Eurofighter Typhoon variants
The Eurofighter Typhoon is in service with seven nations: United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Austria. It has been ordered by Kuwait and Qatar, with orders for all eight customers still pending as of September 2017. The aircraft has, as of 2016, been provided in a basic air-defense form and has been upgraded to newer production standards which include internal IRST, air-to-ground precision strike capability (with Royal Air Force Typhoons participating in air strikes destroying tanks in Libya in 2011 as their combat debut), and HMSS (helmet-mounted symbology system) helmets. Most of the major systems including the CAPTOR radar and the Defence Aids Sub-System (DASS) are expected to be improved and updated over time, with the radar being updated to an AESA, being the CAPTOR-E/CAESAR, of which the Kuwait Air Force will be the inaugural operator, with first deliveries of their 28 new-built aircraft to commence in 2019.
|A Royal Air Force twin-seater Eurofighter Typhoon|
|National origin||European Union|
|Manufacturer||Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH|
|First flight||27 March 1994|
|Introduction||4 August 2003|
|Primary users||Royal Air Force|
German Air Force
Italian Air Force
Spanish Air Force
See Operators below for others
|Number built||558 (as of January 2019)|
€90 million (system cost Tranche 3A)
£125m (including development + production costs)
|Developed from||British Aerospace EAP|
|Variants||Eurofighter Typhoon variants|
Seven development aircraft (DA) were built with varying equipment fits and flight test roles.
- DA1 Germany
- DA1's main role was handling characteristics and engine performance.
- DA1 was assembled in 1992 and first flew on 27 March 1994 with Luftwaffe serial 98+29. The military evaluation phase commenced in 1996. In 1997 after 123 flights, DA1's RB199 engines were replaced by EJ200s, it also was refitted with the Martin-Baker Mk.16A ejector seat and a full avionics fit. Following these modifications it rejoined the flight test programme in 1999. Following the loss of DA6, DA1 was transferred to Spain to undertake the remaining development work including IRIS-T trials.
- The aircraft was retired on 21 December 2005, eleven years, eight months, and 24 days after its first flight.
- It is on display at the Flugwerft Schleißheim (external site of the Deutsches Museum) near Munich, Germany.
- DA2 United Kingdom
- DA2 undertook envelope expansion, flight control assessment and load trials. The aircraft first flew on 6 April 1994 as ZH588. The flight control assessment included development of the Eurofighter's "carefree handling". On 23 December 1997 DA2 became the first Eurofighter to achieve Mach 2 and in January 1998 undertook refuelling trials with a RAF VC10. Like DA1, DA2 was upgraded in 1998 with new engines, ejector seat and avionics and rejoined the test programme in August. In 2000 the aircraft was covered with 490 pressure transducers; due to the fact that they were covered by black pads and had associated wiring the aircraft was painted in a gloss black scheme. The pressure transducers measured the effects of various weapons loads and external fuel tanks. In 2002 the aircraft undertook ASRAAM trials, completed carefree handling trials and commenced DASS decoy trials.
- Now retired and on display in the Milestones of Flight Gallery at the RAF Museum at Hendon.
- DA3 Italy
- Weapons systems development.
- DA4 United Kingdom
- Radar and avionics development, now on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford.
- DA5 Germany
- Radar and avionics development, being upgraded to Tranche 2 standard.
- DA6 Spain
- Airframe development and handling. DA6 was lost in a crash in Spain in November 2002 after both engines failed. EADS Germany's DA1 was transferred to EADS-CASA.
- DA7 Italy
- Navigation, avionics and missile carriage. Now retired in Cameri IAF.
Instrumented production aircraftEdit
The instrumented production aircraft (IPA) are five production standard aircraft fitted with telemetry instruments for dedicated flight testing and further systems development.
- IPA2 Italy
- Air-to-surface weapons integration
- IPA3 Germany
- Air-to-air weapons integration
- IPA4 Spain
- Air-to-surface weapons integration and environmental development
- IPA5 United Kingdom
- Air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons integration
Series production aircraftEdit
These are the operational and training aircraft. The model is known as Typhoon in the United Kingdom and export markets and as EF-2000 in Germany, Italy and Spain. However all Italian aircraft carry the "Typhoon" logo on their tails.
- Initial Operational Capability, Basic Air Defence Capability
- Block 2
- Air-to-air capabilities
- Block 5
- Air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities, Final Operational Capability (FOC) standard. All Tranche 1 aircraft are being upgraded to Block 5 capability through the Retrofit 2 (R2) programme.
- Block 8
- New hardware standard with new mission computer
- Block 10
- Enhanced Operational Capability (EOC) 1, improved DASS, IFF Mode 5, Rangeless ACMI
- Block 20
- EOC 3
Italian Air Force aircraftEdit
As of July 2006 the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana) had one EF-2000 wing, 4º Stormo (4th Wing), which received its first aircraft on 19 February 2004. The 36º Stormo received its first Typhoon on 1 October 2007. By 2018 the Italian Air Force had three Eurofighter wings.
Spanish Air Force aircraftEdit
As of December 2006 the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire) has one squadron of aircraft. The first aircraft was delivered to Wing 11 in October 2003 at Moron airbase, Spain. In Spanish service, the aircraft is designated the C.16 Typhoon.
As of October 2006 Germany had two active EF-2000 fighter wings, Jagdgeschwader 73 and Jagdgeschwader 74. JG 73 began converting to the Eurofighter in April 2004. JG 74 received its first aircraft on 25 June 2006.
Royal Air Force aircraftEdit
The Typhoon replaced the RAF's Tornado F3 (fighter) and Jaguar (ground attack) forces. They will equip five front-line squadrons, one front-line flight and one reserve squadrons, the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU).
- Typhoon T1
- The Typhoon T1 is a Tranche 1, batch 1 two-seat trainer.
- The first Typhoon T1 is one of the Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA1) and remains part of the BAE fleet. The aircraft's maiden flight was on April 15, 2002. The official in service date for the first RAF Typhoon T1, serial ZJ803, was June 30, 2003.[unreliable source?] Formal delivery occurred on December 18 at which point 17 Sqn began a full flying programme.
- The first squadrons, No. 17 OEU and No. 29 OCU Sqns, moved to RAF Coningsby in 2005 to begin establishing an initial operational capability (IOC).
- In 2001, it was announced that the Royal Air Force (RAF) would not use the aircraft's internal 27 mm Mauser cannon. This was due to a desire to save money by removing gun support costs, ammunition stocks, training costs, etc. The gun was also deemed unnecessary since the missile armament was believed to be adequate in the Typhoon's fighter role. However, because removal of the cannon would affect the aircraft's flight characteristics, requiring modification of the aircraft's flight software the RAF decided that all of its Typhoons would be fitted with the cannon but that it would not be used or supported. The service argued that this would save money by reducing the requirement for ground equipment, removing training costs and avoiding the fatigue effects of firing the cannon. The RAF maintained the option to activate the cannons at very short notice were operational requirements to change. However in a third change of policy, the Daily Telegraph reported on 3 October 2006 that the RAF will fully utilise the cannon.
- Typhoon T1A
- Typhoon T1As are Tranche 1, batch 2 two-seat trainers. There would not normally be a different designation for a different aircraft batch, however the Batch 2 aircraft have a fuel system modification to fix a fuel gauge problem identified in the development aircraft fleet.
- Typhoon F2
- The F2 is the single-seat fighter variant. The first F2 is IPA5 and also remains with BAE, its first flight was June 6, 2002.
- The first operational squadron, No. 3, formed at RAF Cottesmore on March 31, 2006 and moved to its new base RAF Coningsby the following day. No. 11 squadron, the second operational squadron received its first aircraft (ZJ931) on October 9, 2006.
As of June 2018, the RAF had bought 53 Tranche 1 Typhoons. The UK agreed to approve production of "Tranche 2" in December 2004, this tranche will see the RAF receive a further 89 aircraft, bringing its Typhoon inventory to 144. This followed protracted negotiations regarding the early introduction of ground attack capabilities of the aircraft and hence its swing-role capability. While this was always planned it was intended to come at a much later date.
- Typhoon FGR4
- Single-seat Block 5 or later aircraft (built or upgraded from F2) are known as Typhoon FGR4s. The new mark number represents the increased capabilities of the Block 5 aircraft (fighter/ground attack/reconnaissance). The FGR4 has from June 2008 achieved the required standard for multi-role operations.
- Typhoon T3
- Two-seat Block 5 or later aircraft (built or upgraded from T1) are known as Typhoon T3s.
As of June 2018, the RAF has 67 Tranche 2 Typhoons and has contracted to purchase 40 Tranche 3 Typhoons. 107 Tranche 2 and 3 Typhoons will be modified via "Project Centurion", allowing them to utilise Meteor missiles, Brimstone and Storm Shadow missiles. 24 Tranche 1 Typhoons will be retained for UK Quick Reaction Alert purposes, and will not be modified under Centurion.
Owing to the withdrawal of France from the Eurofighter 2000 project, in part due to France's desire to have a greater role in the development and marketing of the aircraft, the pursuit of a naval Typhoon has never seriously been considered. However, a navalised variant of the aircraft was first proposed in the late 1990s as a potential solution to the UK Royal Navy's need for a Future Carrier-Borne Aircraft (FCBA) for its new (Queen Elizabeth-class) aircraft carriers, In January 2001, the UK Ministry of Defence formally discounted the option of a navalised Eurofighter for its new aircraft carriers, in favour of the STOVL ('B') variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which (at that time) promised to be a capable, low cost and more stealthy aircraft that would enter into service circa 2012 – a date that tied in well with the in-service date for the new UK aircraft carriers as it stood at that time. It was rejected by the United Kingdom on "cost effectiveness grounds".
As of 2011[update], the navalised Typhoon remained only a proposal but there has been some interest expressed by other nations, such as India, in adapting the Typhoon for aircraft carrier operations.
The proposed variant design would enable the Typhoon to operate from carriers on a Short Take-Off but Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) basis, using a 'ski jump' ramp for aircraft launch and arresting gear for conventional landing.
In February 2011, BAE debuted a navalised Typhoon in response to the Indian tender. The model offered is STOBAR capable, corresponding to the Indian Navy's future aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. The changes needed to enable the Typhoon to launch by ski-jump and recover by arrestor hook added about 500 kg to the airframe, however this is now thought to be substantially more given the Typhoons's "unfriendly" design in terms of adapting the airframe to suit sustained naval operations. If the Indian Navy pursues a catapult launch carrier, the Typhoon is completely uncompetitive against tender rivals (e.g. Rafale and Super Hornet) since meeting "... catapult requirements would add too much weight to the aircraft, blunt performance and add substantially to modification costs".
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- Air Forces Monthly, p. 9, August 2008 Missing or empty
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