The second Euro-fighter 2000 to be fitted with Euro-jet EJ200 engines, the Spanish CASA-assembled prototype DA6, had its maiden flight in late August. The first EJ200-powered aircraft, DA3, assembled by Alenia in Italy, first flew in 1995.

The DA3 logged 40 flights before its original 01A-standard engines were replaced by new 01C-standard units, incorporating improved aerodynamics. A routine strip-down of the removed 01A engines, which had accumulated 110 flight hours on the DA3 at altitudes of up to 36,000ft and speeds of up to Mach 1.2, "showed them to be in excellent condition, with no signs of wear of damage", says Euro-jet, a partnership between Italy's FiatAvio, MTU of Germany, ITP of Spain and the UK's Rolls-Royce.

The aircraft is now being used to test the digital engine control unit, in conjunction with the latest version of the EF2000's flight control system software.

Two more EJ200-powered EF2000s are due to be rolled out and have their maiden flights before the end of the year, at Daimler-Benz Aerospace in Germany and British Aerospace in the UK. The first two EF2000 prototypes, which are currently flying with Turbo-Union RB199 engines, will also be fitted with EJ200s during 1997.

The EJ200 is a two-spool turbofan with afterburner, and has a core sized to allow future thrust growth of up to 15%, "both for potential expansion of the EF2000's operational role and other market opportunities", says Euro-jet. The engine is being offered as an alternative power plant for the Saab JAS39 Gripen fighter, and to power the South Korean Samsung KTX-II advanced trainer.

FiatAvio is primarily responsible for the low-pressure (LP) shaft and turbine, while ITP manufactures the convergent/divergent nozzle and bypass duct. MTU is responsible for the LP and high-pressure (HP) compressors, and R-R has the combustion system, HP turbine and intermediate casing.

Source: Flight International