Eurofighter Typhoon

Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine multi-role canard-delta strike fighter aircraft. It was designed and is built by a consortium of European aerospace manufacturers through Eurofighter GmbH, formed in 1986. As early as 1979, studies began into what would become the Eurofighter Typhoon.


Development & History

The United Kingdom had identified a requirement for a new fighter as early as 1971. A specification, AST 403, issued by the Air Staff in 1972, resulted in a conventional "tailed" design known as P.96, which was presented in the late 1970s. By 1979 the West German requirement for a new fighter had led to the development of the TFK-90 concept. This was a cranked Delta Wing design with forward canard controls and artificial stability. Although the engineers and designers at British Aerospace rejected some of its advanced features such as vectoring engine nozzles and vented trailing-edge controls, they agreed with the overall configuration.

Production Problems

The first production contract was signed on 30 January 1998 between Eurofighter GmbH, Eurojet and NETMA. The 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%).

On 2 September 1998 a naming ceremony was held at Farnborough, England. This saw the Typhoon name formally adopted, however initially for export aircraft only. This was reportedly resisted by Germany; The Hawker Typhoon was a fighter-bomber aircraft which served with the RAF during the Second World War against German targets. In September 1998 contracts were signed for production of 148 Tranche 1 aircraft and procurement of long lead-time items for Tranche 2 aircraft.

Costs increases

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. The UK's commitment to its 88 Tranche 3 aircraft has been questioned.



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 sometime earlier, all partners had signed binding commitments to the project and found themselves unable to withdraw.

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. The UK cut its orders from 250 to 232, Germany from 250 to 180, 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 of 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. The workshare split is now 43% for EADS MAS in Germany and Spain; 37.5% BAE Systems in the UK; and 19.5% for Alenia in Italy.

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 the UK 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.


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. The RAF Typhoon T1 has now been returned to service.


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 aircraft.

* Alenia Aeronautica – Left wing, outboard flaperons, rear fuselage sections
* BAE Systems – Front fuselage (including foreplanes), canopy, dorsal spine, tail fin, inboard flaperons, rear fuselage section
* EADS Deutschland – Main centre fuselage
* EADS CASA – Right wing, leading edge slats

Production is divided into three "tranches" 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.


In 1999, the Greek government agreed to acquire 60 Typhoons in order to replace its existing second-generation combat aircraft. However, the purchase was put on hold due to budget 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 22 billion euro multi-year 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.

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. On June 26, 2007, Austrian Minister for Defense Norbert Darabos has announced a reduction to fifteen aircraft. On July 12, 2007, the first of 15 Eurofighters was delivered to Austria and formally entered service in the Austrian Air Force.

After unsuccessful campaigns in South Korea and Singapore, on 18 August 2006 it was announced that Saudi Arabia had agreed to purchase 72 Typhoons. In November and December it was reported that Saudi Arabia had threatened to buy French Rafales because of a UK Serious Fraud Office investigation into the Al Yamamah defence deals which commenced in the 1980s. However on 14 December 2006 it was announced that the Serious Fraud Office was "discontinuing" its investigation into BAE. It stated that representations to its Director and the Attorney General had lead to the conclusion that the wider public interest "to safeguard national and international security" outweighed any potential benefits of further investigation. The Times has raised the possibility that RAF production aircraft will be diverted as early Saudi Arabian aircraft, with the service forced to wait for its full complement of aircraft. This arrangement would mirror the diversion of RAF Tornados to the RSAF. However The Times has also reported that such an arrangement will make the UK purchase of its tranche 3 commitments less likely. On 17 September 2007 Saudi Arabia confirmed it had signed a GB£4.43 billion contract for 72 aircraft.

In March 2007, Jane's Information Group reported that the Typhoon was the favourite to win the contest for Japan's next-generation fighter requirement. Currently the other competitors are the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-15E Strike Eagle.

Other potential customers of the Typhoon are Bulgaria, India, Denmark, Norway, Pakistan, Japan, and Romania.


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.

The Tranche 1 aircraft were produced from 2000 onwards. Aircraft capabilities are being increased incrementally, with each software upgrade resulting in a different standard, known as blocks.[39] With the introduction of the Block 5 standard, the R2 retrofit programme began to bring all aircraft to that standard.[39]

Block 1
Block 2
Initial air-to-air capabilites.
Block 2B
Full air-to-air capabilites.
Block 5
Full Operational Capability (FOC) by combining existing air-to-air role with air-to-ground capabilities.


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: 23,000 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:
o At altitude: Mach 2
o At sea level: Mach 1.2 (1,470 km/h, 915 mph)
o Supercruise: Mach 1.2
* Range: 1390 km (864 mi)
* Ferry range: 3790 km (2,300 mi)
* Service ceiling: 19,812 m (65,000 ft)
* Rate of climb: >315 m/s (62,007 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 Armiger
* Bombs: Paveway 2, Paveway 3, Enhanced Paveway, JDAM, HOPE/HOSBO
* Laser designator, e.g. LITENING pod.

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