David Cenciotti, who does an outstanding job over at his Aviationist blog, has managed to get a hold of a Eurofighter test pilot to respond to some of Lockheed Martin’s claims about the F-35′s kinematic performance vis-à-vis a combat configured Typhoon. I’d tried to get a hold of Eurofighter, but to no avail.
Anyways, the Typhoon has always been an aerodynamic sports car of sorts, so I’m not particularly surprised by what Cenciotti’s source had to say. But, until we know more about the F-35 from the operational testers at Edwards and Nellis, it’s hard to say for sure how the jet really performs in an operational setting. Read that story here
I remember talking to the Luftwaffe’s Col Andreas Pfeiffer, commander of Jagdgeschwader 74, in Alaska last year during the Red Flag-Alaska exercises, and he was telling me about how the Typhoon could maintain Mach 1.2 or so (if I remember right, it was definitely at a good supersonic clip though) without afterburners even with the two external tanks, pylons and what not they were carrying. And if there is one thing you can say about the Typhoon, it’s that it’s fast.
The only thing I take issue with in Cenciotti’s post is this minor point, but it could be that he just glossed over it for the sake of simplicity: he refers to the Typhoons taking on the Raptors at Red Flag, that’s not entirely correct. The Raptors and Typhoons were both on the Blue side during the actual Red Flag-Alaska exercise; however they participated in a series of exercises prior to the Red Flag called Distant Frontier which included some basic fighter maneuvers encounters with the F-22.
In summary, the Typhoon is a magnificent aircraft, especially for the air superiority role. Now, if someone would let me fly one, of course, I’d be delighted.
On a related but different topic, Northrop Grumman released this video of the F-35′s AN/AAQ-37 Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System. The company has added hostile ground fire detection to the AAQ-37′s capabilities–they detected and located tanks that were firing live rounds during the run-up to an exercise.
“While being flown on Northrop Grumman’s BAC 1-11 test aircraft, the DAS detected and located tank fire from an operationally significant distance,” the company says. “The system is able to simultaneously detect and pinpoint the location of rockets and anti-aircraft artillery fired in a wide area.”
“The DAS continues to show its ability to gather and analyze data for a wide range of missions not initially contemplated for this sensor system,” says Mark Rossi, Northrop Grumman’s DAS business area director. “These flight test results are just the latest example of the situational awareness capability of this revolutionary technology in action.”
Northrop adds “although hostile fire detection is not an F-35 requirement for the DAS, the system design makes it ideal for this mission. This inherent capability enables DAS to harvest, process and deliver key battlespace information to ground forces and other aircraft autonomously, without the need for cueing or increasing pilot workload.”