Typhoon: First British Aircraft Rolls off the Production Line and Takes to the Skies
(Source: BAE Systems; issued Feb. 18, 2003) BAE Systems is delighted to announce the maiden flight of the first British Typhoon series production aircraft.

Aircraft BT001, piloted by Derek Reeh, BAE Systems Director of Flight Operations and Archie Neill, BAE Systems pilot and Typhoon Entry into Service Manager, took off from the company,s site at Warton, Lancs, for a successful 21 minute flight on Friday 14 February.

The flight was part of a major achievement for the Eurofighter Typhoon project, as all four of the European Partners in the consortium have seen their first Series Production Aircraft make their maiden flights in the last few days at EADS Deutschland in Germany, EADS-CASA in Spain and Alenia in Italy, along with BAE Systems, Warton.

Typhoon Managing Director, Chris Boardman, said: The first flight of BT001 is a significant step towards our major goal this year, getting the aircraft into service with the Royal Air Force, where it belongs. It was rewarding for us all to see the aircraft fly today, and to know that another 10 aircraft are advancing along the line at BAE Systems to join it ) not to mention the 96 aircraft in different stages of production across Europe.

Wing Commander David Chan, based at Warton to bring Typhoon into service for the RAF, commented: Seeing BT001 fly proved to me that the programme is making real progress. Typhoon is important for the RAF and important for our national security. It will form the cornerstone of RAF Air Power for decades to come. My team continues to be fully involved with the programme, and we eagerly await the handover of BT001 later this year.

Derek Reeh commented: It has been a privilege to fly the first British Series Production Typhoon. As is always the case with Typhoon, the aircraft was a real joy to fly. The achievement was made all the more significant as it represented the culmination of a great deal of hard work across all four partner nations.

Each of the four aircraft will now undertake a selection of tests as part of the four-nation Type Acceptance process, which will culminate with the handover of the aircraft to individual customers later this year. BT001, the first of 232 aircraft for the Royal Air Force, will spend the next few months at Boscombe Down where it will undertake EMC testing for the programme.

BAE Systems employs nearly 100,000 people including Joint Ventures and has annual sales of around £13 billion. The company offers a global capability in air, sea, land and space with a world-class prime contracting ability supported by a range of key skills.

BAE Systems designs, manufactures and supports military aircraft, surface ships, submarines, radar, avionics, communications, electronics, guided weapon systems and a range of other defence products.

BACKGROUND: The Eurofighter Typhoon is the world's most advanced swing-role combat aircraft, developed by the leading aerospace companies, Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems and EADS, of the four partner countries, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Eurofighter Typhoon features unrivalled technology, designed for the defence needs of the 21st Century.

Agile and highly maneuverable, the twin-engine Eurofighter Typhoon is designed to operate from hastily prepared bases and small runways for worldwide operations. It is equipped with an advanced multi-mode radar and an extensive range of sensors and electronic countermeasures.

The aircraft's ability to gain air superiority beyond visual range (BVR) and in close combat, and at the same time deliver high sortie rates against air, naval and ground targets in all weathers with a variety of weapons, demands close attention to pilot workload. In Eurofighter the pilot flies through use of a computerised flight control system, which offers full carefree handling.

A strong emphasis has been placed on reducing cost of ownership in addition to outstanding performance and flight safety. Reliability, low cost of maintenance and a sophisticated on-board testing system ensure ease of day to day management and through life costs. Eurofighter Typhoon is less expensive to run than the generation of aircraft it is designed to replace.

The Eurofighter partner nations will take delivery of 620 aircraft: 180 for Germany, 121 for Italy, 87 for Spain and 232 for the United Kingdom.

The first three production Eurofighter aircraft recently joined the flight test programme following maiden flights in April 2002. Initial deliveries to the four partner nations are expected in 2003.

The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence has agreed an industrial participation programme with Eurofighter for the future enhancement of the weapon system. Eurofighter Typhoon has also been selected by Greece and Austria to meet their respective requirements for a future fighter.

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