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Eurofighter Typhoon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eurofighter Typhoon

Two-seat Development Aircraft (DA4).

Type Multirole fighter
Manufacturer Eurofighter GmbH
Maiden flight 27 March 1994
Introduced 2003
Status Active service
Primary users Royal Air Force
Aeronautica Militare Italiana
Spanish Air Force
Number built 100 (as of October 2006) [1]

Variants Eurofighter Typhoon variants

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine multi-role canard-delta strike fighter aircraft, designed and
built by a consortium of European aerospace manufacturers, Eurofighter GmbH, formed in 1983.

The series production of the Eurofighter Typhoon is now underway and the aircraft has formally entered
service with the Italian Air Force. 'Initial Operational Capability' is expected to be declared by Germany,
Spain and the United Kingdom in 2006. Austria has purchased 18 Typhoons, while Saudi Arabia signed
a contract on 18 August 2006 for 72 to be built by BAE Systems.
In the mid 1970s France, Germany and the UK established the European Combat Aircraft programme
(ECA). In 1979, following differing requirements (particularly the French requirement for carrier
compatibility), British Aerospace (BAe) and Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm proposed the European
Combat Fighter (ECF). The development of different national prototypes and continued differences over
specification lead to cancellation of the ECF programme in 1981.

As a result the Panavia partners (Germany, Italy and UK) launched the Agile Combat Aircraft (ACA)
programme. Following the failure of Germany and Italy to fund development, the UK Ministry of
Defence (MoD) paid £80 m to BAe, to develop the Experimental Aircraft Programme technology
demonstrator (EAP). In 1983 the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain launched the Future European
Fighter Aircraft (F/EFA) 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, Germany and Italy opted out and established a new EFA programme. The following year France
officially withdrew from the project to pursue its own ACX project, what was to become the Dassault

Eurofighter Typhoon T.1 of the Royal Air Force. The dark patch in the centre of the fuselage is the exhaust of the
Auxiliary Power Unit

Also in 1985 the BAe EAP was rolled out at BAe Warton, by this time also funded by MBB and BAe
itself. The EAP first flew in 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%), Daimler-
Benz (33%), Aeritalia (21%), and Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA) (13%).

1986 also saw the establishment of the Munich based Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH 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.
By 1990 the selection of the aircraft's radar had become a major stumbling block. Britain, Italy and
Spain supported the Ferranti Defence Systems-led ECR-90, while Germany preferred the APG-65 based
MSD2000 (a collaboration between Hughes, 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. [2]

The maiden flight of the Eurofighter prototype took place on March 27, 1994 (then just known as the
Eurofighter EF 2000). Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm 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.

When the final production contract was signed in 1997, the revised 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%).

The project has been named and renamed a number of times since its inception, having been known as
EFA (European Fighter Aircraft), Eurofighter, EF2000 (Eurofighter 2000), and most recently Typhoon.

Costs and delays

The cost of the Eurofighter project has increased from original estimates. The cost of the UK's aircraft
has increased from £7 billion to £19 billion and the in-service date (2003; defined as the date of delivery
of the first aircraft to the RAF) was 54 months late.[3] Britain's commitment to its 88 Tranche 3 aircraft
has been questioned.[4]

In late 1990 it became apparent that the German government was not happy about continuing with the
project. The Luftwaffe was tasked to find alternative solutions including looking at cheaper
implementations of Eurofighter. The German concerns over Eurofighter came to a head in July 1992
when they announced their decision to leave the project. However, on insistence of the German
government some time earlier, all partners had signed commitments to the project and they found
themselves unable to leave.

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. However, all the nations then reduced their orders. Britain 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 however unwilling to give up such a large amount work. In
January 1996 after much negotiation between UK and German partners, a compromise was reached
whereby Germany would take another 40 aircraft from 2012 and a new workshare of 30%, the eventual
splits becoming 37/30/20/13 (UK/Germany/Italy/Spain).

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 Britain 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.

Though most of the programme's problems have been political, with major delays imposed by funding
delays and governmental procrastination, the Typhoon has suffered some minor technical problems.

On 21 November 2002, DA-6, the Spanish two-seater prototype crashed due to an engine problem. The
problem was said to be specifically related to the experimental trial standard of engine being used by
that aircraft. On 16 January 2006 an RAF Typhoon T1 made an emergency landing at RAF Coningsby.
The nosewheel failed to deploy, via either the normal or emergency systems. The aircraft landed on the
main gear and used aerodynamic braking whilst simultaneously deploying the brake chute. The nose
was then gently lowered, minimising the damage to the aircraft. The pilots vacated the aircraft once a
suitable ladder was positioned next to the aircraft. [5] The RAF Typhoon T1 has now been returned to

In 2004 German newspapers reported that the few Eurofighters in service with the Luftwaffe did not
then meet specifications. Because of technical difficulties, the aircraft was reportedly only allowed to
take off without cannon ammunition and at moderate temperatures.[citation needed] Eurofighter GmbH and
the Luftwaffe denied these claims. It is important to note that it was always planned that early aircraft
would be delivered at a baseline state, with capability to be increased incrementally. BAE has stated that
the capability of the aircraft will increase at a faster rate than the training of pilots.[citation needed]

In November 2006 BAE Systems commenced an upgrade programme to bring 43 tranche 1 RAF
Typhoons up to a common standard. Scheduled maintenance will take place at the same time as the


RAF Typhoon F2
The Eurofighter Typhoon is unique in modern combat aircraft in that there are four separate assembly
lines. Each partner company assembles its own national aircraft, but builds the same parts of all 620

 Alenia – Left wing, outboard flaperons, rear fuselage sections

 BAE Systems – Front fuselage (including canards), canopy, dorsal spine, tail fin,
inboard flaperons, rear fuselage section
 EADS Germany – Main centre fuselage
 EADS CASA – Right wing, leading edge slats

Production is divided into three "tranches" (see table below) with an incremental increase in capability
with each tranche. Tranches are further divided up into batches and blocks, eg the RAF's Tranche one
twin seaters are batch 1 T1s and batch 2 T1As.

Production Summary

Country Tranche 1 Tranche 2 Tranche 3 Total

Austria 0 18 0 18

Germany 44 68 68 180

Italy 29 46 46 121

Saudi Arabia 0 48 24 72

Spain 20 33 34 87

United Kingdom 55 89 88 232

TOTAL 148 302 260 710


In 1999 the Greek government agreed to acquire 60 Typhoons in order to replace its existing second-
generation combat aircraft. [7] However, the purchase was put on hold due to budgetary 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 2.2 billion euro multiyear 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,
along with the F-22 Raptor, Rafale and F-35 Lightning II. [8]

On July 2, 2002, the Austrian government announced the decision to buy the Typhoon as its new air
defence aircraft. The purchase of 18 Typhoons was finalised on July 1, 2003, and included 18 aircraft,
training for pilots and ground crew, logistics, maintenance, and a simulator. The future of this order has
recently been questioned in the Austrian parliament.[9]

After unsuccessful campaigns in South Korea and Singapore, on 18 August 2006 it was announced that
Saudi Arabia will purchase 72 Typhoons. [10] It is reported that the Saudis have threatened to buy French
planes instead because of a UK Serious Fraud Office investigation into the original Al Yamamah
defence deals in the 1980s. [[2]]

Other countries that have expressed interest in the Typhoon are India [11], Denmark [12], Norway,
Pakistan and Turkey, while the type was rejected by South Korea and Singapore. Less likely 'prospects'
have reportedly included Chile and Brazil.


Eurofighter Typhoon prototype on display at Dubai Air Show 1998. Note the multiple roundels for
the air forces: (left to right) Spanish Ejército del Aire, Italian Aeronautica Militare, British Royal Air
Force, and German Luftwaffe.

The Eurofighter has so far been produced in three major versions; seven Development Aircraft (DA),
five production standard Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) for further system development and
Series Production Aircraft. These Series Production Aircraft are the aircraft now operational with the
partner air forces.
Combat performance

Eurofighter Typhoon of the Royal Air Force displaying at the Farnborough Air Show, 2006

Its combination of agility, performance, stealth features and advanced avionics make it one of the most
capable fighter aircraft currently in service. Compared to its rivals, Typhoon's cockpit and man/machine
interface are claimed to be significantly advanced and intuitive, resulting in a lower pilot workload,
building on the early glass cockpits pioneered by aircraft like the F/A-18 and Mirage 2000, looking
similar, but working in a much more intuitive and effective way, with given operations requiring fewer
pilot inputs. The conventional HOTAS-concept was enhanced with a direct voice input system to allow
the pilot to perform mode selection and data entry procedures.

The Typhoon's combat performance, particularly compared to the new F-22A Raptor and the upcoming
F-35 fighter under development in the United States and the Dassault Rafale developed in France, has
been the subject of much speculation. While making a reliable assessment is impossible with available
information, there is a study by the UK's DERA comparing the Typhoon to other contemporary fighters.
In it, the Typhoon was second only to the F-22A in combat performance. Especially in France, it is
claimed that 10 years after this study, Typhoon hasn't shown evidence of any superiority during
international competitions, though recent UK and US reports (in Flight Daily News, Aviation Week,
Show News and Defence Analysis for example) indicate that the aircraft was the preferred technical
solution in Singapore, though Typhoon was ousted from the competition before Rafale and F-15.

In March 2005, United States Air Force Chief of Staff General John P. Jumper, then the only person to
have flown both the Typhoon and the Raptor, talked to Air Force Print News about these two aircraft.
He said that "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 1 car. They are both exciting in different ways, but they are designed for different
levels of performance". [13]
In June 2005, Scotland on Sunday reported that, when 'attacked' by two USAF F-15E Strike Eagle strike
fighter aircraft, a Eurofighter on a 'Case White' conversion training sortie was able to out-manoeuvre the
attacking aircraft and "shoot them down" (i.e., achieve radar lock for a long enough period of time to
accurately launch missiles, had this been real combat). [14] The Strike Eagle is primarily a ground attack
craft (the successor of the F-111 Aardvark), which may have affected the outcome. It is, however,
generally agreed that the Eurofighter Typhoon's performance is significantly better than that of the F-
15C/D, the current air superiority fighter variant of the F-15.

While the Typhoon lacks the all-aspect stealth technology of the F-22A, the design does incorporate
some low-observable features. Its actual detectability on radar is classified. Passive infrared target
detection and tracking (air-to-air and air-to-surface) is provided by PIRATE (Passive Infra-Red Airborne
Track Equipment), serving also as a navigation and landing aid.

The Typhoon is capable of sustained supersonic cruise without using afterburners. The F-22A is the only
other current fighter with supercruise capabilities. According to EADS, the maximum speed possible
without reheat is Mach 1.5 in what EF GmbH regard as a 'clean' configuration — e.g., without tanks, but
with four BVRAAMs and two IR AAMs. (Supercruise performance drops to Mach 1.3 with a full air-to-
air weapons load, including tanks). Rafale's supercruise capabilities have been described as marginal
with the current engine (the aircraft failed to demonstrate the capability during the Singapore
evaluation), while the F-22 by comparison can supercruise rather faster with a full internal weapons

Canards, lightweight construction (>70% carbon fibre composites) and the inherently unstable design
with a quadruplex digital control system providing artificial stability, allow superior agility both at
supersonic speed and at very low speed. The fly-by-wire system is described as "carefree" by preventing
the pilot from exceeding the permitted manoeuver envelope.

In 2002 the MBDA Meteor was selected as the long range air-to-air missile armament of Eurofighter
Typhoon [15][16] . Due to delays in Meteor development, Typhoon will be equipped with the Raytheon
AMRAAM as a stop gap measure. The current in-service date for Meteor is predicted to be August 2012

Air-to-ground capabilities
Typhoon has always been planned to be a swing role tactical fighter with robust air-to-ground
capabilities. However the RAF's urgent air-to-ground requirement has driven the integration of an
"austere" air to ground capability, based on the Rafael/Ultra Electronics Litening III laser designator and
the Enhanced Paveway II G/LGB, earlier than was originally planned. A more comprehensive air to
surface attack capability will be achieved for all partner nations later in the decade.[18] The RAF's
capability will now be available in the Block 5 aircraft delivered at the end of Tranche 1 and, by retrofit,
on all RAF Tranche 1 jets.

The absence of such a capability is believed to have been of pivotal importance in the type's rejection
from Singapore's fighter competition in 2005. When the Typhoon was dropped from the final shortlist
the Singaporean Ministry of Defence commented that: "the committed schedule for the delivery of the
Typhoon and its systems did not meet the requirements of the RSAF."[citation needed] Flight Daily News
reported that Singapore was concerned about delivery timescales and by the Eurofighter partner nations'
inability to accurately and finally define the content of the Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 Typhoon capability
packages.[citation needed] Singapore needed Tranche 2 capabilities that were 'road-mapped' but which are
still unfunded, and wanted them in a timescale that required Tranche 1 aircraft. The then unfunded
interim 'austere' air-to-ground capability being developed for the RAF Block 5 aircraft fell far short of
the capability required. Despite this, according to Flight Daily News, Typhoon reportedly impressed the
RSAF evaluation team enough to be the air force's favoured 'technical solution' though a "shambolic
performance by BAE Systems during the early part of the bidding process" undermined the Typhoon's
chances.[citation needed] By addressing the aircraft's lack of air-to-ground capability, Eurofighter GmbH
hopes to increase the Typhoon's appeal to other potential export customers and to make the aircraft more
useful to partner air forces.

Testing of the latest air-to-ground Flight Control Software (FCS Phase 5), written by an EADS led team,
began in 2006. The software will undergo rigorous testing in all four partner nations and six aircraft will
be used for testing and validating the required clearances. Completion of these tests will lead to the final
clearances for the Full Operational Capability (FOC) specified under the Main Development Contract.
This is expected in early 2007 in time for the first Tranche 1 Block 5 aircraft. Alongside the Phase 5
software tests, the FOC avionics functionality (including the new pilot helmet) is now also undergoing
flight testing, following the conclusion of rig tests in 2005. The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado
Management Agency (NETMA) issued a clearance for flight testing in December 2005.

Specifications (Typhoon)

EJ200 engine (foreground)

General characteristics

 Crew: 1 or 2
 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: 50 m² (540 ft²)
 Empty weight: 11 000 kg (24,250 lb)
 Loaded weight: 15 550 kg (34,280 lb)
 Max takeoff weight: 23 500 kg (51,809 lb)
 Powerplant: 2× Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofans, 60 kN dry, 90 kN with
afterburner (13,500 lbf / 20,250 lbf) each

 Maximum speed: Mach 2.0+, 2390 km/h (1,480 mph) at high altitude; Mach 1.2,
1470 km/h (915 mph) at sea level; supercruise Mach 1.3+ at altitude with typical
air-to-air armament
 Range: 1390 km (864 mi)
 Service ceiling: 18 000 m (60,000 ft)
 Rate of climb: 255 m/s (50,000 ft/min)
 Wing loading: 311 kg/m² (63.7 lb/ft²)
 Thrust/weight: 1.18


 gun: 1x 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon

 air-to-air missiles: AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-132 ASRAAM, AIM-120
AMRAAM, IRIS-T and in the future MBDA Meteor
 air-to-ground missiles: AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-88 HARM,ALARMs, Storm
Shadow (AKA "Scalp EG"), Brimstone, Taurus, Penguin and in the future AGM
 bombs: Paveway 2, Paveway 3, Enhanced Paveway, JDAM
 Laser designator, e.g. LITENING pod