|Photo by Evert J. van Koningsveld.|
The first flight of the prototype Eurofighter Typhoon took place on March 27, 1994, when Messerchmitt-Bülkow-Blohm (MBB) chief test pilot Peter Weger took the prototype on a test flight around Bavaria. The basic configuration is reminiscent of the British Aerospace (BAe) EAP agile combat aircraft demonstrator, which flew back in August, 1986. In fact, the EAP was used to test many Eurofighter systems before final configuration of the latter plane was decided. (The relationship is similar to the F-17 and F/A-18, where the basic planform is the same but many design changes were made.)
The EuroFighter, formerly known as the EF2000, is built by a consortium made up of BAe (UK), MBB and Dornier (Germany), Aeritalia (Italy), and CASA (Spain). It was initially designed for air-superiority and air defense roles, but a changing world situation has also resulted in an emphasis on excellent air-to-surface capabilities as well.
The STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) aircraft has a fundamentally unstable aerodynamic design; while this requires computer assistance for stable flight, gives the Eurofighter superior agility. Two Eurojet EJ200 advanced technology turbofans each provide 20,250 pounds of afterburning thrust; with a maximum take-off weight of 37,480 pounds fully loaded, this means the Eurofighter has power to spare. Although it's not actually a stealth aircraft, careful shaping and use of composites and low-detectability technologies (the airframe surface is only 15 % metal) means the Eurofighter is extremely light and has a much smaller radar profile than 1980s-era fighters.
The fly-by-wire control system ensures the pilot can't stall or overstress the plane, and there's even a button that will automatically return the plane to a wing-level, nose-up attitude if the pilot becomes disoriented after a high-G maneuver. All important switches are mounted on the throttle or stick, giving the Eurofighter true HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick) control. Three panel-mounted MFDs are supplemented by a HUD and a helmet-mounted sight for aiming ASRAAM missiles.
Analysts generally agree that the only fighter with a demonstrable superiority to the Eurofighter is the American F-22, which costs twice as much and doesn't have the EF2000's air-to-surface capability.
The Eurofighter is the product of a consortium of British Aerospace, Deutsche Aerospace (Germany), Alenia (Italy), and CASA (Spain), with the United Kingdom and Germany providing technological leadership. Under full-scale development since 1988, the Eurofighter is a 46,000 lb, single-seat, twin-engine short takeoff and landing (STOL) multirole fighter, optimized for air superiority with both beyond-visual-range (BVR) missile capability and close-in combat agility, but also featuring air-to-ground capabilities. Computer simulations (focusing on BVR air-to-air combat) conducted by European contractors and government agencies suggest that the Eurofighter is superior to all U.S., Russian, and European fighters examined, with the exception of the F-22. While it is impossible to assess the validity of these findings, they do indicate that the developers of the Eurofighter are aiming for highly impressive capabilities.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine multi-role canard-delta strike fighter aircraft,
designed and built by a consortium of European aerospace manufacturers, Eurofighter GmbH, formed
The series production of the Eurofighter Typhoon is now underway and the aircraft has formally entered service with the Italian Air Force. 'Initial Operational Capability' is expected to be declared by Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom in 2006. Austria has purchased 18 Typhoons, while Saudi Arabia signed a contract on 18 August 2006 for 72 to be built by BAE Systems.
The Eurofighter is a canard equipped delta aircraft optimized for the air-superiority role but able to be used for ground attack. Extensive use of high technology materials has been made including carbon composites, glass reinforced plastics, titanium, and aluminum lithium, in 80% of the airframe. Like the Gripen and Rafale the EF2000 uses canards and a broad delta wing to get the best combination of agility, lift, and speed.
The cockpit environment is one of the most advanced in the world using digital fly-by wire and multi-function displays. Twin EJ2000 reheated turbofans provide for a powerful yet efficient propulsion system. Advanced armament makes the EF2000 a deadly adversary for any enemy.
|Specification and Dimensions Eurofighter Typhoon|
|Export||Greece (60); Austria (18); Saudi Arabia (72 - replacing the Tornado)|
|Engines||2× Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofans, 60 kN dry, 93 kN with afterburner.|
|Wing area||50.0 m2|
|Wing loading||311 kg/m²|
|Wing aspect ratio||2.205|
|Canard Area||2.4 m2|
|Tail Plane Area||N/A|
|Maximum speed||Mach 2.0+ (2390 km/h at high altitude)|
|Maximum speed at low altitude||Mach 1.2 (1470 km/h, 915 mph at sea level)|
|Supercruise speed||Mach 1.3+ at altitude with typical air-to-air armament|
|Minimum speed||203 km/h|
|Rate of climb||255 m/s|
|Service ceiling||18290 m (60,000 ft)|
|Time to 10600m/Mach 1.5||< 2,5 min|
|Runway length||500 m (take off under 8 seconds)|
|Basic mass empty||9750 kg (21,495 lb.)|
|Empty Weight||10995 kg|
|Max take-off mass||23500 kg|
|Max external stores||6500 kg (14,300 lb.)|
|Internal Fuel Weight||5000 kg|
|Maximum instantenous turn rate||Unknown|
|Maximum sustained turn rate||Unknown|
|Armament||1x 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon|
* S-225 long range (radar guided) * AIM 120 medium range (radar guided) * ASRAAM short range infra-red * AIM 9M short range infra-red * 27mm Mauser cannon
* AGM 65 Maverick * ALARM anti-radar missile * Sea Eagle anti-ship missile * Paveway laser guided bombs * CR-V7 unguided rockets * BL755 cluster bombs.v * Durandal, other free fall bombs.