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Hooton T, Jul-2008. The Maturity of Eurofighter, Military Technology Issue 7/2008

Hooton T, Jul-2008. The Maturity of Eurofighter, Military Technology Issue 7/2008

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Published by: Foro Militar General on Nov 03, 2012
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Ted Hooton
The Maturity of Eurofighter
Europe's largest domestic combataircraft programme, the Euro-fighter TYPHOON", will celebrateits 20th birthday on November 23although the first production air-craft were delivered only five years
The aircraft's role is changingradically from the one originallyenvisaged and yet it remains both aprogramme with great potentialand one of great disappointment.
Although the story of the Eurofighter pro-gramme has been told over and over again, thevery fact that an entire new generation of
ers has been born and reached majority duringthe programme's development so far makes ashort resume indispensable to understandwhere it all comes from, and how the presentsituation has t>een arrived at.
The Road So Far
In the late 1970s the continued threat fromSoviet Air Force's strike aircraft drove a NATOrequirement for a beyond-vtsual-range air su-periority fighter with sufficient multi-role capa-bility to support own strike forces. With aircraftdevelopment and production costs steadilyescalating, it was obvious that a multi-nationalsolution would be required and the success ofthe TORNADO programme gave confidence inits advantages. Al) the major European aero-space nations, with the exception of Sweden,agreed to consider a common programme, aconcept which many felt boded well with afuture European aerospace industry for it was aEuropean solution to a European scenario.In December 1983 an Outline Staff Targetwas approved by the Air Force Chiefs of Stafffrom France, Germany. Italy, Spain and theUnited Kingdom leading, seven months later tothe launching of an initia! feasibility study. Thisled to a series of designs and iater to technolo-gy demonstrators but hopes of a pan-Europeanprogramme were dashed with France's
drawal a year later followed by a decision to flyalone with a programme vi;hich became theDassault RAFALE. On the light of subsequentdevelopments, it is interesting to note thatwhile there arguably also were industrial fac-tors behind the French decision, its main ratio-nale was the Armée de
strong prefer-ence for a multi-role design whiie the other fournations rather placed a heavy emphasis on airsuperiority.Undaunted by the withdrawal of France, theremaining partners continued to complete pro-ject definition of what was called the EuropeanFighter Aircraft (EFA) in September 1986 and toissue a detailed Staff Requirement a year lateras the refining of the definition and risk reduc-tion phase was nearing its end. On 23 No-vember 1988 development contracts for theengine and the weapons system were signedand the programme began taxiing to the run-way.But it would prove a bumpy joumey for theSoviet Empire collapsed just as the programmemoved off and the rationale for the EFA cameinto question. In those heady days there wasmuch talk of the "peace dividend", defencemoney which could be diverted to social pro-grammes, and nowhere was the debate moreintense than in Germany which had onceseemed doomed to be the Superpower's bat-
Dust from the demolished BerlinWall was still in the air when Germany began todemand cost cutting and studies of alternativeproposals. The latter were submitted inOctober 1992 and although none found favour,the resulting uncertainty meant that Italy andSpain froze their work which was not resumeduntil European Defence Ministers agreed on 10December 1992 to delay the aircraft's introduc-tion into service and to study German propo-sals for reducing costs by 30%.Germany's partners shared her concerns butwere anxious to continue the project to main-tain European technological capabiiities and toattempt to counter the American dominance ofthe combat aircraft export market. The Decem-ber 1992 conference relaunched the EFA asEurofighter 2000 (or EF2000) but German sup-port remained lukewarm, the German require-ment being reduced while wishing to share theeconomic and technicai benefits. In the end itwas recognised that all attempts at cost-cutting were futile and by 1996 a revised StaffRequirement had been agreed and the workshare re-organised with Germany and Italycutting their contribution from 33% and
% to
and 19% while the British and Spanishshares rose from 33% and 13% to 37% and
respectively.The impact of this squabbling was that thein-senyice date of the aircraft slipped threeyears from 1997 to 2000. Indeed with Berlin
"TYPHOON Meet": Four Eurofighter aircraft,one each from the partner air forces,airborne over Morón Air Base, Spain,as part of the four nation "Typhoon Meet"exercise in March 2008.(Photo: Spanish Air Force)
procrastinating over a production decision itwas London who cut the Gordian Knot by pro-viding a firm production commitment on 2September 1996 closely followed by Spain.Although all four govemments agreed in princi-ple in December 1996 to launch production,procrastination in both Berlin and Rome meantthe production phase was not formallylaunched until just before Christmas in 1997.The aircraft was now officially known as EURO-FIGHTER by the partners but it was decided tocall the expert version TYPHOON, although thesituation has been confused by the Royal AirForce decision to use TYPHOON as the Britishdesignation. The single-seater British version isTYPHOON F.Mk 2 and the two-seater isTYPHOON T.Mk 1, while Spanish versions areofficially designated C.16 for the singie-seaterand CE.16 for the twc-seater.Unusually, the programme has had no proto-types although the basic airframe and flightcontrol software was developed in the BAE Ex-perimental Aircraft Programme (EAP) of the late1980s. Instead seven (originally there were tobe eight) Development Aircraft were producedand it was planned that they would fly 2.990sorties and that this programme would be aug-mented by another 1.700 sorties in the first fiveInstrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) whichwere fitted with test instrumentation. Inevitablydemands meant more hours and already byJune 2005 the development fleet had flownmore than 5.000 sorties.Material for the first development aircraft wascut in May 1998 and the aircraft were complet-ed by mid-1992 but then had an exhaustive 18
A two-ship take-off of SpanishAir Force CE.16 aircraft fromAla 11 at Morón Air Base.(Photo: Eurofighter GmbH)
CountryGermanyItalySpainUKTotalSingle Seat2918113593Two Seat191081855
Tranche 2 Break-down
CountryGermanyItalySpainUKTotalSingle Seat57442885214Two Seat736622
Tranche 3 Break-down
CountryGermanyItalySpainUKTotalSingle Seat61443375213Two Seat7211323Total48281953148Total64473491236Totai68463488236months check of the flight control system. Thefirst flight was by the DA 1 on 27 March 1994from Manching in Germany and the DA aircraftemerged from the factories in a steady streamwith the last. DA 4, making its maiden flight on14 March 1997.DA
and DA 2 were used for developing theflight control system and for testing the perfor-mance envelope and handling. DA 3 had theproduction EJ2000 engines. DA 4 was the firsttwc-seater with full avionics, DA 5 was theECR-90 radar development aircraft. DA 6 wasfor environmental and Mission Integrated De-fence System (MIDS) and helmet system inte-gration while DA 7 aided development of thenavigation and communications systems andwas used for weapons integration trials- DA 6was lost on
November 2002 after suffering adouble flame-out but the crew ejected safely.The IPA aircraft augmented thisdevelopment programme but havefocused more upon operational inte-gration of national sensor and weaponsystems with the Italian IPA 2 makingits first flight on 5 April 2002 followedby the German IPA 3, the British IPA 1two-seater, the Spanish IPA 4, the Bri-tish IPA 5 single-seater and finally IPA 6and IPA 7 to inaugurate the Tranche 2aircraft for the United Kingdom andGermany, respectively.The development programme raisedthe partners' confidence and on 30 Ja-nuary 1998 they approved productionwith the first series aircraft, for the Luft-waffe, flying on 13 February 2003 andbeing delivered to the Kaufbeurentechnical school four days later. TheItalian and British initial production air-craft flew a month after the Germanplane, being fcllowed by the Spanishaircraft on 17 February.The purchasing agency for Euro-fighter/TYPH00N/C.16 is the NATOEurofighter and Tomado ManagementAgency (NETMA) while on the industri-al side the programme is managed byEurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH on be-half of its sharehoiders Alenia Finmec-canica, BAE Systems. EADS CASA andEADS Deutschland with shares of respectively17.5%. 37.5%, 13% and 30%. The companyhas a tumover of more than €60 billion ($94 bil-iion) and the programme employs more than100.000 people in 400 companies.The work share sees Germany produce
centre fuselage; Italy makes the port wing, out-board flaperons and part of the rear fuselage:Spain produce the starboard wing and leading-edge slats; and the United Kingdom producesthe front fuselage, part of the rear fuselage, thecanards, windscreen, canopy, dorsal fairinginboard flaperons. fin and part of the rear fuse-lage.Each country assembles its own aircraftat Manching in Germany. Caselle in Italy. Ge-tafe in Spain and Warton in England,
In Service
Royal Air Force
The first Bntish TYPHOONs were acceptedIn June 2003 for No 17 (Reserve) Squadron fol-lowed by the operational conversion unit No 29(Reserve) Squadron. This has been based atRAF Coningsby since July 2005 and has beenjoined by Nos 3 and 11 Squadrons. Most willbe
versions but TYPHOONs withenhanced air-to-surface capability will be des-ignated FGR.4.Tranche 2 aircraft were due to begin arrivingat RAF Leuchars this year initially with No 6Squadron which was to be joined by two oth-ers.However, the diversion of British Tranche 2aircraft to Saudi Arabia means the plan hasslipped to early 2009. The RAF intends to haveseven multi-role squadrons by
all equip-ped with Tranche 2 aircraft and they have be-gun replacing the TORNADO F.3 whose firstsquadron. No 25 at
Leeming. disbanded inApril.
With additional notes and comments by Ezio Bonsig-nore.
There were plans to deploy No 11 Squadronto Afghanistan in July 2008 in what would havebeen the first combat deployment of the type,but it appears that this will be replaced by aTORNADO GR4 squadron while fourTYPHOONs will be deployed to the FalklandsIslands in October 2009.
The first German operational aircraft werereceived by JG73 at Laage from October 2003followed by JG74 at Neuberg and JG31 atNörvenich. All are air defence units as is JG71at Wittmund which will receive the Eurofighternext year. The last unit to receive Eurofighter,presumably Tranche 2, will be JG33 at Buchelfrom 2012 although two air defence
may switch to the air-to-surface role.In December 2007 Israel's Rafael announcedthat Germany was acquiring UTENING III
gation/targeting pods for its Eurofighters aspart of a deal worth the equivalent of $25 mil-
Aeronáutica Militare Italiana
Italy's first Eurofighter formation is 4° Stormoat Grosseto. including the 20" Gruppo (OCU)and 9° Gruppo (operational unit). The nextoperational unit will be the 12° Gruppo of 36"Stonno at Gioia del Colle. Last summer theItalian Defence Ministry announced that the theItalian Air Force will use its Eurofighters only inthe air defence role, with the air-to-surface roleremaining assigned to the TORNADOS andAMXs until eventually replaced by the F-35JSF.
Ejercito del Aire
The Spanish Air Force received its first oper-ational C.16/0E.16 aircraft in May 2004 with Ala11 at Morón de la Frontera. These wereassigned to the operational conversion unit,Escuadrón 113 followed by the operationalEscuadrón
Next year they will be joined byEscuadrón 112 and it seems that Tranche 2 air-craft will be received by Ala 14 at Albacete(Escuadrón 141.142) from 2012.
The first Tranche 2 Eurofighter aircraft.Instrumented Production Aircraft Seven
taxiing in following its first flight atEADS Military Air Systems' Manching sitein January 2008.{Photo: Dietmar Fenners, EADS)Österreichische Luftstreitkräfte
The Air Surveillance Regiment/2nd Squadronat Graz-Thalerhof will receive its 15 Euro-fighters by the end of the year, and it is sched-uled to take over airspace surveillance respon-sibilities in mid-summer.
The Eurofighter was designed as an agile airsuperiority fighter with sub-sonic instabilityexceeding 35% and a planned service life of 25years (6,000 hours). The aircraft has an emptyweight of 11.15 tonnes and 70% of the surfacearea is built of carbon fibre composites aug-mented by glass reinforced fibre titanium, andaluminium-lithium alloys. This helps to produce
A line-up of EF2000S on the flight pan atthe Italian Air Force base at Grosseto, Italy.(Photo: Eurofighter GmbH)
a low signature and while this was a designobjective there has never been any intention toproduce a highly "stealthy" aircraft. It has how-ever been unofficially reported that the radarcross section is less than 1m' compared with
for RAFALE and 0,025m^ for the F-117.The fighter features active control technolo-gy with a fly-by-wire system designed by ateam led by EADS. The cun-ent flight controlsystem software, written in Ada augmented byAssembler, is Phase 3 which is the initial oper-ating capability programme.Designed as a single-seat aircraft the cockpitinstrumentation has been configured to reducepilot workload with high levels of system inte-gration and automation. There are HOTAS(Hands-On-Throttle -And-Stick). Head Up Dis-play which also accepts FUR (Forward-Loo-king Infra-Red) images, a helmet-mountedsight with tracking system, a direct voice inputsystem and three head-down multi-functiondisplays.The aircraft feature a structural health-and-usage monitoring system which calculatesstructural fatigue at 20 positions on the air-frame 16 times per second during flight- lt hasalso been designed with maintenance in mindwith operational turn-around by a six-personground crew in 25 minutes while an enginechange may be performed by four personnel in45 minutes.The Eurofighter TYPHOON is powered bytwo Eurojet EJ200 turbofans which produce60kN of power or 90kN with afterbuming. Thereis an internal fuel load of 4.5 tonnes (about5,700 litres) in the single-seat aircraft, slightlyless in two-seaters, and this can be augmentedby up to 5.000 litres externally with one centre-line and two underwing tanks (1,000 or 2,000litre) while a probe-and-drogue flight refuellingsystem is also provided. The plane has a max-imum level speed of Mach 2.0. a service ceilingof 16,765m (55,000ft) and at Mach 1,5 canreach 10,670m (35,000ft) in 150 seconds. Therunway requirement is up to 700m (300m in theair combat role) and in the interceptor role theEurofighter has a maximum take-off weight of16 tonnes while in the attack role this rises to21 tonnes with the potential for a further growthto 23.5 tonnes.The prime sensors of Eurofighter are theEuroradar CAPTOR (formerly European Colla-
Miliiacv Terrinolouv MII.TECH 7/2006

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