Eurofighter’s Future: Tranche 3, and Beyond
Dec 12/14: Weapons. BAE announces that the 1st Brimstone trial onto a Typhoon was completed, following a June 19/14 award to study integration between the missile and the aircraft. The firm says that “6 Brimstone missiles were fitted to the aircraft, each wing carrying a launcher with three missiles. Training missiles were used for the purposes of the trial and demonstrated that the weapon can be fitted to the aircraft.” Of course that’s not the toughest part in such an endeavor, and full integration is not expected before 2018.
November 2014: Weapons. The 1st release of a Storm Shadow cruise missile was performed successfully by the Italian IPA2 test aircraft, following initial tests in August. Now that inert drop tests and store release trials were performed, Phase 3 will involve environmental data gathering, followed by additional flights to assess handling qualities.
BAE Systems was also able to test the installation of a Storm Shadow onto a RAF Typhoon. Source: Eurofighter.
The multi-national Eurofighter Typhoon has been described as the aerodynamic apotheosis of lessons learned from the twin engine “teen series” fighters that began with the F-14 and F-15, continued with the emergence of the F/A-18 Hornet, and extended through to the most recent F/A-18 Super Hornet variants. Aerodynamically, it’s a half generation ahead of all of these examples, and planned evolutions will place the Eurofighter near or beyond parity in electronic systems and weapons.
The 1998 production agreement among its 4 member countries involved 620 aircraft, built with progressively improved capabilities over 3 contract “tranches”. By the end of Tranche 2, however, welfare state programs and debt burdens had made it difficult to afford the 236 fighters remaining in the 4-nation Eurofighter agreement. A 2009 compromise was found in the EUR 9 billion “Tranche 3A” buy, and the program has renewed its efforts to secure serious export sales. Their success will affect the platform’s production line in the near term, and its modernization plans beyond that.
Eurofighter: Design & Evolution
Eurofighter: What’s Next?
A Weak Core
Typhoon at Sea?
Eurofighter: Industrial Structure & Orders
Contracts & Key Events
2009 – 2010
News & Views
Other Eurofighter Contracts
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