UK Skies
Your guide to the UK's Aircraft Past & Present

Euro Fighter Typhoon

Euro Fighter Typhoon

The above photo was taken in Berlin, Germany - on July 2nd 2016 at Berlin-Schoneveld airport.

A twin-engine, multirole fighter with a distinct canard-delta wing design

As a joint project between a consortium of European aerospace companies, the Eurofighter Typhoon concept was started as early as 1983 as a fourth generation fighter. This multinational collaboration featured the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, although France eventually left the group.

The Typhoon is a twin-engine, multirole fighter with a distinct canard-delta wing design with its initial brief to be an out-and-out fighter aircraft in either an offensive or defensive role. For this reason, it is incredibly agile and manoeuvrable.

Typhoon development

Throughout the 1970’s a range of European countries were working on their own new fighter designs. Although many were tested, they did not proceed past the prototype stage. In 1983, Italy, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Spain decided to collaborate and build and aircraft together. This became the ‘Future European Fighter’ programme (FEFA). All parties agreed that the fighter should be able to operate from forward airfields in a conflict situation and therefore needed short take-off and landing ability as well as being able to operate beyond visual range, in other words down enemies from miles away.

France soon wanted a carrier version and started to demand a more influential role in the design of the aircraft. The other parties withdrew and established a new programme, without France and Spain. Spain eventually returned to the fold while France went on to design their own fighter, the Dassault Rafale.

This new programme produced its first aircraft by April 1986 and the EAP as it was called, first flew on 6 August that year. The Eurofighter’s final design would stem from this aircraft. The Eurofighter itself flew for the first time on 27 March 1994.

Eurofighter Typhoon Flight Demonstration - Farnborough Airshow 2016

Eurofighter variants

With its initial design as an out-and-out fighter, the Eurofighter does not have many variants. In fact, very little has changed about the aircraft over the years, although armament wise, it does now feature a few more ground attack options than before. This does allow it to act in a ‘fighter-bomber’ capacity or as a strike aircraft when little enemy air defence is present.

These are the versions of the Eurofighter that have found themselves deployed with a number of air forces throughout Europe. These include those of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Typhoon T1

These are two seat trainers that remain part of the BAE fleet. Many modifications have first been carried out on these aircraft before those in any of the operational air forces.

Typhoon F2

This is the fighter version of the Typhoon which most of the above-mentioned air forces operate.

Typhoon T3

These are upgraded T1 Typhoons and are also two seat trainers.

Typhoon FGR4

The multi-role version of the Typhoon capable of fighter, ground attack and recon missions. Again this is operated by a few European air forces.

Naval Typhoon

Although discussed as a possibility for use on UK carriers, the Naval Typhoon was dropped in favour of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II (VTOL). Some operators, most notably India, still favour a naval conversion. A prototype was built but is still undergoing trials to see if it is compatible with Indian aircraft carriers.

The role of the UK in the development of the Typhoon

The United Kingdom has played a massive role in the development of the Typhoon since its inception as part of the Future European Fighter programme. As with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, BAE Systems has played a large part in the production of the Typhoon, including contributing many crucial systems to the aircraft as well as major parts. Some of these include:

  • Aft fuselage (stage 1)
  • Vertical stabiliser
  • Canards
  • Inboard flaperons
  • Forward fuselage cockpit assembly
  • Striker helmet system
  • E-scan radar system

BAE contributes around 33% of the work share on each aircraft constructed and are also involved in the various aspects of maintenance of both physical aircraft parts and certain onboard systems.

Eurofighter Typhoon in Games & Movies

The Eurofighter Typhoon has appeared in a number of air combat flight sims including Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X 1 and 2, an aircraft add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Ace Combat 6 and various other older games. All these games offer you a good feel of the flight experience of the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The Typhoon has also appeared in a number of movies and tv series including Resident Evil 6 and a British TV series about spies know as Spooks.

Eurofighter Typhoon specs

Herewith the specifications for the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4.

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 15.96m
  • Wingspan: 10.95m
  • Height: 5.28m
  • Weight: 11,000kg
  • Powerplant: 2 x EuroJet EJ afterburning turbofans
  • Thrust: 20,250lb
  • Max speed: Mach 1,8 (2,495 km/h)
  • Max range: 2,900km
  • Max altitude: 19,810m
  • Guns: 1 x 27mm Mauser internal cannon
  • Hardpoints: 13 x external pylons

Armament: A range of air to air, air to ground and air to ship ordinance.