Paris Air Show

Paris 2011: Eurofighter Consortium Announces Typhoon 2020 Plan

 - June 23, 2011, 1:45 AM

Eurofighter confirmed in Paris yesterday that an AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar would enter service on the Typhoon in 2015, and announced the start of flight trials with the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM (beyond-visual-range, air-to-air missile).

The company also unveiled a “Typhoon 2020” concept with a host of improvements, most of which are not yet under contract. Even the AESA radar, which is so necessary to secure export customers, has not yet been funded by the four Eurofighter partner nations.

Two industry sources told AIN that German, Italian, Spanish and UK governments did sign a letter of intent yesterday to eventually introduce the Captor e-scan radar on their aircraft. But a Eurofighter press release on the new radar made no mention of the letter. AIN understands that the nations have agreed to eventually pay back Eurofighter and Euroradar for the development.

Eurofighter said that the Captor E-scan array will be “larger than the ones available to our competitors, thanks to the Typhoon’s voluminous radome,” and also referred to the repositioner that will provide the radar with a wider field of regard than “those installed or scheduled on other fighters.”

BAE Systems has recently flown carriage trials of the Meteor missile on the first production Typhoon, with separation trials to follow. But there is no word yet on when the next-generation missile will be fully integrated.

The Meteor is being developed by the four Eurofighter countries, plus France and Sweden. The latter two governments have already committed to full integration on the Rafale and Gripen fighters, respectively.

Eurofighter declined to discuss the Typhoon 2020 evolution in detail here. As things stand, the nations have approved only a first phase of enhancements, comprising full integration of laser designator pods, and laser/GPS-guided GBU-16 and Paveway IV bombs. (The UK introduced an interim precision air-to-ground capability with Litening pods and Enhanced Paveway II bombs that was debuted in combat over Libya recently and described in our opening edition here at Paris).

Phase One also includes interoperability updates to the Typhoon’s multifunctional information distribution system (MIDS) and IFF, and improvements to the autopilot.