Eurofighter Typhoon variants

Eurofighter Typhoon variants
Eurofighter Typhoon variants
Typhoon T1

The Eurofighter Typhoon is in service with five nations: United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria. The aircraft has also been ordered by Saudi Arabia, with the first aircraft already delivered. The aircraft has so far been provided in a basic form and most of the major systems including the CAPTOR radar and the Defence Aids Sub-System (DASS) are expected to be improved and updated over time. However BAE states that even these early aircraft will be much more capable than the Tornado F3 and that the development of the Typhoon will exceed the learning curve of pilots.[citation needed]


Development aircraft

Seven development aircraft (DA) were built with varying equipment fits and flight test roles.

DA1  Germany

DA1's main role was handling characteristics and engine performance.

DA1 was assembled in 1992 and first flew on 27 March 1994 with Luftwaffe serial 98+29. The military evaluation phase commenced in 1996. In 1997 after 123 flights, DA1's RB199 engines were replaced by EJ200s, it also was refitted with the Martin Baker Mk.16A ejector seat and a full avionics fit. Following these modifications it rejoined the flight test programme in 1999. Following the loss of DA6, DA1 was transferred to Spain to undertake the remaining development work including IRIS-T trials.[1]

The aircraft was retired on 21 December 2005, eleven years, eight months, and 24 days after its first flight.[2] It is on display at the Flugwerft Schleißheim (external site of the Deutsches Museum) near Munich, Germany.

DA2  United Kingdom

DA2 undertook envelope expansion, flight control assessment and load trials. The aircraft first flew on 6 April 1994 as ZH588. The flight control assessment included development of the Eurofighter's "carefree handling". On 23 December 1997 DA2 became the first Eurofighter to achieve Mach 2 and in January 1998 undertook refuelling trials with a RAF VC10. Like DA1, DA2 was upgraded in 1998 with new engines, ejector seat and avionics and rejoined the test programme in August. In 2000 the aircraft was covered with 490 pressure transducers; due to the fact that they were covered by black pads and had associated wiring the aircraft was painted in a gloss black scheme. The pressure transducers measured the effects of various weapons loads and external fuel tanks. In 2002 the aircraft undertook ASRAAM trials, completed carefree handling trials and commenced DASS decoy trials.[1]

Now retired and on display in the Milestones of Flight Gallery at the RAF Museum at Hendon.

DA3  Italy

Weapons systems development

DA4  United Kingdom

Radar and avionics development, now on display at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.

DA5  Germany

Radar and avionics development, being upgraded to Tranche 2 standard

DA6  Spain

Airframe development and handling. DA6 was lost in a crash in Spain in November 2002 after both engines failed.[3] EADS Germany's DA1 was transferred to EADS-CASA.[4]

DA7  Italy

Navigation, avionics and missile carriage

Instrumented production aircraft

The instrumented production aircraft (IPA) are five production standard aircraft fitted with telemetry instruments for dedicated flight testing and further systems development.

  • IPA1 (UK) – Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS)
  • IPA2 (Italy) – Air-to-surface weapons integration
  • IPA3 (Germany) – Air-to-air weapons integration
  • IPA4 (Spain) – Air-to-surface weapons integration and environmental development
  • IPA5 (UK) – Air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons integration
  • IPA6 (UK) – Converted Series Production Aircraft (BS031) – Tranche 2 Computer Systems.[5]
  • IPA7 (Germany) – Converted Series Production Aircraft (GS029) – Full Tranche 2 Standard.[5]

Series production aircraft

These are the operational and training aircraft. The Eurofighter is known as Typhoon in the United Kingdom and export markets and as EF-2000 in Germany, Italy and Spain. However all Italian aircraft carry the "Typhoon" logo on their tails.[4]

Tranche 1

The Tranche 1 aircraft were produced from 2003 onwards and featured the Typhoon's initial capabilities.

Block 1
Initial Operational Capability, Basic Air Defence Capability
Block 2
Air-to-air capabilities
Block 5
Air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities, Final Operational Capability (FOC) standard. All Tranche 1 aircraft are being upgraded to Block 5 capability through the R2 retrofit programme.[6]

Tranche 2

The Tranche 2 aircraft are produced

Block 8
New hardware standard with new mission computer
Block 10
EOC 1, improved DASS, IFF Mode 5, Rangeless ACMI
Air/Air: AIM-120C-5 AMRAAM, IRIS-T digital
Air/Ground: GBU-24, GPS-guided weapons, ALARM, Paveway III & IV, Rafael LITENING III
Block 15
EOC 2,
Air/Air: METEOR,
Air/Ground: TAURUS, Storm Shadow, Brimstone
Block 20

Italian Air Force aircraft

As of July 2006 the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana) had one EF-2000 wing, 4° Stormo (41st Wing), which received its first aircraft on 19 February 2004.[4] The 36° Stormo has received its first Typhoon on 1 October 2007.

Spanish Air Force aircraft

As of December 2006 the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire) has one squadron of aircraft. The first aircraft was delivered to Wing 11 in October 2003 at Moron airbase, Spain.[7] In Spanish service, the aircraft is designated the C.16 Typhoon.[8]

Luftwaffe aircraft

As of October 2006 Germany had two active EF-2000 fighter wings, Jagdgeschwader 73 and Jagdgeschwader 74. JG 73 began converting to the Eurofighter in April 2004.[9] JG 74 received its first aircraft on 25 June 2006.[10]

Royal Air Force aircraft

The Typhoon replaced the RAF's Tornado F3 (fighter) and Jaguar (ground attack) forces. They will equip five front-line squadrons, one front-line flight and two reserve squadrons, the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) and the Operational Evaluation Unit (OEU). These units will operate 82 Typhoons with the remaining 78 kept in reserve as attrition replacements and to share flight hours across the fleet.

Typhoon T1 and T1A

The Typhoon T1 is a Tranche 1, batch 1 two-seat trainer.

The first Typhoon T1 is one of the Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA1) and remains part of the BAE fleet. The aircraft's maiden flight was on April 15, 2002. The official in service date for the first RAF Typhoon T1, serial ZJ803, was June 30, 2003. Formal delivery occurred on December 18 at which point 17 Sqn began a full flying programme.

The first squadrons, No. 17 OEU and No. 29 OCU Sqns, moved to RAF Coningsby in 2005 to begin establishing an initial operational capability (IOC).

Typhoon T1A is a Tranche 1, batch 2 two-seat trainer. There would not normally be a different designation for a different aircraft batch, however the Batch 2 aircraft have a fuel system modification to fix a fuel gauge problem identified in the development aircraft fleet.[11]

Typhoon F2

The F2 is the single seat fighter variant. The first F2 is IPA5 and also remains with BAE, its first flight was June 6, 2002.

The first operational squadron, No. 3, formed at RAF Cottesmore on March 31, 2006 and moved to its new base RAF Coningsby the following day.[12] No. 11 squadron, the second operational squadron received its first aircraft (ZJ931) on October 9, 2006.[13]

The UK agreed to approve production of "Tranche 2" in December 2004, this tranche will see the RAF receive a further 89 aircraft, bringing its Typhoon inventory to 144. This followed protracted negotiations regarding the early introduction of ground attack capabilities of the aircraft and hence its swing-role capability. While this was always planned it was intended to come at a much later date.

In 2001, it was announced that the Royal Air Force (RAF) would not use the aircraft's internal 27 mm Mauser cannon. This was due to a desire to save money by removing gun support costs, ammunition stocks, training costs, etc. The gun was also deemed unnecessary since the missile armament was believed to be adequate in the Typhoon's fighter role. However, because removal of the cannon would affect the aircraft's flight characteristics, requiring modification of the aircraft's flight software the RAF decided that all of its Typhoons would be fitted with the cannon but that it would not be used or supported. The service argued that this would save money by reducing the requirement for ground equipment, removing training costs and avoiding the fatigue effects of firing the cannon. The RAF maintained the option to activate the cannons at very short notice were operational requirements to change.[14] However in a third change of policy, the Daily Telegraph reported on 3 October 2006 that the RAF will fully utilise the cannon.[15]

Typhoon T3

Two-seat Block 5 or later aircraft (built or upgraded from T1) are known as Typhoon T3s.[16][17]

Typhoon FGR4

Single-seat Block 5 or later aircraft (built or upgraded from F2) are known as Typhoon FGR4s.[16][17] The new mark number represents the increased capabilities of the Block 5 aircraft (fighter/ground attack/reconnaissance). The FGR4 has from June 2008 achieved the required standard for multi-role operations.[18]

Proposed versions

Navalised Eurofighter

Originally proposed in the late 1990s as a potential solution to the UK Royal Navy's need for a Future Carrier-Borne Aircraft (FCBA) for its new ('Queen Elizabeth' class) aircraft carriers,[19][20][21] In January 2001, the UK Ministry of Defence formally discounted the option of a Navalised Eurofighter for its new aircraft carriers, in favour of the STOVL ('B') variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which (at that time) promised to be a capable, low cost and more stealthy aircraft that would enter into service circa 2012 – a date that tied in well with the in-service date for the new UK aircraft Carriers as it stood at that time. It was rejected by the United Kingdom on "cost effectiveness grounds".[22]

The UK's October 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review ("SDSR") announced that due to timescale, cost and performance issues with the STOVL variant of F-35 (F-35B), the UK would proceed with the CATOBAR F-35C variant instead. This will require the UK's Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers (which are already in build) to be retrofitted with electromagnetic aircraft launch catapults. This, combined with the escalating costs and timescales[23] of the F-35 programme, has led to renewed calls[24] for the UK to cancel its involvement in the F-35 programme, and "navalise" the final Eurofighter production tranche (which it is already committed to buy) for operation from the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.[25] Despite this, as of 2011, the navalised Eurofighter remains only a proposal;[26][27] but there has been some interest expressed by other nations, such as India, in adapting Eurofighter for aircraft carrier operations.[28]

The proposed variant design would enable the Eurofighter to operate from carriers on a Short Take-Off but Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) basis, using a 'ski jump' ramp for aircraft launch and arresting gear for conventional landing.[20]

In February 2011, BAE debuted a navalised Typhoon in response to the Indian tender. The model offered is STOBAR (Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery) capable, corresponding to the Indian Navy's future Vikrant class aircraft carrier. The changes needed to enable the Typhoon to launch by ski-jump and recover by arrestor hook added about 500 kg to the airframe. If however the Indian Navy pursues a catapult launch carrier, the Typhoon is uncompetitive against tender rivals (e.g. Rafale and Super Hornet) since meeting "... catapult requirements would add too much weight to the aircraft, blunt performance and add substantially to modification costs". [29]

See also

Related development


  1. ^ a b Eurofighter. Key Publishing "on behalf of Eurofighter GmbH". 2003. 
  2. ^ "Eurofighter Review" (PDF). Eurofighter GmbH. Issue 1. pp. 5. Archived from the original on 2006-11-11. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  3. ^ "Eurofighter crashes in Spain". BBC News. 2002-11-21. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  4. ^ a b c Warnes, Alan; Petersen, Stefan (May 2005). "Eurofighters Are Go!". Air Forces Monthly (Key Publishing): pp. 42–51. 
  5. ^ a b "Eurofighter Review" (PDF). Eurofighter GmbH. Issue 2. pp. 12. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  6. ^ Major Retrofit For Early Eurofighter Typhoon Aircraft Begins., 15/11/2006
  7. ^ "Eurofighter Squadron Designation in Spain". 2003-10-16. Archived from the original on 2006-11-11. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  8. ^ Spanish Air Force website (es)
  9. ^ "Eurofighter Flies Home". (Eurofighter GmbH). 2004-04-30. Archived from the original on 2006-11-11. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  10. ^ "Second German Air Force Wing Takes Eurofighter Typhoon — Seventh Eurofighter unit in Operation". (Eurofighter GmbH). 2006-06-24. Archived from the original on 2006-11-11. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  11. ^ Lake, Jon (May 2004). "RAF Typhoon Progress". Air Forces Monthly (Key Publishing): p. 22. 
  12. ^ "Formation of first operational Typhoon squadron ushers in new era for the RAF". (Royal Air Force). 2006-03-31. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  13. ^ "100th Typhoon arrives at RAF Coningsby". (Royal Air Force). 2006-10-09. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  14. ^ Sir Jock Stirrup (2004) "Examination of Witnesses" House of Commons Defence Committee, Minutes of Evidence
  15. ^ Tweedie, Neil (2006-10-03). "Typhoon wins gun dogfight". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2006-10-03. 
  16. ^ a b New designation for RAF Typhoon
  17. ^ a b "Mark Four Typhoon". Air Forces Monthly (Key Publishing): p. 7. January 2008. 
  18. ^ AirForcesMonthly.August2008.p9
  19. ^ Eurofighter Typhoon
  20. ^ a b Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF)
  21. ^ Queen Elizabeth Class (CVF), Royal Navy Future Aircraft Carrier, United Kingdom
  22. ^ Future Carrier and Joint Combat Aircraft Programmes, Further Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence, September 2005.
  23. ^ Joint Strike Fighter, Pentagon Defense Acquisition Board Program, 22 November 2010.
  24. ^ The United Kingdom's SDSR Defence Review – identifying real options for change, Defense Procurement News, July 22, 2010.
  25. ^ Defence boss quits in protest at 'laughing stock' carriers' The Scotsman, 9 November 2010.
  26. ^ BAE Systems plays down reports of navalised Eurofighter; Jane's, 2007
  27. ^ 'The United Kingdom’s SDSR Defence Review – identifying real options for change', article published in DEFENSE PROCUREMENT NEWS, July 22, 2010 (LINK)
  28. ^ Indian Navy keen to buy newer generation aircraft (Updated), December 2009.
  29. ^ "BAE Displays Model of Navalized Typhoon for India" Defense News, 9 February 2011. Retrieved: 20 February 2011.

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