HALLBERGMOOS, Germany --- Eurofighter Typhoon has demonstrated its potential for introduction of new capabilities with the first flight of a Eurofighter aircraft carrying an electronically scanning radar antenna, using Development Aircraft Five (DA5) on 8 May flying from EADS Military Air Systems' Manching facility, Germany.
DA5 has recently been retired from the main Eurofighter Development programme, its primary work completed and future development activities now being focused on Instrumented Production Aircraft. During its earlier programmes DA5 had been the principle test aircraft for the CAPTOR radar currently in service in Typhoon, and was therefore ideally suited to trial the new antenna.
The Euroradar consortium of EADS Defence Electronics (Germany), SELEX Sensors & Airborne Systems (United Kingdom), Galileo Avionica (Italy) and INDRA (Spain) had previously tested the antenna in ground rigs and flown it in a BAC 1-11 trials aircraft. This was the first opportunity which had arisen to allow the radar to be trialed in flight fitted into a Typhoon aircraft.
Eurofighter GmbH and the NATO Eurofighter Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) had agreed to use DA5 for this series of antenna test flights, using funding provided by the German Procurement Agency BWB through NETMA. Eurofighter GmbH managed the international clearance process and together with EADS Military Air Systems, resolved life extension issues on certain components in DA5. Support throughout the duration of the trials is being provided by EADS and Eurojet as well as Eurofighter GmbH and its partner companies.
The new antenna emphasises and demonstrates the policy of continuous capability enhancement in the Eurofighter programme, and production embodiment of this feature could be available for Tranche 3 or as a retrofit in Tranche 2 aircraft. While maintaining the excellent performance features of the CAPTOR radar, the new antenna provides a significant reduction in operating costs as well as certain performance enhancements, and can be readily fitted as a replacement for the current antenna with no significant aircraft modification.
The accumulated data from the trials programme of three flights will be assessed and evaluated on ground rigs of the Euroradar consortium, and will be an input to customer considerations on the future development and operation of their Eurofighter Typhoon fleets.
To date 119 Eurofighter Typhoon have been delivered. The nations' fleets have accumulated 18,870 flight hours by end April 2007, the industry test fleet is close to the 5,100 hours mark. (ends)