On a technical level, the much-delayed Eurofighter EF2000 project now appears to be making reasonable progress. Four prototypes (Development Aircraft 1, 2, 3 and 6), the last being the first two-seater, are now flying as part of the test programme. The remaining three prototype aircraft should all fly by around the end of the year. The third quarter of 1996, however, once again saw Germany struggling with its financial commitment to the programme, causing particular concern among UK circles that it might attempt to delay the project.

The original four-nation requirement was for almost 800 aircraft, although this has now been dropped to around 650 aircraft. Alenia, BAe, CASA and MBB formed the Munich-based Eurofighter Consortium in June 1986.

The Eurojet consortium, consisting of R-R, Fiat, MTU and SENER, ran the first EJ200 in November 1988. The Euroradar (GEC-Marconi/DASA/FIAR/Inisel) ECR-90 multi-mode radar was finally chosen in May 1990 after a two-year delay. Flight-testing is to begin aboard prototype DA5. Armament is to include an internal gun, plus advanced medium-range and short-range air-to-air missiles. The Eurofighter 2000 will be optimised for air-to-air roles.

Source: Flight International