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The Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000.Europe’s superfighter

22 Apr
2012

The Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000.Europe's superfighter,plastic scale model airplanes

Steve Davies overviews Typhoon’s inception, its development, and its entry into service with the four partner nations of the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy. He concludes with a breakdown of the jet’s various ‘Tranches’ and ‘Blocks’.

At the 1982 Farnborough International Air Show, the UK government announced that it would contribute financially to the the private development by British Aerospace (BAe) of an experimental aircraft technology demonstrator. A contract for the demonstrator was signed in May 1983, with the cost being shared between the UK Ministry of Defence, British Aerospace, Aeritalia and partner equipment companies in the United Kingdom, Italy and West Germany. 

Right: A No. 3 Sqn Typhoon F. Mk 2 rests on the ramp at RAF Leuchars. No. 3 Sqn is the RAF’s first operational Typhoon squadron and is tasked with operating this capable swing-role fighter in an offensive support capacity that involves a range of air-to-air and air-to-ground mission types. The RAF’s newest operator, No. 11 Sqn, operates the aircraft in a pure air defence capacity. (Paul E. Eden).

Top: The Aeronautica Militare Italiana formed its first operational Typhoon squadron at Grosseto in January 2006. The AMI was first to use the aircraft operationally as part of an air defence structure protecting such events as the Genoa G8 summit, the burial ceremony for Pope John Paul II and the coming into seat of Pope Benedictus XVI. (all Eurofighter unless otherwise credited)

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The Experimental Aircraft Programme (EAP) was born.

EAP was the forerunner to what would eventually become known as the Eurofighter Typhoon/EF2000, and its primary purpose was to take the very latest aerospace technologies, previously partially developed in isolation, and to combine them to help define the European Fighter Aircraft (EFA). EFA was a 4th generation jet fighter that would replace front-line fast jets (Tornado, F-4, F-104 and Jaguar) equipping the air forces of the UK, West Germany and Italy. EAP’s technologies included carbon fibre composites, a co-bonded wing, and an advanced cockpit with all the data required by the pilot shown on multifunction colour displays.

EAP was spawned by BAe’s private venture into what it called the Agile Combat Aircraft, itself driven by the 1970s’

Right: The low-weight and high-thrust of Eurofighter makes afterburner take-offs unnecessary, although a number of factors are involved in deciding whether to use ‘augmentation’.

requirements of the UK and West German governments for new a fighter. Between 1979 and 1984 the UK, West Germany, France, Italy and Spain tried repeatedly to work cooperatively to develop a common fighter, but France eventually left the partnership to pursue its own ACX programme (which matured as the Dassault Rafael).

The sole EAP, ZF534, first flew in August 1986 and over the course of the next 5-years would prove pivotal in allowing the key concepts, technologies and attributes of the EFA to be validated. In 1985 the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain had signed up to the EFA programme, with initial requirements of 250, 250, 165, and 100 aircraft, respectively.

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DPAs and IPAs

The Ejercito del Aire Espanol’s Ala (Wing) 11 is currently the only Spanish Typhoon operator. It is based at Moron Air Base and took delivery of its first aircraft in October 2003.

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March 1994 saw the first ever flight of EFA (Development Aircraft 1 – or, DA1 for short), by that time known simply as EF2000. EF2000 featured a cranked delta wing and foreplane (or, canard, although Eurofighter calls these surfaces fore-planes) configuration which was inherently aerodynamically unstable, and therefore lent itself well to superb manoeuvrability. Overall, it bore a strong resemblance to EAP, although the vertical stabiliser was redesigned and the square intake cheek boxes had been sculpted to form a ‘smile’. Weighing in at 24,250 lb (11000 kg) empty, and 51,809 lb (23501 kg) at maximum take-off weight, EF2000 was very light for its size (the F-15C Eagle’s maximum take-off weight is 68,000 lb/30845 kg, for example).

Despite overcoming major hurdles in the years prior to its first flight – agreement on the selection of the ECR-90 radar had proved particularly challenging, and in 1992 the German government tried without success to leave the programme altogether – arguments over the EFA’s specifications and workshare continued well into the decade.

Between 1994 and 1997 a further six DAs were built and flown by the partner nations, with these aircraft each being used to undertake critical aspects of the flight test programme. These were followed between 2002 and 2004 by five Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPAs), all twin-seat models, whose role in the overall development programme is to test and prove the production capabilities of both avionics systems and software.

When the final production contract was signed in 1997, the revised procurement totals were 232 for the UK, 180 for Germany, 121 for Italy, and 87 for Spain.

Eurofighter Typhoon, the official name given to the jet, is characterised by BAE Systems as ‘a highly agile air superiority and air-to-surface, multi-role weapon system’. In excelling as a ‘swing-role’ fighter, the Typhoon benefits from superb performance as a result of its low wing loading and high thrust-to-weight ratio; stealthy design technology that reduces its frontal radar cross section, and reliance on passive sensors; a supercruise capability that allows it to easily cruise above the speed of sound without having to use afterburners; a sophisticated array of attack sensors and weapons with which to reach out and kill the enemy; and a strong airframe built from carbon fibre composites, lightweight alloys, titanium and glass reinforced plastics. Add to this an intelligent fly-by-wire flight control system that gives the pilot care-free handling across the flight envelope, and you have all the right ingredients to make Typhoon one of the most lethal jet fighters out there.

Royal Air Force Typhoons

The Royal Air Force received its first aircraft in June 2002, following which No. 17 (Reserve) Squadron converted to type in 2003. It was followed by No. 29 Squadron, and then No. 3(F) Squadron. The initial batch of two-seat aircraft are designated as Typhoon T. Mk 1 machines, while the single-seater is the

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Three No. 3 Sqn F. Mk 2s and a single No. 29 Sqn F. Mk 2 enter the break over Coningsby’s runway. The standard load for Tranche 1, Block 1 F. Mk 2s is twin ASRAAM training rounds and a single centreline fuel tank. The RAF put up its first multi-aircraft Typhoon formation – a ‘diamond nine’, including the aircraft shown here – in November 2006.

Typhoon F. Mk 2. It is expected that the RAF will operate a total of 137 Typhoons, keeping 95 others in reserve as attrition replacements.

Under an agreement known as Case White, No. 17(R) Sqn was initially based at Warton airfield – where the Typhoon is assembled by BAE – in a bid to make its entry into service that much smoother. No. 17(R) Sqn is the Typhoon Operational Evaluation Unit, and as such is responsible for evaluating Typhoon’s capabilities and defining standard tactics for its employment. No. 29 Sqn, which also operated from Warton under Case White, is the Operational Conversion Unit that teaches new pilots how to fly the jet and operate its weapons systems. Both Nos 17(R) and 29 Squadrons remained on site at Warton until 2005, when they moved to their permanent residence, RAF Coningsby.

In May 2004 No. 3(F) Sqn became the first front-line Typhoon squadron, also based at Coningsby. Come October, 2006, No. 11 Squadron had formed at Coningsby, becoming not only the second operational Typhoon squadron, but also the first to be dedicated exclusively to air-to-air duties.

Typhoon will replace the RAF’s Tornado F. Mk 3 air-defence, and Jaguar ground-attack fighters. Using its swing-role capabilities, the RAF has defined three key roles for the aircraft: Counter-Air (CA), also known as Air Defence; Air Interdiction (AI), which consists of low-and medium-altitude attacks using precision-guided, freefall, or retarded bombs; and Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD), whereby Typhoon engages enemy air defence systems such as surface-to-air missile radars with the Air-Launched Anti-Radiation Missile (ALARM). Tertiary roles include close air support (CAS) of troops on the ground, and maritime attack. According to the RAF, typical loadouts:

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The Typhoon has been optimised to offer a reduced radar cross section from frontal aspects, but it otherwise lacks the all-round stealthy design that is the hallmark of the F-22A Raptor and appears to have no infra-red signature reduction devices.

Air Interdiction: 2 x Storm Shadow, 2 x ALARM, 4 x AMRAAM, 2 x ASRAAM, 2 x 1,500-litre (330-Imp gal) fuel tank, 1 x 1,000-litre (220-Imp gal) fuel tank

Close Air Support: 18 x Brimstone, 4 x

AMRAAM, 2 x ASRAAM, 1 x 1,000-litre fuel tank

SEAD: 6 x ALARM, 4 x AMRAAM, 2 x ASRAAM, 1 x 1,000-litre fuel tank

Maritime Attack: 4 x Penguin, 4 x AMRAAM, 2 x ASRAAM, 2 x 1,500-litre fuel tank, 1 x 1,000-litre fuel tank

The RAF announced controversially in 2001 that its Typhoons would be delivered with the 27mm Mauser canon deleted, but this decision was reversed when it became clear that the resultant changes in mass and centre of gravity would require costly reprogramming of the jet’s flight control computers. Instead, the RAF insisted, the canon would remain but there would be no investment in ammunition for it. Then, in October 2006, the RAF finally relinquished to pressure from within the ranks, and announced that its Typhoons would, after all, make full use of the cannon.

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European Typhoons

By the summer of 2006, the four Air Forces of Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom had flown over 9,600 hours in the Typhoon, and 84 aircraft had been delivered to the four nations. In addition to Germany’s 23 aircraft, Italy had received 16, Spain was operating 14, and the United Kingdom had 31 jets on strength.

The Luftwaffe received its first Eurofighter in August 2002, prompting conversion from the MiG-29 by Rostock-Laage based Jagdgeschwader 73 in April, 2003. In July 2006, Jadgdeschwader 74 was also equipped with the jet, forming Germany’s first operational squadron, located at Neuburg Air Base. German Typhoons are delivered by EADS at Manching and known as EF2000s in service.

Jagdgeschwader 74 is focused on operational and tactical flying, whereas JG 73′s responsibilities include both operational flying and the conversion training of Luftwaffe pilots. The Luftwaffe has already accumulated over 2,000 flying hours on EF2000.

Germany intends to operate 135 EF2000s in the air defence role. These have already replaced the small fleet of MiG-29s inherited with the reunification of Germany in 1989 and will also replace

Left: An Italian air force Typhoon engages both afterburners for a sporty take-off from Grosseto AB. Even with full internal fuel and a full load of missiles, the time from brake release to lift-off using afterburner is less than 8 seconds.

Below: Although rapidly gaining a reputation as ‘a pilot’s aircraft’ on account of its excellent man-machine cockpit interface and care-free flight controls, the Typhoon is also an order of magnitude easier for engineers to maintain.

Germany’s F-4F Phantoms; 40 other EF2000s will assume multirole operations, replacing older Tornado IDS and ECR attack aircraft that are slated for retirement beginning in 2012. The remaining Luftwaffe squadrons set to receive the jet are Jagdbombergeschwader 31 at Norvenich AB, JBG 33 at Buchel AB, and JBG 71 at Wittmund AB.

The Aeronautica Militare Italiana (Italian air force) formed its first operational Typhoon squadron at Grosseto Air

The Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000.Europe's superfighter,scale rc plane

Large leading-edge slats improve manoeuvrability at low-speeds and high angles of attack. These are scheduled automatically by the Typhoon’s flight control computers, which also provide the pilot with two automatic recovery modes at the push of a button on the stick.

Sporting a weapon load representative of a Block 5, Tranche 1 Typhoon, this Luftwaffe example totes the Iris-T IR air-to-air missile on its outboard wing pylons, AiM-120 AMRAAM missiles on its wing and fuselage stations, and two 1,500-litre fuel tanks.

The Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000.Europe's superfighter,boeing 747 model

Base in January 2006, and is expected to take delivery of 121 Typhoons from Alenia. 4° Stormo received its first aircraft in early 2004, and once its two squadrons are fully equipped, 26° Stormo is expected to follow suit.

The Ejercito del Aire Espanol’s (Spanish air force’s) Ala (Wing) 11 took delivery of its first Eurofighter at Moron Air Base in

October 2003, but has yet to declare an operational squadron. It is believed that 111 Escuadron will become operational sometime in 2007. Spain designates the Typhoon as the C.16 and C. E.16 for the two-seater. It also holds the dubious distinction of being the only nation to have so far lost a Typhoon, although the 21 November 2002 loss of DA6 was something that neither pilot could have avoided. DA6 was the only aircraft in the fleet still fitted with development EJ200 engines, and when a surge caused both motors to flame out at 45,000 ft (13716 m), repeated efforts by the crew to relight them failed. Both men ejected successfully.

Export Eurofighters

The Austrian air force was the Typhoon’s first export customer. Its 18 Eurofighters will replace the recently-retired Saab 35 Draken. Austria is expected to receive its first Eurofighters later this year, and its pilots are being trained at Rostock-Laage in Germany by JG 73. Austria’s F-5E Tiger IIs will continue to provide its air defence until the arrival of the Eurofighter. The first two Austrian jets are currently being manufactured.

Saudi Arabia has confirmed an order for 48 Eurofighter Typhoons (with an option of increasing that to 72), but there are currently no details available on a delivery time line. However, there is some speculation that Typhoons slated for delivery to the RAF will be diverted to Saudi Arabia in order to expedite introduction to service of the type with the Royal Saudi Air Force.

Tranche 1

The Typhoon has entered service using a phased, building-block approach defined by three distinct ‘Tranches’. Certain systems and capabilities are thus installed gradually, helping to spread out programme costs over time. In addition, each Tranche features several ‘Blocks’ of aircraft, and each new Block features significant improvements. As such, a Tranche 1, Block 1 Eurofighter will be less capable than a Tranche 1, Block 5 jet. However, as new Blocks roll-off the production line, older Blocks will eventually

Right: Austrian dignitaries and the country’s first three pilots pose in front of the first Eurofighter being built to fulfil its order for 18 examples. Austrian pilots will visit Rostock-Laage AB to undergo conversion to type under the Luftwaffe’s JG 73 conversion unit.

Below: In spring 2006 the Eurofighter consortium began developing and testing the aircraft’s air-to-ground capabilities with a view to incorporating laser guided bomb compatibility in Block 5 jets.

The Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000.Europe's superfighter,wood model aircraft

be retrofitted to meet the same standard.

Block 1 aircraft have the CAPTOR radar but do not have the DASS (defensive aids sub-system). In addition, they have only basic armament abilities, with limited AIM-9L and AIM-132A ASRAAM employment capabilities to supplement the BK27 gun. These aircraft are designated T. Mk 1 and F. Mk 2 by the RAF.

Block 2 sees the introduction of full software to employ the gun and AIM-9/ AIM-132A missiles. It also adds Direct Voice Input to the cockpit; a data link system; a basic version of the DASS (with radar warning sensors and chaff/flare dispensers); plus some basic electronic countermeasures capabilities. These are designated T. Mk 1A by the RAF.

Block 5 confers full air-to-air capabilities and some ‘austere’ air-to-ground capabilities. A version of the Iris-T and the AIM-120B AMRAAM will be available to Block 5 jets. A missile approach warning system will equip all Block 5 aircraft, with RAF aircraft also benefiting from a laser warning system. GBU-10 and GBU-16 Paveway II laser-guided bombs will be integrated, as should be the Rafael Litening III and Litening II target pods selected thus far by Britain and Germany, respectively. Full sensor fusion in the avionics suite, full Direct Voice Input, and full air-to-surface carefree handling complete the Block 5 changes.

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All Tranche 1 jets but those for Germany, will receive the PIRATE IRST sensor, and every jet will be equipped with a complete version of the DASS.

Tranches 2 and 3

Tranche 2 Block 8 jets will feature all of the Block 10 hardware, albeit initially supporting only limited capabilities. Block 10 will get the AIM-120C-5, a digital Iris-T, GBU-24 Paveway III bombs, an enhanced digital map, embedded GPS navigation, and an enhanced DASS.

Block 15 assumes that the MBDA BVRAAM Meteor advanced air-to-air missile will be ready for integration, and will introduce Taurus and Storm Shadow air-to-ground cruise missiles. Similarly, compatibility with Paveway IV and GBU-31/32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions is likely. Delivery of Block 15 jets is expected to be complete by 2015.

Tranche 3 is as-yet-undefined, but should include the CAPTOR-E advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

Steve Davies

Eurofighter Typhoon drawings by David Howley

The Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000.Europe's superfighter,aviation model

Eurofighter EF2000/Typhoon DA5 98+30, 1998

German development aircraft, used for radar and weapons integration. Painted with a dark and light grey disruptive pattern; possibly equivalent to Medium Sea Grey over Camouflage Grey.

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Eurofighter EF2000 DA6 XC. E.16-01

This Spanish development aircraft was used for the integration of two-seater systems, avionics, MIDS and HMS.

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Eurofighter Typhoon T. Mk 1 ZJ800/BC, flown by Flt Lts J. McMeeking and A. Leverson, No. 29 Sqn, RAF Coningsby, 12 October 2006

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Eurofighter Typhoon F. Mk 2 ZJ911/BZ flown by Wg Cdr A. J. Mackay, No. 29 Sqn, RAF Coningsby, 26 September 2006

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Eurofighter Typhoon Kit, Decal and Accessory List

The Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000.Europe's superfighter,scale rc airplane kits

Kits

Scale

Manufacturer

Subject

Status

1:100

Revell

Eurofighter Typhoon (easykit which appears to depict EFA rather than Typhoon

Available

1:72

Italeri

EF-2000 Eurofighter Twin Seater

Available

1:72

Revell

Eurofighter Typhoon single-seater

Future release

1:72

Revell

Eurofighter Typhoon twin-seater

Available

1:48

Revell

Eurofighter Typhoon single-seater

Available

Decals

Scale

Manufacturer

Reference

Sheet title/contents

Status

1:72

Model Alliance

MA-72137

UK Air Arm Update 2005-2006 – Part 1: includes Typhoon F. Mk 2 ZJ918/QO-L, No. 3(F) Sqn, RAF Coningsby 2006

Available

1:72

Model Alliance

MA-729003

RAF Eurofighter Typhoon T1: incudes ZJ802, No. 17(F) Sqn and ZJ822, No. 29(R) Sqn

Available

1:48

Model Alliance

MA-48137

As MA-72137

Available

1:48

Model Alliance

MA-489003

As MA-729003

Available

Accessories

Scale

Manufacturer

Reference

Description

Status

1:72

Eduard

CX104

Mask set for Revell two-seater kit

Available

1:72

Eduard

SS154

Photo-etched set for Italeri single-seater kit

Available

1:48

Eduard

48353

Photo-etched set for Italeri two-seater kit

Available

1:48

Eduard

48376

Photo-etched set for Italeri single-seater kit

Available

1:48

Eduard

49341

Colour photo-etched set for Italeri single-seater kit

Available

1:48

Eduard

49367

Colour photo-etched set for Revell single-seater kit

Available

1:48

Eduard

FE341

Colour photo-etched set for Italeri single-seater kit

Available

1:48

Eduard

FE367

Colour photo-etched set for Revell single-seater kit

Available

1:48

Eduard

EX150

Mask set for Italeri single-seater kit

Available

1:48

Eduard

EX191

Mask set for Revell single-seater kit

Available

1:48

Eduard

XF093

Mask set for Italeri two-seater kit

Available

1:48

Eduard

XF144

Mask set for Italeri single-seater kit

Available

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