Air International 2002-06
D.Allport - Eurofighter ready to storm into service /Eurofighter special/
Development Aircraft DA2/ZH588 formates with RAF/216 Squadron Tristar KC.1 ZD948 during air-to-air refuelling trials. Although DA4 has been wearing this overall black scheme for the last 18 months or so, the RAF 43 Squadron ‘Fighting Cock’ emblem on the fin is a recent addition. The aircraft was apparently ‘zapped’ by Squadron personnel while parked overnight in a hardened aircraft shelter at the unit’s base at RAF Leuchars, which will become a Eurofighter Typhoon base from 2008.
A German Air Force single-seat Typhoon in JG.73 markings in a typical marine attack configuration with four Penguin, four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, two 1,500 litre drop tanks and one 1,000 litre drop tank.
A single-seat Italian Air Force Typhoon in 37° Stormo colours with a typical air interdiction role weapons load, comprising two Storm Shadow, two ALARM, four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, two 1,500 litre drop tanks and one 1,000 litre drop tank.
The last of the Development Aircraft, Alenia-built DA7/MM-X603, seen over Sardinia while deployed to Decimomannu. One of DA7’s primary tasks is weapons integration trials and during December 2001 the aircraft undertook successful supersonic firing of both the ASRAAM and AIM-9L at Mach 1.2 and 1.8 respectively.
DA2/ZH588 demonstrates a typical Typhoon weapons load for the close air support role, comprising two ASRAAM on the outer wing stations, 18 Brimstone anti-armour missiles on the remaining wing pylons, four AIM-120 AMRAAM on the recessed fuselage stations and a 1,000 litre drop tank on the centreline station.
The first Eurofighter to fly, DA1/98+29, seen here during a demonstration at Farnborough 2000, had completed 271.8 flying hours in 332 flights as of April 7, 2002, a relatively low number eight years after its first flight. This is accounted for by two fairly lengthy periods during which it was laid up whilst various upgrades were incorporated on the aircraft, the first involving a flight control software update, followed later by installation of EJ200 engines and an avionics upgrade.
With its heavy involvement in weapons system trials, DA7/MM-X603 is liberally covered with calibration markings, as seen in this view as the aircraft streams its brake parachute on touchdown. Also clearly visible is the housing on the nose, just forward of the cockpit canopy, for the PIRATE IRST/FLIR system.
A two-seat Typhoon in RAF/29 (Reserve) Squadron markings, the unit which will be the operational conversion unit, shows a typical suppression of enemy air defences configuration with six ALARM, four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM and one 1,000 litre drop tank.
A two-seat Spanish Air Force Typhoon in the markings of Ala 14 with a representative close air support weapons load which includes 18 Brimstone anti-armour missiles, two ASRAAM, four AIM-120 AMRAAM and one 1,000 litre drop tank.
Spanish Development Aircraft DA6/XCE.16-01, the second two-seat aircraft, has been deployed away from Getafe to Moron air base since the beginning of March 2002, with up to 40 trials flights planned from there before the aircraft returns home. DA6 is tasked with performance (including ‘carefree’ handling), MIDS integration and helmet integration trials.
Most recent of the Eurofighter Instrumented Production Aircraft to fly, two-seat IPA1/ZJ699 (‘PT001 ’), is seen here during its first flight from BAE Systems’ Warton airfield, Lancashire, on April 15, 2002. IPA1 will primarily be used for trials of the defensive aids sub-system.
Eurofighter Typhoon IPA 1
Second IPA into the air was the first German example, two-seat IPA3/98 + 03 (‘PT003’), which flew from EADS Military Aircraft’s facility at Manching on April 8, 2002, as seen here. This aircraft also made two further flights later the same day. IPA3 will be primarily used for air-to-surface weapons integration.
Seen during fuselage assembly last year at Warton is the first IPA aircraft, ‘PT001’, which is now flying as ZJ699. This view shows the front fuselage (built by BAE Systems at Samlesbury), centre fuselage (built by EADS in Germany) and rear fuselage (built by Alenia and BAE Systems) being mated-up in the automated alignment facility, which is accurate to a tolerance of 3mm.
Another view of IPA1, at a relatively high angle of attack, catching the last rays of the sun as the gathering gloom engulfs the barren landscape below during the aircraft's first flight from Warton on the evening of April 15, 2002.
This view from above of the first German IPA aircraft, ‘PT003’, under final assembly at Manching, clearly shows the elevated working platform surrounding the aircraft. Each country has adopted similar, but slightly differing methods of providing a safe and easy working environment around the aircraft on their respective final assembly lines.
Seen in production at BAE Systems' Samlesbury factory is the forward fuselage of the fourth two-seat aircraft for the RAF, BT004. For ease of access, the forward fuselages are laid on their sides whilst being fitted out at Samlesbury.
Spanish Development Aircraft DA6/XCE.16-01 seen over rugged mountainous Spanish terrain. DA6 is one of two twin-seat development aircraft in the flight test programme, which now also boasts a further three two-seat IPA aircraft.
First of the IPA aircraft to fly was Italian example MM-X614/IPA2 (‘PT002’), a two-seat variant assembled by Alenia at its Turin/Caselle plant. It is seen here getting airborne from Caselle on April 5, 2002, for its first flight, one of three sorties made before the end of that day. Air-to-surface weapon and sensor fusion trials will be the primary tasks for this aircraft.
With all major components mated up, work continues on the first Eurofighter Typhoon for the RAF, ‘BT001', on the final assembly line in Hangar 302 at Warton. Since this photograph was taken, system testing on the aircraft has commenced and first flight is anticipated around late August 2002 with a prospective handover to the RAF around the end of September.
The three fuselage sections of the first aircraft for delivery to the Spanish Air Force, ‘ST001’ (CE.16-02), are seen here in the automatic alignment facility at Getafe, which uses computer-controlled jacks integrated with laser tracker measurement equipment for accurate mating up. This aircraft is now structurally complete on the final assembly line and is expected to fly in October 2002.
Eurofighter Typhoon