characteristics, but the Defense Ministry was delaying its budget request to evaluate when the F-35 would be produced and delivered.
In 1999, the Greek government agreed to acquire 60 Typhoons in order to replace its existing second-generation combat aircraft.The purchase was put on hold due to budget constraints, largely driven by other development programs and the need to cover the cost of the 2004 Summer Olympics. In June 2006 the government announced a 22 billion euro multi-year acquisition plan intended to provide the necessary budgetary framework to enable the purchase of a next-generation fighter over the next 10 years. The Typhoon is currently under consideration to fill this requirement.
During the 2008 Farnborough Airshow it was announced that Oman was in an "advanced stage" of discussions towards purchasing EF Typhoons as a replacement for its Jaguar aircraft. Oman remained interested in ordering Typhoons in April 2010 though the Saab JAS 39 Gripen was also being considered. Oman asked the USA for an order of 18 F-16s, which makes a Eurofighter order less likely.
Other potential customers of the Typhoon are Denmark and Romania. BAE Systems itself reports that Typhoon is "actively being promoted in a number of other markets including Greece, Switzerland, Turkey and Japan". Turkey has indicated that it would rather just buy more F-35 Lightning II fighters and that the "Eurofighter is off Turkey's agenda".
On 2 December 2009, BAE Systems stated it will propose the Typhoon as replacement for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Mikoyan MiG-29N which is to be phased out in late 2010. According to the Regional Director-Business Development Dave Potter, the Typhoon's multi-role capabilities allow it to replace the MiG-29N. Other contenders include Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, F-15 Eagle, Dassault Rafale, JAS 39 Gripen NG, Sukhoi Su-35, and Lockheed F-16C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon.
Serbia's government has shown interest in Eurofighter.
The Qatari Air Force is, as of January 2011, evaluating the Typhoon together with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the Boeing F-15 and the Dassault Rafale to replace its current fighter inventory of Dassault Mirage 2000-5s. The total order will be between 24-36 aircraft with a procurement decision to be made by the end of 2012.
In 2002, the MBDA Meteor was selected as the long range air-to-air missile armament of Eurofighter Typhoon. Pending Meteor availability, Typhoon will be equipped with the Raytheon AMRAAM. The current in-service date for Meteor is predicted to be August 2012.
In 2009, Eurofighter operators and manufacturers are considering upgrading the current fleet with the possibility of adding the MBDA Meteor missile and an Active Electronically Scanned Array radar.
Eurojet is attempting to find funding to test a thrust vectoring nozzle (TVN) on a flight demonstrator.
The RAF is working on fitting conformal fuel tanks (CFT) to free up limited underwing space for weapons.
Airframe and avionics
The Typhoon features lightweight construction (82% composites consisting of 70% carbon fibre composites and 12% glass reinforced composites) with an estimated lifespan of 6000 flying hours.
The fighter achieves high agility at both supersonic and low speeds by having a relaxed stability design. It has a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire control system providing artificial stability, as manual operation alone could not compensate for the inherent instability. The fly-by-wire system is described as "carefree" by preventing the pilot from exceeding the permitted manoeuvre envelope.
Roll control is primarily achieved by use of the wing flaperons. Pitch control is by operation of the foreplanes and flaperons, the yaw control is by rudder. Control surfaces are moved through two independent hydraulic systems that are incorporated in the aircraft, which also supply various other items, such as the canopy, brakes and undercarriage. Each hydraulic system is powered by a 4000 psi engine-driven gearbox.
Navigation is via both GPS and an inertial navigation system. The Typhoon can use Instrument Landing System (ILS) for landing in poor weather.
The aircraft employs a sophisticated and highly integrated Defensive Aids Sub-System named Praetorian (formerly called EuroDASS). Threat detection is provided by a Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and a Laser Warning Receiver (LWR, only for UK Typhoons). Protection is provided by Chaff, Jaff and Flares, Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) and a Towed Radar Decoy (TRD).
Praetorian monitors and responds automatically to the outside world. It provides the pilot with an all-round prioritised assessment of Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface threats. It can respond to single or multiple threats.
The aircraft also features an advanced ground proximity warning system based on the TERPROM Terrain Referenced Navigation (TRN) system used by the Panavia Tornado but further enhanced and fully integrated into the cockpit displays and controls.
The Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) provides the Link 16 data link.
The Eurofighter Typhoon features a "glass cockpit" without any conventional instruments. It includes: three full colour Multi-function Head Down Displays (MHDDs) (the formats on which are manipulated by means of softkeys, XY cursor and voice (DVI) command), a wide angle Head Up Display (HUD) with Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR), Voice & Hands On Throttle And Stick (Voice+HOTAS), Helmet Mounted Symbology System (HMSS) (known to test pilots as 'The Electric Hat'), Multifunction Information Distribution System (MIDS), a Manual Data Entry Facility (MDEF) located on the left glareshield and a fully integrated aircraft warning system with a Dedicated Warnings Panel (DWP). Reversionary flying instruments, lit by LEDs, are located under a hinged right glareshield.
The pilot flies the aircraft by means of a centre stick and left hand throttles. Emergency escape is provided by a Martin-Baker Mk.16A ejection seat, with the canopy being jettisoned by two rocket motors.
The Typhoon DVI system utilises a Speech Recognition Module (SRM), developed by Smiths Aerospace (now GE Aviation Systems) and the then Computing Devices (now General Dynamics UK). It was the first production DVI system utilised in a military cockpit. DVI provides the pilot with an additional natural mode of command and control over approximately 26 non-critical cockpit functions, to reduce pilot workload, improve aircraft safety, and expand mission capabilities. An important technological breakthrough during the development of the DVI occurred in 1987 when Texas Instruments produced their TMS-320-C30 Digital Signal Processor (DSP). This greatly advanced the packaging of DVI from large complex systems to a single card module. This early advance allowed a viable high performance system. The project was given the go ahead in July 1997, with development and pilot assessment carried out on the Eurofighter Active Cockpit Simulator at BAE Systems Warton.
The DVI system is speaker-dependent, i.e. requires each pilot to create a template. It is not used for any safety-critical or weapon-critical tasks, such as weapon release or lowering of the undercarriage, but is used for a wide range of other cockpit functions. Voice commands are confirmed by visual or aural feedback. The system is seen as a major design feature in the reduction of pilot workload and even allows the pilot to assign targets to himself with two simple voice commands, or to any of his wingmen with only five commands.
In the standard aircraft, g protection is provided by the full-cover anti-g trousers (FCAGTs) This specially developed g suit provides sustained protection up to 9 g. The Typhoon pilots of the German Air Force and Austrian Air Force wear a hydrostatic g-suit called Libelle (dragonfly) Multi G Plus instead, which also provides protection to the arms, theoretically allowing for more complete g tolerance.
The design of the cockpit had involved the inputs from both test and operational pilots from each of the four partner nations from the feasibility and concept stage and throughout the design process. This has necessitated the use of specially commissioned lighting and display modelling simulation facilities and the extensive employment of rapid prototyping techniques.
The Passive Infra-Red Airborne Track Equipment (PIRATE) system is an Infrared Search and Track System (IRST) mounted on the port side of the fuselage, forward of the windscreen. SELEX Galileo is the lead contractor which, along with Thales Optronics (system technical authority) and Tecnobit of Spain, make up the EUROFIRST consortium responsible for the system's design and development.
PIRATE operates in two IR bands, 3-5 and 8-11 micrometres. When used with the radar in an air-to-air role, it functions as an Infrared Search and Track system (IRST), providing passive target detection and tracking. In an air-to-surface role, it performs target identification and acquisition. It also provides a navigation and landing aid. PIRATE is linked to the pilot's helmet mounted display. Eurofighters starting with Tranche 1 Block 5 have the PIRATE. The first Eurofighter Typhoon with PIRATE-IRST was delivered to the Italian Aeronautica Militare in August 2007. More advanced targeting capabilities can be provided with the addition of a targeting pod such as the LITENING pod.
In 2004, United States Air Force Chief of Staff General John P. Jumper said after flying the Eurofighter, "I have flown all the air force jets. None was as good as the Eurofighter."
The Typhoon's combat performance, compared to the new F-22 Raptor and the upcoming F-35 Lightning II fighters and the French Dassault Rafale, has been the subject of much discussion. In March 2005, Jumper, then the only person to have flown both the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Raptor, talked to Air Force Print News about these two aircraft. He said,
The Eurofighter is both agile and sophisticated, but is still difficult to compare to the F/A-22 Raptor. They are different kinds of airplanes to start with; it's like asking us to compare a NASCAR car with a Formula One car. They are both exciting in different ways, but they are designed for different levels of performance.
Further, "The Eurofighter is certainly, as far as smoothness of controls and the ability to pull (and sustain high g forces), very impressive", he said. "That is what it was designed to do, especially the version I flew, with the avionics, the color moving map displays, etc. - all absolutely top notch. The maneuverability of the airplane in close-in combat was also very impressive."
In July 2007, the Indian Air Force fielded the Su-30MKI during the Indra-Dhanush exercise with Royal Air Force's Typhoon. This was the first time that the two jets had taken part in such an exercise. The IAF did not allow their pilots to use the MKI's radar during the exercise to protect the highly-classified N011M Bars. During the exercise, the RAF pilots candidly admitted that the Su-30MKI displayed maneuvering superior to that of the Typhoon but they had studied, prepared and anticipated this. The IAF pilots on their part were also visibly impressed by the Typhoon's agility in the air. The Typhoon is capable of supersonic cruise without using afterburners (referred to as supercruise). According to the official German Luftwaffe and Austrian Eurofighter website, the maximum speed possible without reheat is between Mach 1.2 and Mach 1.5. Air Forces Monthly gives a maximum supercruise speed of Mach 1.1 for the RAF FGR4 multirole version. It has been suggested, in contradiction to other sources that the Eurofighter Typhoon could only supercruise in a clean configuration without external missiles and fuel tanks. While this is untrue, attention is drawn by these suggestions to the fact that not all weapons loadouts are necessarily certified for supersonic flight at all, even with afterburner.
The Eurofighter consortium claims their fighter has a larger sustained subsonic turn rate, sustained supersonic turn rate, and faster acceleration at Mach 0.9 at 20,000 feet (6,100 m) than the F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, Dassault Mirage 2000, Dassault Rafale, the Sukhoi Su-27, and the Mikoyan MiG-29.
In 2005, a trainer Eurofighter T1 was reported to have had a chance encounter the previous year with two U.S. Air Force F-15Es over the Lake District in the north of England. The encounter became a mock dogfight with the Eurofighter allegedly emerging "victorious".
In the 2005 Singapore evaluation, the Typhoon won all three combat tests, including one in which a single Typhoon defeated three RSAF F-16s, and reliably completed all planned flight tests. In July 2009, Former Chief of Air Staff for the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, said that "The Eurofighter Typhoon is an excellent aircraft. It will be the backbone of the Royal Air Force along with the JSF".
In 2010, during a DACT exercises over the Canary Islands involving USAF and Spanish Air Force units, two Spanish Typhoon engaged 8 F-15Cs from Lakenheath, UK. 7 F-15s were "downed" while one managed to escape, with no losses for the Typhoons.
The Typhoon is a multi-role fighter with maturing air-to-ground capabilities. Earlier than scheduled, the RAF integrated the air to ground capability, based on the Rafael/Ultra Electronics Litening III laser designator and the Enhanced Paveway II/III laser guided bomb under the "Austere" programme. A more comprehensive air-to-ground attack capability including Paveway IV, EGBU-16 bombs and a higher degree of automation will be achieved for all partner nations with the Phase 1 Enhancements currently in development. The absence of such a capability is believed to have been a factor in the type's rejection from Singapore's fighter competition in 2005. At the time it was claimed that Singapore was concerned about the delivery timescale and the ability of the Eurofighter partner nations to fund the current capability packages. With the planned Phase 2 Enhancements Eurofighter GmbH hopes to increase the appeal of Typhoon to possible export customers and to make the aircraft more useful to partner air forces.
Radar signature reduction features
Although not designated a stealth fighter, measures were taken to reduce the Typhoon's radar cross section (RCS), especially from the frontal aspect. An example of these measures is that the Typhoon has jet inlets that conceal the front of the jet engine (a strong radar target) from radar. Many important potential radar targets, such as the wing, canard and fin leading edges, are highly swept, so will reflect radar energy well away from the front sector. Some external weapons are mounted semi-recessed into the aircraft, partially shielding these missiles from incoming radar waves. In addition radar absorbent materials (RAM) developed primarily by EADS/DASA coat many of the most significant reflectors, e.g. the wing leading edges, the intake edges and interior, the rudder surrounds, strakes, etc. The Typhoon does not use internal storage of weapons. External mounting points are used instead, which increases its radar cross section but allows for more and larger stores.
The Eurofighter operates automatic Emission Controls (EMCON) to reduce the Electro-Magnetic emissions of the current mechanically scanned Radar. The Captor-M was the first NATO-Radar with three rather than two working channels, one intended for classification of jammer and for jamming suppression. The German BW-Plan 2009 indicates that Germany will equip/retrofit the Luftwaffe's Eurofighters with the AESA Captor-E from 2012. The conversion to AESA will give the Eurofighter a Low Probability of Intercept Radar with much better jam resistance. These include an innovative design with a gimbal to meet RAF requirements for a wider scan field than a fixed AESA. The coverage of an fixed AESA is limited to 120 degree in azimuth and elevation. According to the RAF, the Eurofighter's RCS is better than RAF requirements. Comments from BAE Systems suggest the radar return is around one quarter of that of the Tornado it replaces. The Eurofighter is thought to have an RCS of less than one square metre in a clean configuration by author Doug Richardson, although no official value is available. This compares with the estimated RCS of the Rafale of 2 square metres, the 20 square metres of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, the 1 square metre of the Su-35BM and the American F-117 of 0.025 square metres. The manufacturers have carried out tests on the early Eurofighter prototypes to optimize the low observability characteristics of the aircraft from the early 1990s. Testing at BAE's Warton facility on the DA4 prototype measured the RCS of the aircraft and investigated the effects of a variety of RAM coatings. Another measure to reduce the likelihood of discovery is the use of passive sensors, which minimises the radiation of treacherous electronic emissions. While canards generally have poor stealth characteristics, the flight control system is designed to minimise the RCS in flight, maintaining the elevon trim and canards at an angle to minimise RCS
On 4 August 2003, Germany accepted the first series production Eurofighter (GT003). Also that year, Spain took delivery of its first series production aircraft.
On 16 December 2005, the Typhoon reached initial operational capability (IOC) with the Italian Air Force. Its Typhoons were put into service as air defence fighters at Grosseto Air Base, and immediately assigned to Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) at the same base.
On 9 August 2007, the UK's Ministry of Defence reported that No. XI Squadron of the RAF, which stood up as a Typhoon squadron on 29 March 2007, had taken delivery of its first two multi-role Typhoons. Two of XI Squadron's Typhoons were sent to intercept a Russian Tupolev Tu-95 approaching British airspace on 17 August 2007.
The RAF Typhoons were declared combat ready in the air-to-ground role by 1 July 2008. The RAF Typhoons were projected to be ready to deploy for operations by mid-2008. On or around 25 April 2008 a Typhoon from 17 Squadron at RAF Coningsby, operating at the US Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake test centre in California, USA, suffered extensive damage during landing when its landing gear did not deploy Although no immediate cause was determined it was speculated that pilot error may have been to blame. A Board of Enquiry was convened.
On 11 September 2008, the combined flying time of the five customer Air Forces and the industrial Flight Test programme saw aircraft surpass the 50,000 flight hours milestone.
On 31 March 2009 a Eurofighter Typhoon fired an AMRAAM for the first time whilst having its radar in passive mode, the necessary target data for the missile was acquired by the radar of a second Eurofighter Typhoon and transmitted using the Multi Functional Information Distribution System (MIDS).
On 17 July 2009, Italian Air Force Eurofighters were deployed to protect Albania's airspace.
In September 2009, four RAF Typhoons deployed to RAF Mount Pleasant replacing the Tornado F3s defending the Falkland Islands. The government of Argentina "is understood to have made a formal protest".
On 24 August 2010, the project suffered its first fatality when a two seat Typhoon crashed, for unknown reasons, killing a Saudi Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, the front seat occupant, shortly after taking off from Moron Air Base in Spain. Experts suspect that a bird strike had destroyed "important sensors"The Spanish instructor ejected and sustained only minor injuries. Following this incident the German Luftwaffe grounded its 55 planes on 16 September 2010, amidst concerns that after ejecting successfully the pilot fell to his death. In response to the investigation of the crash, on 17 September 2010, the RAF temporarily grounded all Typhoon training flights. Quick Reaction Alert duties were unaffected. On 21 September, the RAF announced that the harness system had been sufficiently modified to enable routine flying from RAF Coningsby. The Austrian Air Force also said that all its aircraft had been cleared for flight.
The Eurofighter is produced in single-seat and twin-seat variants. The twin-seat variant is not used operationally, but only for training. The aircraft has been manufactured in three major standards; seven Development Aircraft (DA), seven production standard Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) for further system development and a continuing number of Series Production Aircraft. The production aircraft are now operational with the partner nation's air forces.
The Tranche 1 aircraft were produced from 2000 onwards. Aircraft capabilities are being increased incrementally, with each software upgrade resulting in a different standard, known as blocks. With the introduction of the Block 5 standard, the R2 retrofit programme began to bring all aircraft to that standard.
" Block 1 : Initial Operational Capability and basic Air Defence Capability.
" Block 2 : Initial air-to-air capabilities.
" Block 2B : Full air-to-air capabilities.
" Block 5 : Full Operational Capability (FOC) by combining existing air-to-air role with air-to-ground capabilities.
" Block 8 : New mission computers required for the integration of future weapons such as Meteor, Storm Shadow and Taurus. (Differences in the build to Tranche 1 related to changes in production technology or obsolescence).
" Block 10 : Software: EOC 1 (advanced multi role step 1) AIM-120C-5 AMRAAM, IRIS-T digital. A2G: GBU-24, GPS-controlled weapons, ALARM, Paveway III & IV, Rafael Litening III
" Block 15 : Software: EOC 2 (advanced multi role step 2) A2A Meteor A2G: TAURUS, Storm Shadow, Brimstone
These aircraft will have interfaces for possible future improvements, but will be delivered at a Tranche 2 level of capability.
The Indian Navy has made a request for information for a carrier based variant of the Eurofighter. In this contest it will once again be up against the Rafale, which split from the Eurofighter project over the need for a carrier based variant.
Crew: 1 (operational aircraft) or 2 (training aircraft)
Length: 15.96 m (52 ft 5 in)
Wingspan: 10.95 m (35 ft 11 in)
Height: 5.28 m (17 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 51.2 m2 (551 ft2)
Empty weight: 11,150 kg (24,560 lb)
Loaded weight: 16,000 kg (35,300 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 23,500 kg (51,800 lb)
Powerplant: 2× Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofan
Dry thrust: 60 kN (13,500 lbf) each
Thrust with afterburner: 89 kN ref RR (20,000 lbf) each
Fuel capacity: 4,500 kg (9,920 lb) internal
At altitude: Mach 2 (2,495 km/h, 1,550 mph)
At sea level: Mach 1.2 (1,470 km/h / 913.2 mph)
Supercruise: Mach 1.1-1.5
Range: 2,900 km (1,802 mi)
Ground attack, lo-lo-lo: 601 km (325 nmi)
Ground attack, hi-lo-hi: 1,389 km (750 nmi)
Air defence with 3-hr CAP: 185 km (100 nmi)
Air defence with 10-min loiter: 1,389 km (750 nmi)
Ferry range: 3,790 km (2,300 mi)
Service ceiling: 19,810 m (65,000 ft)
Rate of climb: >315 m/s (62,000 ft/min
Wing loading: 312 kg/m2 (64.0 lb/ft2)
Guns: 1 × 27 mm Mauser BK-27 Revolver cannon with 150 rounds
Hardpoints: Total of 13: 8 × under-wing plus 5 × under-fuselage pylon stations holding up to 7,500 kg (16,500 lb) of payload
AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-132 ASRAAM, AIM-120 AMRAAM, IRIS-T, and, in the future, MBDA Meteor
AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-88 HARM, Storm Shadow (AKA Scalp EG), Brimstone, Taurus KEPD 350, Penguin and in the future AGM Armiger
Bombs: Paveway II/III/Enhanced Paveway series of Laser-guided bombs (LGBs), Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), HOPE/HOSBO
Flares/infrared decoys dispenser pod and chaff pod and
Electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods
LITENING III laser targeting pod
Up to 3 drop tanks for ferry flight or extended range/loitering time.
Euroradar CAPTOR Radar
Passive Infra-Red Airborne Tracking Equipment (PIRATE)