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Eurofighter Typhoon (EF2000)
Role: multi-role air dominance fighter
Builder: Eurofighter (British Aerospace, EADS, Alenia)
Variants: DA, IPA, Tranche 1 (RAF F.2 single-seat, T.1 two-seat), Tranche 2, (Tranche 3)
Operators: United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia
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The Eurofighter program started back in 1992. In 1994 the first prototype DA-1 made
its maiden flight. The current Eurofighter design has been named Typhoon by the Royal
Air Force, dropping the EF2000 project name. Spain and Italy as well as the industry
have taken on the Typhoon as well. Seven development aircraft (DA) were built, as well
as several Instrumented Production Aircraft for evaluation, weapons and systems
production is underway and each participating country has received their first batch of
Tranche 1 production aircraft. These aircraft are used primarily for evaluation,
instructor and pilot conversion training, but recently have also entered operation
attending large-scale exercises and taking on the air defense role. .
The design features a delta wing design with canards set well forward of the wing.
These features combined with two powerful EJ200 engines and digital flight control systems
produce a highly agile fighter. Suited with the latest technology and avionics and
its multi-role capability make the Eurofighter a true fourth generation combat aircraft.
A total of 620 aircraft have been ordered by the participating countries. Production and deliveries
are well underway now, with almost all Tranche 1 orders being fulfilled. Delivered
aircraft are being upgraded to the latest Tranche 1 production standard, Block 5, to bring all
Tranche 1 aircraft to a near-common standard, including limited air-to-ground capability with
a selection of precision guided weapons.
The RAF is primarily replacing the Tornano F.3 air defence fighters, but has also retired its remaining
Jaguar fighter-bombers. The Eurofighters for the Luftwaffe will soon replace its ageing fleet of F-4F Phantom IIs
(and fill the gap left by the retirement of the MiG-29 Fulcrum-C). Italy has retired its last F-104ASA Starfighters
and returned the leased RAF Tornado F.3s. However because of the delays in the program, it had to lease
ex-USAF F-16 ADF to fill the gap. It has now started to equip its third wing with the Typhoon.
Spain has equipped its first squadron with the Eurofighter, but the Mirage F1 aircraft have been put through a
modernisation program to keep them in service for some years.
Eurofighter GmbH is trying to market the Eurofighter Typhoon abroad but had only minor success. It has
strong competition from the US led Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, the French Dassault Rafale, F-16 Block60,
Saab Gripen, Sukhoi Su-30 and Su-35 variants, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2 and Boeing's advanced F-15 variants.
Although Greece was the first to
sign a contract for delivery of a first batch of Eurofighters, having initially ordered 60 aircraft with
an option for 30 more. However the contract was cancelled and any order would be postponed until after
the Olympic Games. It remains to be seen if Greece would renew the Eurofighter contract, or opt for the
French Rafale or the US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter instead.
Austria ordered 18 Eurofighter Typhoons, with an option for six more, the contract was revised in 2007
and the number was reduced to 15 aircraft of Tranche 1 standard. .
South Korea also considered the Eurofighter but opted for the Boeing F-15K Eagle, Singapore did the same
opting for the F-15T.
Saudi Arabia signed a declaration of understanding with regards to the purchase of
24 Typhoons in Trache 2 standard to replace its Tornado ADV fleet. Follow-on is expected as it is reported
Saudi Arabia has a requirement for at least 72 Typhoons.
The Eurofighter also attracted interest from Denmark and Norway, both countries are yet to decide on a
replacement for their F-16 fleets. The Gripen and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are also being considered.
The two countries each have a requirement for 48 aircraft.
Finally Eurofighter will also compete in the tender for the Indian Air Force's Medium Multi-Role
Combat Aircraft requirement of 126 aircraft, however an order is not expected until 2008-2009 as India has
only just sent out its Request for Proposal.
this section will be fully updated soon