With more than 500 Eurofighters delivered to date and 500,000-plus flight hours logged worldwide, this swing-role combat aircraft’s future is brighter than ever – backed by a slate of new-generation enhancements currently under development and planned in the years to come.
Production of the twin-engine jet fighter is assured at least until 2030 based on orders booked to date, including the German Air Force’s recently-announced contract for an additional 38 aircraft, which are to be equipped with the world's latest electronic radar, future-proof hardware and software, and unlimited multi-role capability to engage both air and ground targets.
Additionally, a Eurofighter order is expected from Spain, while the aircraft has been proposed for procurements in Switzerland, Finland, Poland and Canada.
“Eurofighter will remain at the forefront of our customers’ fleets for decades to come,” said Kurt Rossner, Airbus Head of Combat Aircraft Systems and Chairman of the Eurofighter GmbH Supervisory Board.
Ongoing upgrades include the integration of additional weapons system capabilities – as achieved on Royal Air Force Eurofighters for the UK, and under implementation for the German Air Force. This includes stepping up from a mechanically-scanned radar to a more modern electronically-scanned (E-Scan) sensor. E-Scan adds an advanced antenna to provide an unrivalled field of radar coverage, along with multi-target tracking, improved missile guidance and more.
Other planned enhancements will involve an adapted avionics structure, including the latest state-of-the-art hardware and software to keep Eurofighter at the leading edge of combat aircraft technology. In parallel, this development stream will be used in risk reduction for the Next Generation Weapon System, providing a bridge for Europe’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS), and placing Eurofighter as one of its main components.
“Eurofighter is about to enter its next era and will remain at the forefront of our customers’ fleets for decades to come,” explained Kurt Rossner, Airbus Head of Combat Aircraft Systems and Chairman of the Eurofighter GmbH Supervisory Board.
A mission-proven solution from Europe
Eurofighter is based on the collaboration of four European nations and capabilities of their aerospace/defence industries: Germany, Spain, the UK and Italy. Airbus, which has the largest stake in the Eurofighter industrial grouping, produces aircraft at its facilities in Germany and Spain.
Dirk Hoke, the CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said the Eurofighter’s latest Tranche 4 version – which is the configuration recently contracted by Germany – will have a service life well beyond 2060, and the aircraft’s technical capabilities will allow its full integration into the European Future Combat Air System.
A total of nine countries have ordered Eurofighters to date: Germany (currently the largest customer), the UK, Spain, Italy, Austria, Oman, Qatar Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. The aircraft has proven its capabilities during military operations in Libya, Iraq and Syria – demonstrating high reliability in challenging climates and conditions.