Near-term development of the Eurojet EJ200 engine for the Eurofighter is targeted at improving the engine's life-cycle costs rather than increasing thrust.

Eurojet managing director Hartmut Tenter says the company is talking to Eurofighter management agency NETMA about future engine enhancements for tranche 2 and 3 production. Tenter says: "The top item is reduction in life-cycle costs." Airframe and systems development talks are also ongoing (Flight International, 23-29 April).

Rolls-Royce EJ200 chief engineer Brian Allen says Eurojet - which comprises FiatAvio, ITP and MTU, as well as the UK company - is aiming initially for a 25% improvement in the engine's installed time from 1,600h to 2,000h.

The plan is to insert current technologies into the engine to reduce costs or improve performance, with a phased programme allowing the "enhancement packages" to be retrofitted into existing engines if required. One likely change is the fitting of high-pressure turbine blades with improved cooling using FiatAvio and R-R technology, much of which is related to improved manufacturing techniques allowing the introduction of more cooling passages, says Allen.

Potential changes include a low-pressure compressor enhancement, improved diagnostics and prognostics, variable area reheat colander and a thrust-vectoring nozzle (TVN), says Allen.

Interest is centred on two-dimensional TVNs to improve aerodynamics, particularly during cruise as trim drag can be eliminated and the nozzle shape can be changed to improve the flow around the rear of the aircraft.

R-R wants to launch the programme this year, to allow the early introduction of improvements, possibly before tranche 2 engine deliveries begin in 2005.

Source: Flight International