Eurofighter has begun flight testing the more-capable avionics for Tranche 2 Typhoon multi-role fighters, deliveries of which will begin in summer 2008.

The sixth instrumented production aircraft, IPA6, completed its 54min first flight with the Tranche 2 avionics from BAE Systems' Warton, UK facility on 1 November.

Tranche 2 improvements include new mission computers with increased processing power and memory capacity, allowing the integration of weapons including the MBDA Meteor air-to-air missile and MBDA Storm Shadow and Taurus Systems Taurus stand-off missiles.

Typhoon IPA6 Tranche 2
IPA6 takes off on first Tranche 2 avionics flight                                     © Eurofighter

IPA6  is a Tranche 1-standard aircraft that has been fitted with the Tranche 2 mission computer and avionics features. IPA7 is the first aircraft representing the full Tranche 2 build standard and is expected to fly at EADS's Manching, Germany site before the end of 2007.

Flight testing of the Tranche 2-standard Eurojet EJ200 engine began in Italy in September, using aircraft IPA2 operated by Eurofighter partner Alenia.

IPA6 will be used for flight testing at BAE Warton, aiming for type acceptance of the first Tranche 2 capability standard, called Block 8, in April 2008.

The Eurofighter consortium is under contract to deliver 251 second-tranche Typhoons: 91 to the UK, 79 to Germany, 47 to Italy and 34 to Spain. Deliveries will continue to 2013.