First Flight of Eurofighter Typhoon with Tranche 2 Avionics
After the flight Mark commented on the aircraft’s performance:
“This first flight of IPA6 represents the beginning of the next chapter in this remarkable aircraft’s life. Whilst the exterior of the aircraft may be familiar, significant changes have taken place ‘inside’ that will take this to the Tranche 2 standard and beyond. From the pilot’s point of view, the new systems worked very well and performance remains simply stunning. This particular aircraft will be worked hard over the coming years to contribute significantly to where we go next in meeting our customers’ requirements and truly reflects all the hard work and dedication from across the Company in getting us to today’s first flight.”
IPA6 at Warton will be used for Tranche 2 flight test. It’s first prominent task will be to accomplish Type Acceptance for Block 8, the first capability standard of the second Tranche Eurofighter Typhoon, in April 2008.
While IPA6 (BS031) is essentially a Tranche 1 standard aircraft, it uses the full Tranche 2 mission computer suite and avionics features. IPA7 (GS029) is the first aircraft that represents the full Tranche 2 build standard. The first flight of IPA7 is expected before the end of 2007 at the Manching site of EADS, Germany.
The first Tranche 2 EJ200 engine had already flown on IPA2 in Italy on 14 September. This test aircraft, operated by Alenia, will undertake the necessary evaluation and certification work for this new EJ200 version.
The significant Tranche 2 features focus mainly on the new mission computers which deliver the higher processing and memory capacity required for the integration of future weapons such as Meteor, Storm Shadow and Taurus. Differences in the build standard to Tranche 1 are related to changes in production technology or obsolescence.
The Eurofighter consortium will deliver 251 aircraft, 91 to the United Kingdom, 79 to Germany (including 15 aircraft originally contracted by Austria), 47 to Italy and 34 to Spain. The original Tranche 2 production contract was signed 14 December 2004. Deliveries of Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoons to all four Partner Nations will begin in Summer 2008 and are scheduled to run until 2013. 18 aircraft are already in final assembly at the partner companies Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems, EADS CASA and EADS Deutschland.