Several nations have been mentioned in the same breath as the Typhoon as becoming potential customers. India is a strong potential candidate and considers the Typhoon one of their top selections in their MRCA Competition alongside the Dassault Rafale, Saab JAS 39 Gripen, Mikoyan MiG-35 among others. Similarly, Japan may become a future operator of the Typhoon. Financial concerns in Greece have quieted talk about Typhoon acquisitions. Brazil was once mentioned as being interested in the Typhoon.
Eurofighter Typhoon Walk-Around
The cockpit (available in single- or twin-seat configurations) is situated forward in the fuselage design, aft of the radar-housing nose cone assembly. The pilot(s) sit (s) under a two-piece canopy offering up excellent views from within the cockpit. The canopy consists of the forward fixed windscreen and the main component which, itself, is hinged at the rear. The contoured fuselage sports small side-mounted strakes near the cockpit and all-moving canard foreplanes. The strakes serve to move stagnant air generated by the canard foreplanes. As the Typhoon is an inherently unstable platform (her center of gravity is located aft of center itself), the canards play a crucial role in various aerodynamic aspects of the aircrafts flight envelope including pitch control. Canard foreplanes allow for improved turning and can improved total drag/lift during landing and take-off while providing greater agility at speed. Their forward position in the design also allows them to be of reduced drag as opposed to rear-mounted tail planes found in traditional fighter designs.
The main wing assemblies are of a delta wing design featuring extensive sweep along the leading edge and little to no sweep along the straight trailing edge. Construction includes carbon-fiber composite rib and spars with metal only used along the weapon hardpoints. Up to 70% of the Typhoon's construction revolves around use of carbon-fiber composites, titanium and aluminum-lithium. Control surfaces are fitted to both the leading and trailing edges. Control is aided by trailing edge flaperons which accomplish the combined tasks of conventional flaps, elevators and ailerons and are further aided by the canard foreplanes. An airbrake is fitted to the ventral side while leading-edge flaps help in landing. The delta wing design approach also allows for multiple external underwing and underfuselage hardpoints and number thirteen in the Typhoon. Jammer pods are ingeniously contained at the clipped wingtips so no ordnance is used at those areas. The Typhoon makes use of basic stealth design features including implementation of a small radar cross section. Some areas of the aircraft are coated over in special materials to absorb incoming radar waves. The radar system itself diffuses its own signals to an extent.
Intakes are mounted directly beneath the fuselage and are split at their center, allowing each duct to aspirate their respective engine and further break up incoming radar signals from reaching the engine. Each intake opening is rectangular in shape and slightly angled down towards the fuselage centerline. The intake sports a hinged lower "lip" and the center splitter plate ensures proper, uninterrupted airflow to each engine. Its low fuselage placement is also deemed optimal for this particular aircraft design layout. The empennage is dominated by a single, large-area vertical tail fin (similar to the one as found on the Panavia Tornado but of a smaller overall size) mounted between the two engine compartments. The engines exhaust through conventional nozzle rings at the rear and base of the vertical tail fin though there has always been talk of replacing these with vectoring nozzles in the future. There is a small noticeable intake at the trailing edge base of the fin. As a delta wing design, the Typhoon makes no use of traditional horizontal tail planes and instead uses the canard foreplanes and wing-mounted surfaces for basic flight functions (aided by computers).
Her undercarriage is conventional, sporting two single-wheeled main landing gear legs and a single-wheeled nose landing gear leg. The main legs retract inwards towards centerline under each wingroot while the nose leg retracts backwards under the split intake system. Each leg is fitted with carbon-carbon brakes that are cooled by a fan system and furthermore controlled by an automated computer function. The undercarriage as a whole is designed to withstand a good deal of stress, allowing them to stay exposed at constant Angle-of-Attack (AOA) during landings. This affords the Typhoon a relatively short landing run of just 2,300 feet.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is powered by pair of Eurojet EJ200 series afterburning turbofan engines. The powerplant maintains an origin in the 1980s Rolls-Royce XG-40 used to demonstrate some of the available technology. In comparison to the earlier optimized RB.199 series, the EJ200 sports 50% less moving parts but at the same time delivers 50% more thrust output. Eurojet will produce a total of 1,400 engines for the Eurofighter project.
Performance from this dual engine setup includes a top speed between Mach 1.2 and Mach 2 (1,550 miles per hour) at altitude (sources vary). The engines also offer supercruise capability - that is, supersonic flight without the need for afterburner. It should be noted that the Typhoon can only achieve this supercruise function with a "clean" load - no externally-fitted droptanks or ordnance to interfere with airflow. Afterburner is available on the EJ200 and raises the dry thrust weight of 13,500lbs each engine to approximately 20,250lbs of thrust each engine. The combined 40,000lbs of thrust is comparable to that of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat yet the Typhoon weighs only half that of its retired American counterpart. Range is an impressive 1,840 miles and ferry range reaches out to 2,300 miles. The Typhoons service ceiling is listed at 65,000 feet with a rate-of-climb equal to 62,000 feet per minute.
The base Eurofighter Typhoon cockpit is dominated by three multi-function displays, one to either side of the center console and one fitted low on the console itself. These are fully programmable and are bordered by various function buttons doing away with the many gauges and system monitors that were common to Cold War-era aircraft. In fact, there is nary a gauge to be found in the ultra-high tech Typhoon - essentially, she sports what is known as an "all-glass" cockpit. The top of the instrument panel is capped by a wide-angled HUDs (Heads-Up Display) system that relays pertinent mission and systems information without the pilot needing to take his eyes off of the action ahead. Similarly, his helmet mounted display supplies information as well. Overall, the cockpit feel and look is very clean and quite ergonomic. Ruder controls are foot pedals found under the instrument panel. The pilot controls the aircraft through a center flight stick containing applicable weapon controls at his finger tips. Throttle controls are seated along the left side instrument panel. The Typhoon cockpit features complete voice support (DVI - Digital Voice Input) and Martin-Baker Mk.16A ejection seats. The ejection seats feature an 18-degree recline and was developed from the preceding Martin-Baker Mk.15 series -though the new design weights in at a manageable 140 pounds. In all, the aircraft makes every attempt to reduce pilot workload and fatigue. Such attention to detail has even resulted in the development of a specialized "G" suit to counter the inherent G-forces of modern jet-powered fighters - keeping the pilot "in the fight" for longer stretches of time.
The Typhoon's basic avionics package is of all-digital control and made up by the following four systems: 1) Attack and Identification; 2) Monitoring, Recording, Test, Defense and Flight Control; 3) Navigation and Weapons Control; 4) Communications. The avionics package is a system produced in their four independent parts by (respectively) DASA, BAe, Alenia and CASA. Navigation is both inertial-and GPS-based and features an integrated ILS (Instrument Landing System).
The Typhoon makes use of the ECR.90 Third Generation series radar system (now known as the "Euroradar CAPTOR") and is housed under the nose cone. At its core, the radar is multi-mode pulse Doppler radar based on the BAe Systems "Blue Vixen" radar developed for the British Sea Harrier decades prior. The system allows for an effective identification and attack system in both air-to-air and air-to-surface modes complete with all-aspect "look-up/look-down" capability. The integrated targeting computer assists the pilot in determining and prioritizing the optimal threat and identifies all threats in real time with constant analyzing and allocating of available targets. She is reportedly very resistant through jamming by way of enemy Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) and sports an extensive scanning range. The system can track moving ground targets as well and offers a high resolution ground mapping function. Terrain avoidance and ranging are built into the programming. An integrated Infra-Red Search and Tracking (IRST) installation provides additional insurance to the ECR.90 radar system. The ECR.90 also features innate capabilities that dwindle its outgoing emissions to further diffuse enemy tracking radars themselves and make the Typhoon more "stealthy" in the skies.
Marconi Defense Systems and Elettronica are responsible for the Typhoon's defensive suite known as "Praetorian" (formerly EuroDASS). This is comprised of both Laser Warning Receiver (LWR) and Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) systems, conventional chaff and flare dispensers, Missile Approach Warning (MAW) and a towed decoys. Additionally, the aircraft actively and automatically alerts the pilot to incoming tracking waves and enemy missile launches. Built-in ESM and ECM pods are stored at the wingtips and contain the towed decoys. Ground avoidance is handled by the built-in Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS).
Standard armament of the Typhoon is a single internal 27mm Mauser cannon fitted to the fuselage. The Mauser system is afforded 150 rounds. Ordnance is contained on no fewer than thirteen external hardpoints. Six of these are held underwing (three to each wing system) with another hardpoint location at each forward wing root. There are four recessed underfuselage side hardpoints and a centerline station. The underfuselage locations allow for the fitting of longer missile ordnance (such as the AMRAAM) and are set in an inline fashion - one munition mounted ahead of the other. Three hardpoint locations are "plumbed" for the delivery of fuel through external droptanks. A centerline drop tank and two underwing hardpoints can be fitted with droptanks at the cost of supersonic speed due to the added drag. To maintain supersonic speeds, two smaller underwing tanks can be used in place of the three larger base drop tanks.
Primary armament of the Typhoon (for the foreseeable future) is the American-made medium-range AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile. Short-range work will be enabled through use of the American AIM-9 Sidewinder, BAe ASRAAM and BAe/Saab S225X missiles while other operators may utilize the IRIS-T missile or other favored weapon. The MBDA "Meteor" should figure into the mix at a future date as well. Though still under development, this long-range, radar-guided missile offers up the indigenous, modern, Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) capability initially sought for during development of the Typhoon system. AMRAAMs will be equipped on production Typhoons for the interim as the Meteor is not expected to become available until 2012 or 2013.
For air-to-ground work, the Typhoon is cleared to carry the Paveway II/III laser-guided bomb along with a TIALD laser designator. Additional air-to-surface ordnance options will be the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile, the AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile, the ALARM, the Taurus KEPD 350, the Penguin anti-ship missile and the AGM "Armiger" anti-radiation missile. BAe/MATRA teamed up to produce the "Storm Shadow" and the Hellfire-inspired "Brimstone" anti-armor missile also figures into the air-to-surface ordnance mix. Conventional drop ordnance as cleared per operator nation is another part of the Typhoon's arsenal display. There is also reportedly JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) support.
The Eurofighter Name
Like several other European aircraft developments of recent past, the Eurofighter Typhoon is of a joint development effort comprised of three corporations - Alenia Aeronautica of Italy, BAe Systems of the United Kingdom and EADS of the Netherlands (the latter itself a merger of DASA of Germany, Aerospatiale-Matra of France and CASA of Spain). All three primary companies are working under the joint holding company of the aforementioned Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH formed in 1986 (hence the Eurofighter name in the designation). This is similar to the European arrangement originally made for the design, development and production of the Panavia Tornado "swing-wing" fighter-bomber of the 1980s. In fact, the Eurofighter project is handled by NETMA, the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency - the same firm currently managing existing Tornados. The aforementioned Eurojet Turbo GmbH - a consortium of Rolls-Royce, MTU Aero Engines, FiatAvio (Avio) and ITP - manages the functions of the EJ200 engines powering the Typhoon.
The Eurofighter Typhoon carries into the modern age of flight the name of the World War 2-era Hawker Typhoon, the RAFs first dedicated ground-attack fighter aircraft.
In August of 2013, it was announced that an effort was underway to court the Gulf nations of Bahrain and United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the sale of the Typhoon. This may persuade Gulf leaders to agree to a greater, semi-permanent British military presence in the Middle East in the long run - coinciding with the British military draw down in both the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns.
The Ministry of Defense has approved several programs to bring about better tactical support for the Typhoon line including delivery of precision-guided munitions and cruise missiles (Storm Shadow). New weapons support is expected to be finished by the end of 2018. As of now, the RAF has 129 Typhoons of its expected 160-strong fleet. The service expects to field the multi-role fighter (alongside the F-35) beyond 2030.
Kuwait and Oman on on order for 12 and 28 Eurofighter Typhoons respectively (2015), joining the growing stable of users (see operators for full list). Kuwait is the first export customer set to receive Typhoons featuring E-Scan radar.
In April 2016 it was announced that the Kuwaiti government had officially signed its contract with Italy to procure 28 Eurofighter Typhoons (Tranche 3).
July 2016: "Project Centurion" is intended to add the capabilities of the outgoing PANAVIA Tornado GR.4 fleet to the Eurofighter Typhoon series giving the newer fighter support for the MBDA "Brimstone" and "Storm Shadow" missile lines. The RAF intends on fielding the Typhoon into 2040. An E-scanner capability is planned for introduction in early 2020.