Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed flight-testing of a package of aerodynamic upgrades to the Eurofighter Typhoon swing-role fighter that promises to enhance further the aircraft’s agility and weapons-carrying ability. The Aerodynamic Modification Kit (AMK) is part of a wider Eurofighter Enhanced Maneuverability (EFEM) programme with the potential to help ensure the type is continuing superiority for many years to come.
It entails primarily the addition of fuselage strakes and leading-edge root extensions, which increase the maximum lift created by the wing by 25% – resulting in an increased turn rate, tighter turning radius, and improved nose-pointing ability at low speed – all critical fighter capabilities in air-to-air combat.
The introduction of the AMK will not only enhance the Eurofighter’s current capability as a swing-role fighter-bomber, but will provide additional growth potential, enabling easier integration of future air-to-surface configurations and much more flexible applications, vastly enhancing the aircraft’s mission effectiveness in the air-to-surface role.
Eurofighter Project Pilot Germany Raffaele Beltrame said: «This programme has been a tremendous success with very impressive results – in some areas even better than we expected. We saw angle of attack values around 45% greater than on the standard aircraft, and roll rates up to 100% higher, all leading to increased agility. The handling qualities appeared to be markedly improved, providing more maneuverability, agility and precision while performing tasks representative of in-service operations. In addition, it is extremely interesting to consider the potential benefits in the air-to-surface configuration thanks to the increased variety and flexibility of stores that can be carried. It is right to say that the EFEM/AMK work has allowed us to discover a new aircraft with much higher performance and greater potential to meet the challenges of the years ahead».
The flight trials followed some five years of studies. Eurofighter test pilots, joined in the latter stages by operational pilots from Germany, Italy and the UK, completed 36 sorties from Manching, Germany on the IPA7 Instrumented Production Aircraft.
The EJ200 has been designed with inherent growth potential up to 15%. Enhancements in the compression system and latest innovations in core engine technology could deliver up to 30% increased power. This performance improvement may also be traded for life cycle cost improvements, maintaining current thrust levels. This flexibility is enabled by the advanced Digital Engine Control and Monitoring Unit (DECMU), fully exploiting the advantages of the enhanced engine in line with operational requirements.
|Thrust / Weight ratio||~10:1|
|Overall pressure ratio||26:1|
|Overall length||157 inch/4 m|
|Inlet diameter||29 inch/0.74 m|
|Digital Engine Control and Monitoring Unit (DECMU)|
|Wingspan||35 feet 11 inch/10.95 m|
|Length overall||52 feet 4 inch/15.96 m|
|Height||17 feet 4 inch/5.28 m|
|Wing Area||551.1 feet2/51.2 m2|
|Basic Mass Empty||24,250 lbs/11,000 kg|
|Maximum Take-Off||>51,809 lbs/23,500 kg|
|Maximum External Load||>16,535 lbs/7,500 kg|
|Single seat twin-engine, with a two-seat variant|
|Weapon Carriage||13 Hardpoints|
|G’ limits||+9/-3 ‘g’|
|Engines||Two Eurojet EJ200 reheated turbofans|
|Maximum dry thrust class||13,500 lbs/6,124 kgf/60 kN|
|Maximum reheat thrust class||20,000 lbs/9,072 kgf/90 kN|
|GENERAL PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS|
|Ceiling||>55,000 feet/16,764 m|
|Brakes off to 35,000 feet(10,668 m)/Mach 1.5||<2.5 minutes|
|Brakes off to lift off||<8 seconds|
|At low level, 200 knots/230 mph/370 km/h to Mach 1.0||in 30 seconds|
|Maximum Speed||Mach 2.0|
|Operational Runway Length||<2,297 feet/700 m|
|Carbon Fibre Composites (CFC)||70%|
|Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP)||12%|
|Aluminium Alloy, Titanium Alloy||15%|
|Acrylic (Röhm 249)||3%|
|United Kingdom||232 Aircraft|
|Kingdom of Saudi Arabia||72 Aircraft|
|Sultanate of Oman||12 Aircraft|