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Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000 - Development

Eurofighter first flew in Germany on 27 March 1994. Full carefree handling and a speed of Mach 2.0 was soon achieved as have air to air refuelling and weapons firings of Sidewinder and AMRAAM. Pilots described the aircraft as 'exhilarating' to fly.

The logistics part of the EFA development contracts was carefully studied to present the peculiarities of the EFA project in terms of logistics support concept, maintenance concept, and supply support concept. This analysis was essential to exactly identify what the participating nations could expect from industry, and what should be added to the logistics parts of the production contractual documents.

In common with other major European aerospace states, German aerospace was dependent on large scale military programs such as EFA to generate many of the advanced technology concepts that underpin its overall capabilities. Substantial weaknesses in German equipment and avionics capabilities remained, largely attributable to the lack of German-led programs and the dominance of British and French firms in the more technically advanced aspects of major collaborative programs. For example, in 1993 and 1994, when the Experimental Fighter Aircraft (EFA) development ran into problems, German inexperience with systems design and integration was blamed.

The aircraft would be four and a half years behind schedule as a result of political and technical delays, assuming the partners accepted delivery in mid-2003. The Eurofighter Partner Companies built seven Development Aircraft (DA) for the Main Development Phase. These initial test aircraft have now completed their development tasks and have been withdrawn from the test programme. Today, the test fleet comprises seven Instrumented Production Aicraft (IPA) and one Instrumented Series Production Aircraft (ISPA).

The first Development Aircraft, DA1, made its maiden flight from EADS’ Manching test facility, Germany, on 27 March 1994 and was decommissioned 21 December 2005. It is now on display in the Aviation branch of the Deutsches Museum in Oberschleissheim, Munich. DA5 made its first flight in February 1997. It contributed considerably to the Captor radar programme as well as carrying out a series of very successful test flights with the Captor Active Electronic Scanning Array Radar (CAESAR) before being withdrawn on 30 October 2007. IPA3 flew on 08 April 2002 and is used for test and evaluation of handling qualities. IPA7, the first Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoon, took off for its maiden flight on 16 January 2008 and is used for Tranche 2 enhancements.

The first British Development Aircraft, DA2, made its maiden flight at BAE Systems’ Warton site on 06 April 1994, and was retired 29 January 2007. It is to go on display at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon. The twin-seat DA4, the second BAE Systems Development Aircraft, first flew in March 1997 and was used extensively in the development of the avionics suite before being decommissioned on 13 December 2006. It is now used for training ground crew specialists for the Royal Air Force.

IPA1 began operations on 15 April 2002 and supports envelope expansion and carefree handling testing. IPA5 is being used for avionics testing since its first flight on 07 June 2004. ISPA1 (BT005 from the Royal Air Force inventory) first flew on 11 May 2004 and is used by the Combined Industry/Customer Test Team trialling the DASS and the helmet, as well as the integration of the Laser Designator Pod (LDP). IPA6 flew for the first time 01 November 2007. The aircraft is equipped with Tranche 2 avionics.

DA3, based in Italy at Alenia Aeronautica, made its maiden flight from Caselle, near Turin, in June 1995 and conducted many of the firing trials of the Mauser cannon before retiring at the end of 2006. Its future purpose has not yet been determined. DA7, first flight on 27 January 1997, was also a key player in armaments conducting many of the first missile-firing exercises before decommissioning on 30 September 2007. 05 April 2002 saw the first flight of IPA2. The aircraft continues to play a key role in communications, navigation and radar development as well as engine testing for the Tranche 2 standard EJ200.

EADS' two-seater DA6 made its first flight in Spain on 31 August 1996. It was lost 21 November 2002. First deliveries of the Eurofighter to the four partner nations were subsequently delayed by six months. In a statement released 05 December 2002, British Defence Minister Lewis Moonie said the decision to push back delivery of the fighter was the result of minor design problems and the slow pace of gathering performance and flight-safety data by industry ahead of the aircraft's acceptance into service.

IPA4, the first single-seat production aircraft, took off for its first flight on 27 February 2004 and was used for tests on the environmental system, communication systems and MIDS, as well as for weapons testing including Meteor trials. IPA 4 was the first single seat production aircraft to roll off the final assembly line. IPA 4 offered the highest standard of the hardware / software integration, which represented a technical and functional evolution of the weapon system. The aircraft also incorporates an enhance standard EJ200 engine that was tested in the air for the first time during the IPA 4 maiden flight.

In mid-1996, trials were started for the integration of a new radar system into the Eurofighter aircraft. The Captor radar, developed by the Euroradar consortium, was initially tested in a BAC1-11 host aircraft off the coast of the UK, before being integrated into the main test programme and installed in prototypes DA4 and DA5. Production standard Captor radars are being delivered to the Eurofighter Final assembly lines in German, Italy, Spain and the UK since 2003.

In 2007, a series of very successful test flights with the Captor Active Electronic Scanning Array Radar was conducted with DA5 in Germany. The Euroradar consortium had previously tested this antenna in ground rigs and flown it in a BAC 1-11 trials aircraft. Eurofighter GmbH and NETMA had agreed to use DA5 for this series of antenna test flights, using funding provided by the German Procurement Agency BWB through NETMA. The new antenna emphasises and demonstrates the policy of continuous capability enhancement in the Eurofighter programme, and production embodiment of this feature could be available for Tranche 3 or as a retrofit in Tranche 2 aircraft.

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Page last modified: 16-05-2013 18:40:58 ZULU