Sunday, May 08, 2011


(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada / NEW DELHI, India - May 8, 2011:
The second and final bidding stage—commercial negotiations—of the $10.4 billion, 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender floated by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the Indian Air Force in 2007 has selected two European products (Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale). This entails the exit of two American (F-16 and FA-18), one European (JAS-39 Gripen) and one Russian (MiG-35) system from the race.

The selected vendors have been forwarded bid extension letters. The commercial bidding process will be carried out with simultaneous negotiations on offset obligations and Transfer of Technology (ToT) conditions. Others have been given explanations through official communications for their rejection. Procedural provisions will now go through a rigorous commercial negotiations process under the Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC), and with the approval of Competent Financial Authority (CFA), the contract would be finally announced. Contract administration and post-contract management would follow thereafter.

While many recent Indian acquisition programmes—the $3.8 billion Scorpene

submarines, $2.6 Hawk advanced jet trainers with a follow-on order of 57 aircraft, $9 billion American products (C-130J, P-8I, C-17) with follow-on orders, additional 80-plus order of Su-30s, to name a few—have undergone acquisition procedures or thorough inter-governmental agreements, none have received so much attention that the MMRCA deal has received for the past few years. It is interesting to note that even a $30 billion worth joint project on a fifth-generation fighter and many multi-billion dollar current and future joint projects with Russia (next line of Brahmos, Military Transport Aircraft, to name a few) have not received similar attention. Price, volume, timing, media and involvement of big players have made the MMRCA look like a political deal while it should have been otherwise treated as just another military procurement.

Reactions to the MoD decision, especially by the Americans, are interesting on many counts. Consider these: the announcement of resignation of

the US Ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer, made within 24 hours of the MoD verdict; one of the American vendors hinting at an ‘appropriate response’ to the MoD’s communication, now supported by the US government trying to seek explanations from India on the same; strong statements coming from analysts like Ashley Tellis and others; and apprehensions concerning the future trajectory of India-US relations by both American and Indian commentators. In brief, the bulk of the opinion in the US and India has been vocal against the MoD verdict.

The American braggadocio on their superior products not being selected and oozed out frustrations after the MoD selection process typify not only a bad marketing strategy but, more importantly, display utter arrogance. Imagine the verdict going the American way and the response of others. No doubt, both visible and possible reactions would be in both extremes. This shows the extent of politicisation of a major arms deal.

The MMRCA verdict must be examined in its totality to see whether India has made a strategic blunder or a prudent decision. First, the problems started with volume and price tag. 126 fighters (with a possible follow on order of an equivalent or more numbers) with a price tag of $10.4 billion would obviously attract major vendors around the world, even though top aerospace companies like Boeing, Lockheed and EADS have formidable order books. But what was important for India was to select a reasonably good product with a future horizon in which Indian technology and industry could benefit as well as contribute. Systems selected by the MoD conform to this aspect. Second, the timing of the MMRCA process interestingly coincided with a bilateral strategic partnership construction period between India and the US. The linkage was unavoidable yet unfortunate as this provided a fertile ground for politicisation

primarily through the use of media. The verdict has proved that the MoD was concentrating more on techno-procedural aspects rather than being subject to influence of any kind.

Third, the deal provided large grounds for negotiations on important aspects like offsets and ToT. Both offsets and ToT have undergone torturous processes and are likely to continue further. What might have gone in favour of the selected vendors could be the gamut of offers made by them vis-à-vis their competitors. Equal ownership and partnership, quantifiable technology transfer and formidable industrial linkages were other decisive factors apart from conforming to most of the 643 technical parameters and better performance in the field trials. Fourth, even if there have been time delays, the MoD has done an excellent job by taking the process forward through appropriate routes at a time when there have even been rumours of a split verdict or an eventual scrapping of the deal.

Fifth, much has been argued on the politico-strategic aspects of arms procurement, which is a fact of life for any major deal. Both the US and Russia have bagged major projects from India in recent times and a possible European winner in MMRCA would reflect the mindset of the Indian political leadership, which hints at enlargement of the basket of choices for Indian military procurement beyond prime suppliers. This way, India has made a prudent decision.

By awarding the contract, India could receive strategic dividends from the Europeans, who have been supportive of Indian postures on critical international issues.

If the selection thus far has shown emphases on technicalities, the final selection should primarily be based on more concrete benefits that either company offers. The final MMRCA award would also reflect the abilities of the MoD in processing such complex contracts in the future.

The author is a senior fellow in security studies at the Observer Research Foundation. These are his personal views

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Dassault Rafale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Several countries have shown interest in purchasing the Rafale.

[edit]Potential customers


The Rafale is one of the six fighter jets competing for India's tender for 126 multi-role fighters.

In April 2009, media reports surfaced stating that the Indian Air Force (IAF) had disqualified Rafale from the competition for not meeting minimum performance requirements of the IAF.[44]However, India's Defence Ministry dismissed these media reports and said that the Rafale was still in the race for the contract.[45]

In April 2011, the IAF shortlisted Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon for the $12 billion contract.[46]

Other bids

In January 2006, the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche reported that Libya wanted to order 13–18 Rafales "in a deal worth as much as $3.24 billion".[47] In December 2007, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi openly declared the Libyan interest in the Rafale.[48] Greece has also expressed an interest in the French fighter, possibly in exchange for its fleet of Mirages.[49] Libya did not order any Rafales; less than three years later during a Libyan uprising of 2011 in 2011, French Rafales were dispatched over Libya as a part of the 2011 military intervention in Libya; missiles such as SCALP EG were deployed from carrier-based Rafales.[50] During 2006, the British Royal Navy considered the Rafale as an alternative to the F-35 JSF, but decided to proceed with the F-35.[51][52] However the aircraft carriers will be modified in order to operate CATOBAR aircraft such as Rafales.[53]

In February 2007, it was reported that Switzerland was considering the Rafale and other fighters to replace its F-5 Tiger IIs.[54] The one month evaluation started in October 2008 at Emmen Airforce Base consisting of approx. 30 evaluation flights. The Rafale along with the Gripen and the Eurofighter were to be evaluated.[55] In September, La Tribune reported that a sale to Morocco had fallen through, the government selecting the F-16 instead.[56] In October 2007, La Tribune's earlier report appeared to have been confirmed that the Rafale would not be bought.[57]

In January 2008, O Estado de S. Paulo reported that the Brazilian Defence Minister visited France to discuss the possibility of acquiring Rafale fighters for the F-X2 program. In June 2008, the Brazilian Air Force divulged a Request For Information to the following companies and their aircraft: F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-35 Lightning II, Dassault Rafale, Su-35,Gripen NG and Eurofighter Typhoon.[58] In October 2008, it was reported that Brazilian Air Force had selected three finalists for F-X2; Dassault Rafale, Gripen NG and Boeing F/A-18E/F.[59] On 7 September 2009, during a visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Brazil announced a pact with France and that the nations are in contract negotiations to buy 36 Rafales.[60] The crash of two Rafales in the Mediterranean off Perpignan on 24 September 2009 after a midair collision, comes at a delicate time for the Brazil-France negotiations.[61] On 5 January 2010, media reports stated that the final evaluation report by the Brazilian Air Force placed the Gripen ahead of the other two contenders. The decisive factor was apparently the overall cost of the new fighters, both in terms of unit cost, and operating and maintenance costs.[62][63] Some sources say that Rafale was chosen by the Defense Ministry,[64] but there has been no confirmation on this. In February, 2011, the press announced that the new president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, had decided in favor of the American F-18 fighter.[65] On February 28, 2011, the Minister of Finance, Guido Mantega, said the issue would not be resolved in the current year, citing "lack of resources", due to budgetary constraints for the new fiscal year.[66]

In February 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that Kuwait was considering buying up to 28 Rafales, but with no firm order then. The same month, France offered Rafales to Oman to replace its ageing fleet of SEPECAT Jaguars.[67] But in 2010, Oman prefers to order the Typhoon.[68]

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was interested in a version of the Rafale that would be upgraded with more powerful engines and radar and advanced air to air missiles.[69] They have now started to explore a purchase of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.[70] This is reported to be because France's Defense Minister Hervé Morin has asked the UAE to pay 2 billion euros of the total cost to upgrade the Rafale.[71]

Leaked United States State Department cables have said that "French representatives have tried to spin the Rafale's dismal performance in the global market to be the result of U.S. government political pressure rather than the aircraft's shortcomings".[72]

On 28 April 2011, the Government of India MoD shortlisted Dassault Rafale along with Eurofighter Typhoon as a potential candidate for the US$ 10 billion Indian Air Force M-MRCA deal.


Rafale B/C
Dassault Rafale M.
Rafale A
A technology demonstrator that first flew in 1986. It has now been retired.
Rafale D
Dassault used this designation (D for discret or stealthy) in the early 1990s for the production versions for the Armée de l'Air, to emphasise the new semi-stealthy features they had added to the design.
Rafale B
This is the two-seater version for the Armée de l'Air; delivered to ECE 05.330 in 2004.
Rafale C
This is the single-seat version for the Armée de l'Air; delivered to ECE 05.330 in June 2004.
Rafale M
This is the carrier-borne version for the Aéronavale, which entered service in 2002. The Rafale M weighs about 500 kg (1,100 lb) more than the Rafale C. Very similar to the Rafale C in appearance, the M differs in the following respects:
  • Strengthened to withstand the rigors of carrier-based aviation
  • Stronger landing gear
  • Longer nose gear leg to provide a more nose-up attitude for catapult launches
  • Deleted front centre pylon (to give space for the longer gear)
  • Large stinger-type tailhook between the engines
  • Built-in power operated boarding ladder
  • Carrier microwave landing system
  • "Telemir" inertial reference platform that can receive updates from the carrier systems.
Rafale N
The Rafale N, originally called the Rafale BM, was planned to be a two-seater version for the Aéronavale. Budget constraints and the cost of training extra crew members have been cited as the grounds for its cancellation.


180 ordered,[38] 93 delivered as of December 2010[73]

Eurofighter Typhoon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Countries operating or ordering the Eurofighter Typhoon


On 2 July 2002, the Austrian government announced the decision to buy the Typhoon as its new air defence aircraft. The purchase of 18 Typhoons was agreed on 1 July 2003, and included training, logistics, maintenance, and a simulator. On 26 June 2007, Austrian Minister for Defense Norbert Darabos announced a reduction to 15 aircraft.[56] The first aircraft was delivered on 12 July 2007 and formally entered service in the Austrian Air Force.[57]

[edit]Saudi Arabia

After unsuccessful campaigns in South Korea and Singapore (losing in both cases to versions of the Boeing F-15E),[58] on 18 August 2006 it was announced that Saudi Arabia had agreed to purchase 72 Typhoons.[59] In November and December it was reported that Saudi Arabia had threatened to buy French Rafales because of a UK Serious Fraud Office investigation into the Al Yamamah ("the dove") defence deals which commenced in the 1980s.[60]

On 14 December 2006, Britain's attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, ordered that the Serious Fraud Office discontinue its investigation in the BAE Systems' alleged bribery to senior Saudi officials in the al-Yamamah contracts, citing "the need to safeguard national and international security".[61] The Times has raised the possibility that RAF production aircraft will be diverted as early Saudi Arabian aircraft, with the service forced to wait for its full complement of aircraft.[62] This arrangement would mirror the diversion of RAF Tornados to the RSAF. The Times has also reported that such an arrangement will make the UK purchase of its Tranche 3 commitments more likely.[62] On 17 September 2007, Saudi Arabia confirmed it had signed a GB£4.43 billion contract for 72 aircraft.[63] 24 aircraft will be at the Tranche 2 build standard, previously destined for the UK RAF, the first being delivered in 2008. The remaining 48 aircraft will be assembled in Saudi Arabia and delivered from 2011.[64] Saudi Arabia is considering an order of 24 additional jets in the future,[65] more recent reports suggest that number may be as high as 60[66] or 72,[67] but this may have been superseded by Saudi Arabia's request in August 2010 to purchase 84 new F-15s.[68]

On 29 September 2008 the United States Department of State gave approval for the sale, required because of the significant amount of American technology governed by the ITARprocess which was incorporated into the Eurofighter.[69][70]

On 22 October 2008, an aircraft in the full two-tone grey livery of the Royal Saudi Air Force flew for the first time at BAE Systems’ Warton Aerodrome, marking the start of an initial test flight programme for RSAF aircraft.[71]

Following the official handover event of the first Eurofighter Typhoon to the Royal Saudi Air Force on 11 June 2009, the delivery ferry flight took place, as planned, on 23 June 2009.

BAE has been training Saudi Arabian personnel at their factory in Warton, in preparation for setting up an assembly plant in Saudi Arabia.[72]

[edit]Potential customers


Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the bidders in the Indian MRCA competition, worth $11 billion, to supply the Indian Air Force with 126 "Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft". The other competitors are the Boeing F/A-18IN, Dassault Rafale, JAS 39 GripenNG/IN, Mikoyan MiG-35, and Lockheed Martin F-16IN Fighting Falcon.[73] Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of military air systems, said that India is invited to join the Eurofighter Typhoon programme as a partner. The production of the Eurofighter Typhoon will create thousands of new jobs in India and Europe. He also said that in order to win the contract, EADS would move avionics jobs from Germany to India.[74] The campaign is fully supported by the four European nations (Germany, United Kingdom, Spain and Italy), their four Air Forces and Europe's leading aerospace companies Alenia/Finmeccanica, BAE Systems and EADS.[75]

In July 2007, Indian Air Force's (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters, which were at Waddington for the bilateral air "Exercise Indradhanush-2007", trained in dogfights with RAF Typhoons.[76]

In January 2010, India's ambassador to Italy, Arif Shahid Khan, said that the Eurofighter was "leading the race" to win the MMRCA competition.[77] As per the announcement made on 27 April 2011 by the Ministry of Defence, the Government of India announced that the Eurofighter is one of two fighters selected for initial bidding for the multi-billion dollar deal of 126 Multi-role medium fighter aircraft. The other fighter shortlisted is the French Rafale. [78]


In March 2007, Jane's Information Group reported that the Typhoon was the favourite to win the contest for Japan's next-generation fighter requirement.[79] The other competitors then were the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-15E Strike Eagle.[79] On 17 October 2007, Japanese Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba confirmed that Japan may buy the Typhoon. Although theF-22 Raptor was in his words "exceptional", it was not "absolutely necessary for Japan", and the Typhoon was the best alternative.[80] The F-22 is currently unavailable for export per US law. During a visit to Japan in June 2009, Andy Latham of BAE pointed out that while F-22 exports were restricted to keep advanced military technology from falling into the wrong hands, selling the Typhoon would take a "no black box approach", that is that even licensed production and integration with Japanese equipment would not carry the risk of leakage of restricted military technology.[81] In July 2010, it was reported that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force favoured acquiring the F-35 ahead of the Typhoon and the F/A-18E/F to fulfil its F-X requirement due to its stealth characteristics, but the Defense Ministry was delaying its budget request to evaluate when the F-35 would be produced and delivered.[82] David Howell of the UK foreign office has asked Japan to help develop and adapt the Eurofighter.[83]


In 1999, the Greek government agreed to acquire 60 Typhoons in order to replace its existing second-generation combat aircraft.[84] The purchase was put on hold due to budget constraints, largely driven by other development programmes and the need to cover the cost of the 2004 Summer Olympics. In June 2006 the government announced a 22 billion euro multi-year acquisition plan intended to provide the necessary budgetary framework to enable the purchase of a next-generation fighter over the next 10 years. The Typhoon is currently under consideration to fill this requirement.[85]


During the 2008 Farnborough Airshow it was announced that Oman was in an "advanced stage" of discussions towards purchasing EF Typhoons as a replacement for its Jaguar aircraft.[86][87] Oman remained interested in ordering Typhoons in April 2010[88] though the Saab JAS 39 Gripen was also being considered.[89] Oman asked the USA for an order of 18 F-16s, which makes a Eurofighter order less likely.[90]

Other potential customers of the Typhoon are Denmark[91][92] and Romania. BAE Systems itself reports that Typhoon is "actively being promoted in a number of other markets including Greece, Switzerland, Turkey and Japan".[93] Turkey has indicated that it would rather just buy more F-35 Lightning II fighters and that the "Eurofighter is off Turkey's agenda".[94][95]

On 2 December 2009, BAE Systems stated it will propose the Typhoon as replacement for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Mikoyan MiG-29N which is to be phased out in late 2010. According to the Regional Director-Business Development Dave Potter, the Typhoon's multi-role capabilities allow it to replace the MiG-29N.[96] Other contenders include Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Boeing F-15, Dassault Rafale, JAS 39 Gripen NG, Sukhoi Su-35, and Lockheed F-16C/D block 52 Fighting Falcon.[97]

Serbia's government has shown interest in Eurofighter.[98]

The Qatar Emiri Air Force is, as of January 2011, evaluating the Typhoon together with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the Boeing F-15 and the Dassault Rafale to replace its current fighter inventory of Dassault Mirage 2000-5s. The total order will be between 24-36 aircraft with a procurement decision to be made by the end of 2012.[99][100]


In 2002, the MBDA Meteor was selected as the long range air-to-air missile armament of Eurofighter Typhoon.[101][102] Pending Meteor availability, Typhoon will be equipped with theRaytheon AMRAAM. The current in-service date for Meteor is predicted to be August 2012.[102]

In 2009, Eurofighter operators and manufacturers are considering upgrading the current fleet with the possibility of adding the MBDA Meteor missile and an Active Electronically Scanned Array radar.[53]

Eurojet is attempting to find funding to test a thrust vectoring nozzle (TVN) on a flight demonstrator.[103]

The RAF is working on fitting conformal fuel tanks (CFT) to free up limited underwing space for weapons.[104][N 2]


[edit]Airframe and avionics

The Typhoon features lightweight construction (82% composites consisting of 70% carbon fibre composites and 12% glass reinforced composites)[105] with an estimated lifespan of 6000 flying hours.[106]

The fighter achieves high agility at both supersonic and low speeds by having a relaxed stability design. It has a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire control system providing artificial stability, as manual operation alone could not compensate for the inherent instability. The fly-by-wire system is described as "carefree" by preventing the pilot from exceeding the permitted manoeuvre envelope.

Spanish Air Force Typhoon taking off in the RIAT 2007.

Roll control is primarily achieved by use of the wing flaperons. Pitch control is by operation of the foreplanes and flaperons, the yaw control is by rudder.[107] Control surfaces are moved through two independent hydraulic systems that are incorporated in the aircraft, which also supply various other items, such as the canopy, brakes and undercarriage. Each hydraulic system is powered by a 4000 psi engine-driven gearbox.[108]

Navigation is via both GPS and an inertial navigation system. The Typhoon can use Instrument Landing System (ILS) for landing in poor weather.

The aircraft employs a sophisticated and highly integrated Defensive Aids Sub-System named Praetorian[109] (formerly called EuroDASS).[110]Threat detection is provided by a Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and a Laser Warning Receiver (LWR, only for UK Typhoons). Protection is provided by Chaff, Jaff and Flares, Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) and a Towed Radar Decoy (TRD).[111]

Praetorian monitors and responds automatically to the outside world. It provides the pilot with an all-round prioritised assessment of Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface threats. It can respond to single or multiple threats.

The aircraft also features an advanced ground proximity warning system based on the TERPROM Terrain Referenced Navigation (TRN) system used by the Panavia Tornado but further enhanced and fully integrated into the cockpit displays and controls.[112]

The Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) provides the Link 16 data link.[113]


[edit]General features

MHDDs and pedestal panel with centre stick in the Typhoon cockpit

The Eurofighter Typhoon features a glass cockpit without any conventional instruments. It includes: three full colour multi-function head-down displays (MHDDs) (the formats on which are manipulated by means of softkeys, XY cursor, and voice (DVI) command), a wide angle Head Up Display (HUD) with forward-looking infrared (FLIR), voice and hands-on throttle and stick (Voice+HOTAS), Helmet Mounted Symbology System (HMSS) (known to test pilots as The Electric Hat), Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS), a manual data-entry facility (MDEF) located on the left glareshield and a fully integrated aircraft warning system with a dedicated warnings panel (DWP). Reversionary flying instruments, lit by LEDs, are located under a hinged right glareshield.[114]

The pilot flies the aircraft by means of a centre stick and left hand throttles. Emergency escape is provided by a Martin-Baker Mk.16A ejection seat, with the canopy being jettisoned by two rocket motors.[115]

[edit]Voice control

The Typhoon DVI system utilises a speech recognition module (SRM), developed by Smiths Aerospace (now GE Aviation Systems) and the then Computing Devices (now General Dynamics UK). It was the first production DVI system utilised in a military cockpit. DVI provides the pilot with an additional natural mode of command and control over approximately 26 non-critical cockpit functions, to reduce pilot workload, improve aircraft safety, and expand mission capabilities. An important technological breakthrough during the development of the DVI occurred in 1987 when Texas Instruments produced their TMS-320-C30 digital signal processor (DSP). This greatly advanced the packaging of DVI from large complex systems to a single card module. This early advance allowed a viable high performance system. The project was given the go ahead in July 1997, with development and pilot assessment carried out on the Eurofighter Active Cockpit Simulator at BAE Systems Warton.[116]

The DVI system is speaker-dependent; i.e., requires each pilot to create a template. It is not used for any safety-critical or weapon-critical tasks, such as weapon release or lowering of the undercarriage, but is used for a wide range of other cockpit functions.[117][118] Voice commands are confirmed by visual or aural feedback. The system is seen as a major design feature in the reduction of pilot workload and even allows the pilot to assign targets to himself with two simple voice commands, or to any of his wingmen with only five commands.[119]

[edit]g protection

In the standard aircraft, g protection is provided by the full-cover anti-g trousers (FCAGTs).[120] This specially developed g suit provides sustained protection up to 9 g. The Typhoon pilots of the German Air Force and Austrian Air Force wear a hydrostatic g-suit called Libelle (dragonfly) Multi G Plus instead,[121][122][123] which also provides protection to the arms, theoretically allowing for more complete g tolerance.

[edit]Design process

The design of the cockpit had involved the inputs from both test and operational pilots from each of the four partner nations from the feasibility and concept stage and throughout the design process. This has necessitated the use of specially commissioned lighting and display modelling simulation facilities and the extensive employment of rapid prototyping techniques.

[edit]Search and track system

The Passive Infra-Red Airborne Track Equipment (PIRATE) system is an infrared search and track system (IRST) mounted on the port side of the fuselage, forward of the windscreen.SELEX Galileo is the lead contractor which, along with Thales Optronics (system technical authority) and Tecnobit of Spain, make up the EUROFIRST consortium responsible for the system's design and development.

PIRATE operates in two IR bands, 3–5 and 8–11 micrometres. When used with the radar in an air-to-air role, it functions as an infrared search and track system, providing passive target detection and tracking. In an air-to-surface role, it performs target identification and acquisition. It also provides a navigation and landing aid. PIRATE is linked to the pilot’s helmet mounted display.[124]

Eurofighters starting with Tranche 1 block 5 have the PIRATE. The first Eurofighter Typhoon with PIRATE-IRST was delivered to the Italian Aeronautica Militare in August 2007.[125] More advanced targeting capabilities can be provided with the addition of a targeting pod such as the LITENING pod.[126]


Eurofighter 9803.ogg
Flight demonstration at WTD61Manching/Germany.
Gray jet fighter in-flight, adopting nose-up attitude against blue clear sky
A Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon T1

In 2004, United States Air Force Chief of Staff General John P. Jumper said after flying the Eurofighter, "I have flown all the air force jets. None was as good as the Eurofighter."[127][128]

The Typhoon's combat performance, compared to the F-22 Raptor and the upcoming F-35 Lightning II[129] fighters and the French Dassault Rafale, has been the subject of much discussion. In March 2005, Jumper, then the only person to have flown both the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Raptor, talked to Air Force Print News about these two aircraft. He said,

The Eurofighter is both agile and sophisticated, but is still difficult to compare to the F/A-22 Raptor. They are different kinds of airplanes to start with; it's like asking us to compare a NASCAR car with a Formula One car. They are both exciting in different ways, but they are designed for different levels of performance. …The Eurofighter is certainly, as far as smoothness of controls and the ability to pull (and sustain high g forces), very impressive. That is what it was designed to do, especially the version I flew, with the avionics, the color moving map displays, etc. — all absolutely top notch. The maneuverability of the airplane in close-in combat was also very impressive.

In July 2007, the Indian Air Force fielded the Su-30MKI during the Indra-Dhanush exercise with Royal Air Force's Typhoon. This was the first time that the two jets had taken part in such an exercise.[132][133] The IAF did not allow their pilots to use the MKI's radar during the exercise to protect the highly-classified N011M Bars.[134] During the exercise, the RAF pilots candidly admitted that the Su-30MKI displayed maneuvering superior to that of the Typhoon but they had studied, prepared and anticipated this. The IAF pilots on their part were also visibly impressed by the Typhoon's agility in the air.[135]

The Typhoon is capable of supersonic cruise without using afterburners (referred to as supercruise). According to the official German Luftwaffe and Austrian Eurofighter website, the maximum speed possible without reheat is between Mach 1.2 and Mach 1.5.[136] [N 3][138] Air Forces Monthly gives a maximum supercruise speed of Mach 1.1 for the RAF FGR4 multirole version.[139] It has been suggested, in contradiction to other sources that the Eurofighter Typhoon could only supercruise in a clean configuration without external missiles and fuel tanks.[135] While this is untrue, attention is drawn by these suggestions to the fact that not all weapons loadouts are necessarily certified for supersonic flight at all, even with afterburner.[citation needed]

The Eurofighter consortium claims their fighter has a larger sustained subsonic turn rate, sustained supersonic turn rate, and faster acceleration at Mach 0.9 at 20,000 feet (6,100 m) than the F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, Dassault Mirage 2000, Dassault Rafale, the Sukhoi Su-27, and the Mikoyan MiG-29.[140][141][142]

In 2005, a trainer Eurofighter T1 was reported to have had a chance encounter the previous year with two U.S. Air Force F-15Es over the Lake District in the north of England. The encounter became a mock dogfight with the Eurofighter allegedly emerging "victorious".[143]

In the 2005 Singapore evaluation, the Typhoon won all three combat tests, including one in which a single Typhoon defeated three RSAF F-16s, and reliably completed all planned flight tests.[144] In July 2009, Former Chief of Air Staff for the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, said that "The Eurofighter Typhoon is an excellent aircraft. It will be the backbone of the Royal Air Force along with the JSF".[145]

[edit]Air-to-ground capabilities

A Royal Air Force Eurofighter TyphoonFGR4 at Nellis AFB in Nevada, USA

The Typhoon is a multi-role fighter with maturing air-to-ground capabilities. Earlier than scheduled, the RAF integrated the air to ground capability, based on the Rafael[146]/Ultra Electronics Litening III laser designator[147] and the Enhanced Paveway II/III laser guided bomb[148]under the "Austere" programme.[149] A more comprehensive air-to-ground attack capability including Paveway IV, EGBU-16 bombs and a higher degree of automation will be achieved for all partner nations with the Phase 1 Enhancements currently in development.[150]

The absence of such a capability is believed to have been a factor in the type's rejection from Singapore's fighter competition in 2005. At the time it was claimed that Singapore was concerned about the delivery timescale and the ability of the Eurofighter partner nations to fund the current capability packages.[151] With the planned Phase 2 Enhancements Eurofighter GmbH hopes to increase the appeal of Typhoon to possible export customers and to make the aircraft more useful to partner air forces.[150]

[edit]Radar signature reduction features

Although not designated a stealth fighter, measures were taken to reduce the Typhoon's radar cross section (RCS), especially from the frontal aspect.[152][153] An example of these measures is that the Typhoon has jet inlets that conceal the front of the jet engine (a strong radar target) from radar. Many important potential radar targets, such as the wing, canard and fin leading edges, are highly swept, so will reflect radar energy well away from the front sector.[154]Some external weapons are mounted semi-recessed into the aircraft, partially shielding these missiles from incoming radar waves.[152] In addition radar absorbent materials (RAM) developed primarily by EADS/DASA coat many of the most significant reflectors, e.g. the wing leading edges, the intake edges and interior, the rudder surrounds, strakes, etc.[152][155]The Typhoon does not use internal storage of weapons. External mounting points are used instead, which increases its radar cross section but allows for more and larger stores.[156]

The Eurofighter operates automatic Emission Controls (EMCON) to reduce the Electro-Magnetic emissions of the current mechanically scanned Radar.[152] The Captor-M was the first NATO-Radar with three rather than two working channels, one intended for classification of jammer and for jamming suppression.[157] The German BW-Plan 2009 indicates that Germany will equip/retrofit the Luftwaffe's Eurofighters with the AESA Captor-E from 2012.[158] The conversion to AESA will give the Eurofighter a low probability of intercept radar with much better jam resistance.[159][160] These include an innovative design with a gimbal to meet RAF requirements for a wider scan field than a fixed AESA.[161] The coverage of a fixed AESA is limited to 120° in azimuth and elevation.[162]

According to the RAF, the Eurofighter's RCS is better than RAF requirements. Comments from BAE Systems suggest the radar return is around one quarter of that of the Tornado it replaces.[163] The Eurofighter is thought to have an RCS of less than one square metre in a clean configuration by author Doug Richardson, although no official value is available.[154]

Expected production summary
CountryTranche 1Tranche 2Tranche 3A[53]Total
Saudi Arabia1244872
United Kingdom536740[54]160
The change in Austria's order from 6 Tranche 1 and 12 Tranche 2 aircraft to 15 Tranche 1 jets led to a reduction in Tranche 1 quantities for the four partner nations, with a commensurate increase in Tranche 2 numbers. 24 Saudi aircraft were taken from UK Tranche 2 production, and were to have been replaced at the end of Tranche 2, but will now be accounted against the UK's Tranche 3A total.
This marks an effective reduction of 24 aircraft in the UK order total.[55