Eurofighter Typhoon

Eurofighter Typhoon

Eurofighter Typhoon

RoleMulti-role fighter
Crew1 or 2
First FlightMarch 27 1994 (development aircraft)
Entered ServiceFebruary 14 2003
ManufacturerConsortium: EADS, BAE Systems, Alenia
Length15.96 m52 ft 5 in
Wingspan10.95 m35 ft 11 in
Height5.28 m17 ft 4 in
Wing Area50 m²540 ft²
Empty9,750 kg21,500 lb
Loaded15,550 kg34,280 lb
Maximum Takeoff21,000 kg46,300 lb
Engines2 x Eurojet EJ200 turbofans
Dry thrust60 kN13,500 lbf
Afterburner thrust90 kN20,200 lbf
Maximum Speed2,390 km/h1,480 mph
Combat Range1,390 km860 miles
Ferry Range3,700 km2,300 miles
Service Ceiling> 18,000 m> 60,000 ft
Rate of Climb15,240 m/min50,000 ft/min
Wing Loading311 kg/m²63.7 lb/ft²
Thrust/Weight7.7 N/kg 0.79 lbf/lb
AvionicsCAPTOR radar, "Pirate IRST" infrared sensor(FLIR)
Guns1 x 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon
BombsPaveway 2, Paveway 3, Enhanced Paveway, JDAM
MissilesAGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-88 HARM, AGM Armiger, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-132 ASRAAM, AIM-120 AMRAAM, IRIS-T, MBDA Meteor, ALARMs, Storm Shadow(AKA "Scalp EG"), Brimstone, Taurus, Penguin
OtherLaser designator, e.g. LITENING pod

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile twin-engine multi-role canard-delta fighter aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of European nations formed in 1983. In design it resembles other major modern combat aircraft such as France's Dassault Rafale and Sweden's Saab Gripen. However, its combination of agility, stealth features and advanced avionics suggest it is amongst the most capable fighter currently in service with any airforce.



The initial members of the consortium were the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. In 1985 France withdrew in favour of its own Avion de Combat Expérimental (ACX) project (which later became the Dassault Rafale).

Initial hardware requirements were as follows: UK 250, Germany 250, Italy 165, and Spain 100. Production work share was divided among the countries proportionally to procurement: British Aerospace (33%), Daimler-Benz (33%), Aeritalia (21%), and Spain's CASA (13%).

Over the next five years, design work continued, aided by data from the British Aerospace EAP prototype which had first flown in August, 1986. The maiden flight of the Typhoon prototype took place on March 27, 1994 (then just known as the Eurofighter EF 2000). Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm chief test pilot Peter Weger took the prototype on a test flight around Bavaria. The 1990s saw significant arguments over work share, the specification of the aircraft and even participation in the project.

When the final production contract was signed, revised procurement totals were as follows: UK 232, Germany 180, Italy 121, and Spain 87. Production was again allotted according to procurement: British Aerospace (37%), DASA (29%), Aeritalia (19.5%), and CASA (14%).

Development is now the responsibility of Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, based in Munich and wholly owned by BAE Systems (formerly British Aerospace) in the UK, Alenia Aerospazio in Italy, and the EADS Deutschland Aerospace Group (formerly DaimlerChrysler, in conjunction with Deutsche Aerospace AG) and EADS Spain (formerly CASA).

On July 2, 2002, the Austrian government announced the decision to buy the Typhoon as its new air defence aircraft. The contract was not signed at that time, however, due to floods, an election, and political controversy. The purchase of 18 Typhoons was finalized on July 1, 2003. The cost was €1,959,000,000 and included 18 aircraft, training for pilots and ground crew, logistics, maintenance, and a simulator. The full, "fly-away" price of a single Typhoon works out to €62,900,000.

The project has been named and renamed a number of times since its inception, having been known as EFA (European Fighter Aircraft), Eurofighter, EF2000 (Eurofighter 2000), and most recently Typhoon.


The Eurofighter Typhoon is unique in modern combat aircraft in that there are four separate assembly lines (the F-16 was only produced internationally under limited licences). Each partner company assembles its own national aircraft, but builds the same parts of all 620 aircraft.

  • Alenia
    • Left wing
    • Outboard flaperons
    • Rear fuselage sections
    • Front fuselage (including canards)
    • Canopy
    • Dorsal spine
    • Tail fin
    • Inboard flaperons
    • Rear fuselage section
  • EADS Germany
    • Main centre fuselage
    • Right wing
    • Leading edge slats

Production is divided into three "tranches" (see table below) with an incremental increase in capability with each tranche. Tranches are further divided up into batches, for example of the RAF's Tranche one twin seaters T1s are batch 1 and T1As are batch 2.

Production summary
  Tranche 1 Tranche 2 Tranche 3 TOTAL
Germany 44 68 68 180
Italy 29 46 46 121
Spain 20 33 34 87
UK 55 89 88 232
TOTAL 148 236 236 620


Despite many delays and controversies over cost, the Typhoon is now in series production.

In British service, the aircraft is supposed to replace the Tornado F3 and the Jaguar GR3A.

The Tornados will be replaced from 2006-2010, and the Jaguars from 2010-2014. Initial deliveries of the Typhoon to the RAF have begun. The first unit to form was an Operational Evaluation Unit, No. 17 Sqn in 2003, followed by the Operational Conversion Unit, 29 Sqn at BAE Warton in 2004. The aircraft are expected to move to RAF Coningsby in 2005. The initial designations for the RAF aircraft are T1 for the two-seater trainer, and F2 for the single-seater operational fighter.

An extensive overseas sales effort has so far yielded an order from Austria for 18 units, and an initial interest from Greece for 60 aircraft. Norway has also expressed interest, but has yet to buy any Eurofighters. Other countries expressing interest include South Africa, Chile, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The Typhoon could possibly meet the requirements of the UK's Future Offensive Air System programme, which is seeking to replace the deep-strike capability provided by the Tornado GR4. If selected, the Typhoon would likely be modified for internal weapons carriage and increased internal fuel capacity.

Combat Performance

For a detailed comparison of the Typhoon and other fighters see: Comparison of 2000s fighter aircraft.

The Typhoon's combat performance, particularly compared to the upcoming F/A-22 Raptor and F-35 fighters under development in the United States and the Dassault Rafale developed in France, has been the subject of some speculation. While making a complete assessment is impossible on publicly available information, there is a study by DERA comparing the Typhoon with other contemporary fighters.

In June 2005, The Scotsman reported ( that, in a mock confrontation with two American F-15 fighter craft, the Eurofighter was not only able to avoid his pursuers, he succeeded in getting into shooting position. Unattributed statements indicate that the success of the craft came as a surprise to both the Americans and the RAF.

While the Typhoon lacks the all-aspect stealth technology of the F/A-22, the design does incorporate many low-observable features, resulting in a much smaller radar cross-section than earlier fighters. It is also capable of sustained supersonic cruise without using afterburners. The F-22 is the only other fighter with supercruise capabilities.

According to EADS, the maximum speed possible without reheat is Mach 1.5 (although this drops to Mach 1.3 with an air-to-air weapons load).


As German newspapers reported in 2004, the few Eurofighters in service with the Luftwaffe did not meet specifications at that time. Because of technical difficulties, the aircraft is only allowed to take off without cannon ammunition and at moderate temperatures. However, it is important to note that early aircraft are delivered at a baseline state, with capability to be increased incrementally; indeed, BAE has stated that the capability of the aircraft will increase at a faster rate than the training of pilots.


  • Development aircraft (DA)- Seven aircraft with varying equipment fits and missions
    • DA1 (Germany) - Airframe, engine and Flight Control Software (FCS)
    • DA2 (Britain) - FCS development and envelope expansion
    • DA3 (Italy) - Weapons systems development
    • DA4 (Britain) - Radar and avionics development, being upgraded to Tranche 2 standard
    • DA5 (Germany) - Radar and avionics development, being upgraded to Tranche 2 standard
    • DA6 (Spain) - Airframe development and handling
    • DA7 (Italy) - Navigation, avionics and missile carriage
  • Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) - Five production standard aircraft for further system development
    • IPA1 (Britain) - Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS)
    • IPA2 (Italy) - Air-to-surface weapons integration
    • IPA3 (Germany) - Air-to-air weapons integration
    • IPA4 (Spain) - Air-to-surface weapons integration and environmental development
    • IPA5 (Britain) - Air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons integration
  • Series Production Aircraft (SPA) - Production aircraft for partner nations.


  • Powerplant: 2 Eurojet EJ200 turbofans each rated at 60 kN dry and 90 kN in reheat
  • Size:
    • Length: 15.96 m
    • Height: 5.28 m
    • Wingspan: 10.95 m
    • Wing area: 50 m²
  • Weight:
    • Empty: 9,752 kg
    • Normal Takeoff: 15,550 kg
    • Maximum: 21,000 kg
  • Speed:
    • Maximum: Mach 2.0+ (2400 km/h) at altitude, Mach 1.2 at sea level
    • Without afterburning (supercruise): Mach 1.3 at altitude with typical air-to-air armament
  • Ceiling: about 18 km.
  • Range (all using 3 drop tanks):
    • Air Combat (10 minute loiter): 1389 km
    • Air Combat (3 hour CAP): 185 km
    • Ground attack (hi-lo-hi): 1389 km
    • Ground attack (lo-lo-lo): 601 km
    • Ferry: more than 3706 km
  • Wing Loading: 311 kg/m² at normal takeoff weight
  • Armament:
  • Cost:

depending on number of items

    • Austria: EUR 63 million "fly-away cost" (only the plane) and 100 million "system cost" (logistics, support, subsystems DASS, MIDS)
    • Germany: EUR 85 million "system cost"
  • First flight: 1994
  • In service date: first deliveries of production aircraft in 2003
  • Users: UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria; possibly Greece

Development timeline

  • 1972
    • RAF issues Air Staff Target 396 (AST-396), a requirement for a STOVL aircraft to replace the Harrier and Jaguar fleets.
    • AST-403, specification revised for an air superiority fighter. STOVL requirement dropped and AST-409 lead to the development of Harrier GR5.
  • Mid-1970s
    • France, Germany and UK initiate the European Combat Aircraft programme (ECA).
  • 1979
    • Following differing requirements (particularly French requirement for carrier compatibility,) BAe and MBB propose the European Combat Fighter (ECF)
  • 1981
    • Development of different national prototypes and continued differences over specification lead to cancellation of ECF programme.
    • Panavia partners (Germany, Italy and UK) launch Agile Combat Aircraft (ACA) programme. Following failure of Germany and Italy to fund development the UK MoD pays £80m prototype, the European Aircraft Programme (EAP.)
  • 1983
    • May - Contract for production of EAP prototype signed.
    • Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain launch Future European Fighter Aircraft (F/EFA) programme. Aircraft to have Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capabilities.
  • 1984
    • France reiterates requirement for carrier capable version and demands 50% workshare. Britain, Germany and Italy opt out and establish new EFA programme
  • 1985
    • France officially withdraws, commences ACX project.
    • October 27 - EAP demonstrator rolled out at BAe Warton.
  • 1986
  • 1988
    • November 23 - Contracts signed for production of demonstrator engines and airframes.
  • 1990
    Missing image
    CAPTOR Radar
    • EuroRADAR formed for development of ECR-90 (CAPTOR) radar (right).
  • 1991
    • May 1 - Last flight of EAP demonstrator.
  • 1992
    • EuroDASS formed for development of Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS.) Initially only UK and Italy participate. When Eurofighter enters service only RAF aircraft will exploit all capabilities of DASS.
    • July - Germany announces intention to withdraw from the project. Negotiations begin to reduce costs. As a single engine aircraft is ruled out Germany decides to fit cheaper systems, e.g., F/A-18's APG-65 in place of ECR-90, and delay its service entry by two years. Germany eventually participates in all systems.
    • December - Renamed Eurofighter 2000.
  • 1994
    • March 27 - Maiden flight of first development aircraft, DA1 from DASA at Manching with RB199 engines.
    • April 6 - Maiden flight of second development aircraft, DA2 from BAe Warton. DA2 also flew with RB199s.
  • 1995
    • June 4 - Maiden flight of Italian DA3, the first with EJ200 engines.
  • 1996
    • August 31 - Spanish DA6 becomes the first two-seater to fly.
  • 1997
    • January 27 - First flight of DA7 from Turin.
    • February 24 - Maiden flight of German DA5, first aircraft to be fitted with ECR-90.
    • March 14 - Maiden flight of UK's DA4, the second two-seater and last of the seven development aircraft.
  • 1998
    • January - First aerial refuelling trials, involving DA2 and an RAF VC10 tanker.
    • January 30 - NETMA and Eurofighter GmbH sign production and support contracts for 620 aircraft.
    • September - Typhoon name adopted, announced as strictly for export contracts. There is some controversy ( as the last aircraft to bear the name was the Hawker Typhoon, a World War II aircraft.
    • December 18 - Tranche 1 contract signed.
  • 1999
    • Eurofighter International established as single contracting/management company to handle all export sales.
  • 2000
    • March 8 - First export sale, 60 ordered and 30 options by Greece.
    • May 16 - UK commits to MBDA Meteor BVRAAM, leading to significant benefits for export prospects.
    • July 7 - DA2 emerges from ten month stand down with latest avionics. Finished in black (see below) to reduce cosmetic effect of 490 pressure transducers applied to airframe.
  • 2002
    • April 5 - Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA2) makes maiden flight from Turin.
    • April 11 - IPA 3 makes maiden flight from EADS Military Aircraft, Manching, Germany.
    • April 15 - IPA 1 makes maiden flight from BAE Warton.
    • July 2 - Austria announces acquisition of 24 Typhoon's, later reduced to 18.
    • July 23 - "Typhoon" name officially adopted as in-service name by four partner nations.
    • November 21 - Spain's DA6 crashes about 110 kilometres (70 miles) south-west of Madrid. The problem is later attributed to an early development model of the EJ200 powerplant, a problem which the manufacturer insists cannot occur in production engines.
    • December 11 - Flight testing resumes.
  • 2003
    • February 13 - First Series Production Aircraft, GT001 flies from Manching. This is the first of Germany's 180 aircraft.
    • February 14 - In the space of just over an hour Italy's IT001 and Britain's BT001 make their maiden flights.
    • February 17 - Spain's ST001 flies from EADS Military Aircraft, Getafe, Spain.
    • June 30 - "Type Acceptance" signed, marking formal delivery of aircraft to the partner nations.
    • October - Integration of Meteor begins
  • 2004
    • June 27 - Two RAF Typhoon T1s depart UK for Singapore for marketing and training
    • December 15 - UK confirms purchase of second batch of 89 aircraft, the last nation to commit to "Tranche 2" production of 236 aircraft.


Missing image
RAF Typhoon T1
Typhoon at Farnborough in 2002
Typhoon at Farnborough in 2002


  • Spick, Mike (2002). The Illustrated Directory of Fighters. Salamander Press. ISBN 1-84065-384-1.

See also

External links


Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

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