Engine surges caused DA6 crash

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The initial investigation into the crash of a Eurofighter development aircraft (DA) in Spain on 21 November has identified surges on both engines as the cause.

A source close to the investigation says both Eurojet EJ200s on the EADS Casa-operated DA6 surged before failing. Relight attempts failed and the pilots ejected.

The two engines were pre-production examples, and the investigation team has requested further information on some components. It is due to report further findings in the first half of next month.

The investigators have recommended that this engine is no longer flown. One similar engine was fitted to an aircraft and has now been removed.

Last week, Eurofighter was expected to return the eight remaining test aircraft to the air. German, Italian and Spanish serial production aircraft are due to fly this year, with handover of the German aircraft expected in January.

Meanwhile, the UK government is delaying contractual service entry and handover to the Royal Air Force until June 2003. Under-secretary of state for defence Dr Lewis Moonie says gathering the necessary flight safety and performance data is taking longer than scheduled.