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Eurofighter continued success in flight test program

04 Apr 2002

Eurofighter DA4, the twin-seat development aircraft based at BAE Systems Warton, has just achieved a series of successes in a single flight.

The aircraft recently returned to the skies, following a series of electro-magnetic compatibility tests and a double engine change, and achieved three major successes in one sortie. These were: the longest ever Eurofighter flight - four hours and 22 minutes; the first ever air-to-air refuelling by a Eurofighter with external tanks; and the first night air-to-air refuelling of a Eurofighter.

DA4 took off from BAE Systems Warton and met with a VC-10 Tanker, crewed by Boscombe Down test aircrew, over the Irish Sea, where the refuelling took place.

Pete Travis, Flight Development Integrated Product Team Leader at BAE Systems, said: 'This flight was a hugely important part of the flight test programme and to achieve the longest flight and both refuelling firsts is a tremendous achievement. The sortie was also important in the fact that it was a pre-requisite flight for another major milestone in the flight test programme - the live AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) firing which will take place later this month in the Hebrides.'

Eurofighter Test Pilot, Craig Penrice who piloted DA4 during the flight, with customer representative Flight Lt Will Jonas in the rear, added: 'The flight went extremely smoothly and the air-to-air refuelling, which can be very tricky during daylight, never mind in darkness, went without a hitch. To be in the cockpit for over four hours usually takes its toll, but this aircraft is so pilot-friendly that missions of this length are not a problem.'
About Eurofighter Typhoon:

The Eurofighter Typhoon is the world's most advanced swing-role combat aircraft, developed by the leading aerospace companies, BAE Systems, EADS Deutschland, Alenia Aerospazio, and EADS Spain, of the four partner countries, the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Eurofighter Typhoon features unrivalled technology, designed for the defence needs across the next forty years.

Agile, stealthy, twin-engined and designed to operate from hastily prepared bases and small runways and for worldwide operations, it is equipped with advanced multi-mode, pulse-Doppler Radar and an extensive range of sensors and electronic countermeasures.

The aircraft's ability to gain air superiority Beyond Visual Range (BVR) and in close combat, and at the same time deliver high sortie rates against naval and ground targets in all weathers with a variety of weapons, demands close attention to pilot workload. In Eurofighter, the pilot flies through use of a computerised flight control system, which offers full carefree handling.

A strong emphasis has been placed on reducing cost of ownership in addition to outstanding performance and flight safety. Reliability, low cost of maintenance and a sophisticated on-board testing system ensure ease of day to day management and through life costs that make the Eurofighter Typhoon less expensive to run than the generation of aircraft it is designed to replace.

The Eurofighter partner nations will take delivery of 620 aircraft: 232 for the UK, 180 for Germany, 121 for Italy and 87 for Spain.

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