The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed and is manufactured by a consortium of three companies; Alenia Aermacchi, Airbus Group and BAE Systems, who conduct the majority of affairs dealing with the project through a joint holding company, Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, which was formed in 1986. The project is managed by the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency, which also acts as the prime customer.
Development of the aircraft effectively began in 1983 with the Future European Fighter Aircraft programme, a multinational collaborative effort between the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Because of disagreements over design authority and operational requirements, France left the consortium to develop the Dassault Rafale independently instead. A technology demonstration aircraft, the British Aerospace EAP
, first took flight on 6 August 1986; the first prototype of the finalised Eurofighter made its first flight on 27 March 1994. The name of the aircraft, Typhoon, was formally adopted in September 1998; the first production contracts were signed that same year.
Political issues in the partner nations significantly protracted the Typhoon's development; the sudden end of the Cold War reduced European demand for fighter aircraft, and there was debate over the cost and work share of the Eurofighter. The Typhoon was introduced into operational service in 2003. Currently, the type has entered service with the Austrian Air Force, the Italian Air Force, the German Air Force, the Royal Air Force, the Spanish Air Force, and the Royal Saudi Air Force. The Royal Air Force of Oman has also been confirmed as an export customer, bringing the procurement total to 571 aircraft as of 2013.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed to be an effective dogfighter when in combat with other aircraft; later production aircraft have been increasingly better equipped to undertake air-to-surface strike missions and to be compatible with a likewise increasing number of different armaments and equipment. The Typhoon saw its combat debut during the 2011 military intervention in Libya with the Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force, performing aerial reconnaissance and ground strike missions. The type has also taken primary responsibility for air-defence duties for the majority of customer nations.Royal Air Force
On 9 August 2007, the UK's Ministry of Defence reported that No. 11 Squadron RAF of the RAF, which stood up as a Typhoon squadron on 29 March 2007, had taken delivery of its first two multi-role Typhoons. Two of 11 Squadron's Typhoons were sent to intercept a Russian Tupolev Tu-95 approaching British airspace on 17 August 2007. The RAF Typhoons were declared combat ready in the air-to-ground role by 1 July 2008. The RAF Typhoons were projected to be ready to deploy for operations by mid-2008.
Around 25 April 2008 a Typhoon from 17 Squadron at RAF Coningsby, operating at the US Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake test centre in California, USA, suffered extensive damage during landing when its landing gear did not deploy. Although no immediate cause was determined, it was speculated that pilot error may have been to blame. In July 2014, the Ministry of Defence revealed, under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, that the remains of aircraft ZJ943 were held in storage at RAF Coningsby, although some parts had been loaned to the Bloodhound SSC project.
The National Audit Office observed in 2011 that the distribution of the Eurofighter's parts supply and repairs over several countries has led to parts shortages, long time scales for repairs and the cannibalisation of some aircraft to keep others flying.
In September 2009, four RAF Typhoons were deployed to RAF Mount Pleasant replacing the Tornado F3s defending the Falkland Islands. The government of Argentina "is understood to have made a formal protest".
On 18 March 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the UK would deploy Typhoons, alongside Panavia Tornados, to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya. On 20 March 10 Typhoons from RAF Coningsby and RAF Leuchars arrived at the Gioia del Colle airbase in southern Italy. On 21 March RAF Typhoons flew their first ever combat mission while patrolling the no-fly Zone. On 29 March, it was revealed that the RAF were short of pilots to fly the required number of sorties over Libya and were having to divert personnel from Typhoon training to meet the shortfall.
On 12 April 2011, a mixed pair of RAF Typhoon and Tornado GR4 dropped precision-guided bombs on ground vehicles operated by Gaddafi forces that were parked in an abandoned tank park. Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, revealed during the Royal Aeronautical Society's Aerospace 2011 conference in London, that each aircraft dropped one GBU-16 Paveway II 454 kg (1,000 lb) laser-guided bomb which struck "very successfully and very accurately". The event represented "a significant milestone in the delivery of multi-role Typhoon." Target designation was provided by the Tornados with their Litening III targeting pods due to the lack of Typhoon pilots trained in air-to-ground missions.
The UK's then Defence Secretary Liam Fox admitted on 14 April 2011 that Britain's Eurofighter Typhoon jets were grounded in 2010 due to shortage of spare parts. The RAF has been "cannibalising" aircraft for spare parts in a bid to keep the maximum number of Typhoons operational on any given day. The Ministry of Defence had warned the problems were likely to continue until 2015.
In July 2012, UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond suggested that a follow-on buy of F-35A aircraft would be determined by the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in 2015, with the aim of replacing the UK's Typhoons around 2030. The UK is to decide what mix of manned and unmanned aircraft to replace its Eurofighters with sometime between 2015 and 2020.
It was announced in December 2013 that No. 2 Squadron will be the fifth Typhoon Squadron and will convert from the Panavia Tornado and reform at RAF Lossiemouth from 1 April 2015.
By July 2014, a dozen RAF Tranche 2 Typhoons had been upgraded with Phase 1 Enhancement (P1E) capability to enable them to use the Paveway IV guided bomb; the Tranche 1 version had used the GBU-12 Paveway II in combat over Libya, but the Paveway IV can be set to explode above or beneath a target and to hit at a set angle. The British are aiming to upgrade their Typhoons to be able to carry the Storm Shadow cruise missile and Brimstone air-to-ground missile by 2018 to ensure they have manned aircraft configured with strike capabilities with trained crews by the time the Tornado GR4 is retired the following year; the Defence Ministry is also funding research for a common launcher system that could also drop the Selective Precision Effects at Range (Spear) III networked precision-guided weapon from the Typhoon, which is already planned for the F-35. RAF Tranche 1 Typhoons are too structurally and technically different from later models, so the British have decided that beginning in 2015 or 2016, the older models will be switched out for Tranche 2 and 3 versions, a process which will remove the Tranche 1 aircraft from service around 2020 to be stripped for parts to support newer versions to lower costs.
Due to the limited ground attack capabilities of the RAF Typhoons in the campaign against ISIL, the UK has delayed the retirement of one squadron of Tornados and is attempting to bring forward the deployment of Brimstone missiles on the Eurofighters to 2017.SpecificationsCrew:
1 (operational aircraft) or 2 (training aircraft)Length:
15.96 m (52.4 ft)Wingspan:
10.95 m (35.9 ft)Height:
5.28 m (17.3 ft)Wing area:
51.2 m² (551 sq ft)Empty weight:
11,000 kg[N 7] (24,250 lb)Loaded weight:
16,000 kg[N 8] (35,270 lb)Max. takeoff weight:
23,500 kg (51,800 lb)Powerplant:
2 × Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofanDry thrust:
60 kN (13,490 lbf) eachThrust with afterburner:
>90 kN (20,230 lbf) eachFuel capacity:
5,000 kg (11,020 lb) internalMaximum speed:
At altitude: Mach 2 class (2,495 km/h or 1,550 mph)
At sea level: Mach 1.25 (1,470 km/h or 910 mph)Supercruise:
2,900 km (1,800 mi)Combat radius:
(with 3 external 1,000 l tanks)
Ground attack, lo-lo-lo: 601 km (325 nmi)
Ground attack, hi-lo-hi: 1,389 km (750 nmi)
Air defence with 3-hr combat air patrol: 185 km (100 nmi)
Air defence with 10-min. loiter: 1,389 km (750 nmi)Ferry range:
>3,790 km (2,350 mi with 3 drop tanks)Service ceiling:
19,812 m (65,000 ft)Rate of climb:
>315 m/s (62,000 ft/min)Wing loading:
312 kg/m² (63.9 lb/ft²)Thrust/weight:
1.15 (interceptor configuration)Maximum g-load:
+9/−3 gBrakes-off to Take-off acceleration:
<8 secBrakes-off to supersonic acceleration:
<30 sBrakes-off to Mach 1.6 at 11,000 m (36,000 ft):
1 × 27 mm Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon with 150 roundsHardpoints:
Total of 13: 8 × under-wing; and 5 × under-fuselage pylon stations; holding up to 7,500 kg (16,500 lb) of payload
Typical multi-role configuration for a Tranche 2-P1E would be 4×AMRAAM, 2×ASRAAM/IRIS-T, 4×EGBU-16/Paveway-IV, 2×1000-litre supersonic fuel tanks and a targeting pod.Missiles:
AIM-120 AMRAAM (AIM-120C-5/7 planned for P2E)
Taurus KEPD 350
Storm Shadow/Scalp EG
Paveway II/III/Enhanced Paveway series of laser-guided bombs (LGBs)
500lb Paveway IV
Small Diameter Bomb (planned for P2E)
Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), in the future
HOPE/HOSBO, in the futureOthers:
Flares/infrared decoys dispenser pod
Electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods
Damocles (targeting pod)
LITENING III laser targeting pod
Up to 3 drop tanks for ferry flight or extended range/loitering timeAvionics:
Euroradar CAPTOR Radar
Passive Infra-Red Airborne Tracking Equipment (PIRATE)