EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON MULTI-ROLE FIGHTER, EUROPE
The four-nation Eurofighter Typhoon is a foreplane delta-wing, beyond-visual-range, close air fighter aircraft with surface attack capability. Eurofighter has 'supercruise' capability: it can fly at sustained speeds of over Mach 1 without the use of afterburner.
Development of the aircraft has been carried out by Eurofighter GmbH, based in Munich and wholly owned by BAE Systems of the UK, Alenia Aeronautica of Italy and the EADS Deutschland (formerly DaimlerChrysler) and EADS Spain (formerly CASA). In January 2003, Norway signed an agreement for industrial participation in the project, but has not committed to purchase of the fighter. The EJ200 engine has been developed by Eurojet GmbH, in Munich which is owned by Rolls Royce, MTU Aero Engines, Fiat Aviazione and ITP.
An overall production contract for 620 aircraft was signed in January 1998 with 232 for UK, 180 for Germany, 121 for Italy and 87 for Spain. Initial orders have been placed for 148 aircraft - Germany (44), Italy (29), Spain (20) and UK (55). Prime customer is the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), representing the four governments.
Series production of the aircraft is underway at EADS Military Aircraft (Germany), BAE Systems, Alenia Aeronautica and EADS CASA (Spain). The first four series production aircraft for the four participating nations took maiden flights in February 2003 and the Eurofighter Typhoon received type acceptance on 30 June 2003. First series production twin-seat aircraft were delivered to the German Air Force in August 2003, to the Spanish Air Force in September 2003, to the UK Royal Air Force in December 2003 and to the Italian Air Force in February 2004. First single-seat Batch 2 aircraft were delivered to the four participating nations in early 2005. Over 50 aircraft have been delivered.
The four participating nations signed the contract for Tranche 2 production in December 2004. Tranche 2 comprises 236 aircraft: Germany 68, Italy 46, Spain 33 and UK 89. Tranche 2 deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2008 with final deliveries scheduled for 2015.
Greece also selected the Eurofighter but a change of government has led to a reconsideration of the procurement of 60 aircraft. Austria signed a contract for 18 Eurofighter aircraft in August 2003, to be delivered from 2007.
In December 2005, it was announced that the Eurofighter Typhoon has been selected by Saudi Arabia. The number of aircraft required has not been disclosed.
The aircraft is constructed of carbon fire composites, glass-reinforced plastic, aluminium lithium, titanium and aluminium casting. Stealth technology features includelow frontal radar cross-section, passive sensors and supercruise ability.
The foreplane/delta configuration is intentionally aerodynamically unstable which provides a high level of agility (particularly at supersonic speeds), low drag and enhanced lift. The pilot controls the aircraft through a computerised digital fly-by-wire system which provides artificial stabilisation and gust elevation to give good control characteristics throughout the flight envelope.
The quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system has an Automatic Low Speed Recovery System (ALSR) which provides the pilot with visual and audio low speed warning and will, if necessary, automatically take control of the aircraft and return to safe flight.
The BAE Systems Striker Helmet Mounted Symbology System (HMS) and Head Up Display show the flight reference data, weapon aiming and cueing, and the FLIR imagery. BAE Systems TERPROM ground proximity warning system is being fitted. The cockpit has three multi-function colour head down displays (MHDD) which show the tactical situation, systems status and EADS digital map displays. An international consortium EuroMIDS, which includes Data Link Solutions of the US, supplies the MIDS Low Volume Terminal provides Link 16 capability for secure transfer of data.
Raytheon Systems Ltd is supplying anti-jam global positioning systems (GPS) for Tranche 2.
Depending on role, the fighter can carry the following mix of missiles: air-superiority - six BVRAAM (Beyond Visual Range)/AMRAAM air-to-air missiles on semi-recessed fuselage stations and two ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missiles on the outer pylons; air interdiction - four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, two cruise missiles and two anti-radar missiles (ARM); SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defences) - four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, six anti-radar missiles; multi-role - three AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, two ARM and two GBU-24 Paveway III/IV; close air support - four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, 18 Brimstone anti-armour missiles; maritime attack - four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, six anti-ship missiles.
The UK RAF has selected MBDA Meteor for the BVRAAM requirement and Raytheon AMRAAM until Meteor enters service. Meteor uses a new air-breathing ramjet motor for increased range and manoeuvrability. AMRAAM will be fitted from 2002 and Meteor around 2010.
German, Italian and Spanish Eurofighters will carry the imaging infrared IRIS-T air-to-air missile being developed by Diehl BGT Defence of Germany. Deliveries began in December 2005. German and Spanish aircraft will also be armed with the Taurus KEPD 350 standoff missile from EADS/LFK and Saab Bofors Dynamics, which has a range over 350km.
UK RAF Eurofighters will carry the MBDA Storm Shadow / Scalp EG stand-off cruise missile, which entered operational service on Tornado aircraft in March 2003, and the MBDA Brimstone anti-armour missile, which entered service with Initial Operational Capability (IOC) on the RAF Tornado GR.Mk4 aircraft in March 2005. Italian aircraft will also be armed with Storm Shadow.
The PIRATE (Passive Infra-Red Airborne Track Equipment) is mounted on the port side of the fuselage, forward of the windscreen. PIRATE has been developed by the EUROFIRST consortium which comprises Galileo Avionica (FIAR) of Italy (lead contractor), Thales Optronics of the UK (system technical authority) and Tecnobit of Spain. PIRATE operates in both 3-5 and 8-11 micron spectral bands. 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 multiple target acquisition and identification, as well as providing a navigation and landing aid. PIRATE provides a steerable image to the pilot's helmet-mounted display.
In September 2005, Ultra Electronics was contracted to supply the Rafael Litening EF laser targeting pod for UK RAF Typhoons.
The Eurofighter is equipped with two Eurojet EJ200 engines, each delivering thrust of 90kN in full reheat and 60kN in dry power mode. Single-stage turbines drive the three-stage fan and five-stage HP compressor. The engine features: digital control; wide chord aerofoils and single crystal turbine blades; a convergent /divergent exhaust nozzle; and integrated health monitoring.