Europe's defence industry champions may already be eyeing an opportunity to produce a future combat air system (FCAS), but the consortium behind its current fleet-leading type is convinced of its continued place in the fighter arena for many years to come.
Describing its in-service product as "the benchmark for European collaboration", Eurofighter chief executive Volker Paltzo says the Typhoon is "the best platform to carry, demonstrate and certify a host of technologies and deliver them as a mature capability for Europe".
Speaking at the Farnborough air show on 17 July, Paltzo said Eurofighter remains in discussion with partner nations Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK over a broad raft of enhancements for the twin-engined type, which he believes could support an FCAS programme.
"We are in a very intensive debate about the mid- and long-term evolution," Paltzo says. "There are more than 500 requirements we are discussing with our core nations on the future of this weapon system." Eurofighter hopes to finalise plans for new packages of enhancements later this year, he adds, stating: "It is more a subject of in which order we are going to deliver capability."
Eurofighter refers to "greater connectivity, sensor and data fusion" and a technology refresh for the Typhoon's cockpit, including the introduction of a high-resolution, large-area display as part of such evolution plans.
"The power, persistence, performance and payload of Eurofighter will always be required, and we will enhance all of these areas further," Paltzo says.
Referring to the UK's new Combat Air Strategy, which was released on the opening day of the show, and the unveiling of its Tempest concept for a future fighter, Paltzo says: "The announcement is fully in line with the strategy we are running for the Eurofighter Typhoon product and our further evolution." He also described as "encouraging" the strategy's inclusion of firm plans to further evolve the Royal Air Force's Typhoons.
While the UK's Team Tempest activity is advancing technologies for future combat systems wholly separately from a Franco/German project involving Airbus Defence & Space and Dassault, Paltzo concludes: "It is our belief that Europe will eventually converge on one FCAS solution."
Meanwhile, Eurofighter sales director Peter Maute is confident of it selling "three-digit numbers" of additional Typhoons over the coming years, and points to multiple sales opportunities in Europe, plus Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. "We are confident we will continue the production for a long period," he says.