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Eurofighter suffers first fatal crash in Spanish training accident

The crash of a Eurofighter Typhoon at Spain’s Morón air base on 24 August was the first fatal accident involving the type.

A lieutenant colonel from the Saudi Arabian air force was killed when the combat aircraft, which was on a training flight, crashed into the ground “moments after take-off” from the base near Seville, according to the Spanish ministry of defence.

Configured for dual control, the aircraft was being piloted by a Spanish air force commander instructor and the Saudi lieutenant colonel.

The Spanish instructor, who ejected, was declared to be “well” after attention at the base.

CITAAM, the Spanish body responsible for investigating military aircraft accidents, has despatched a team to Morón to identify the causes of the crash, which occurred at 09:30 local time.

Saudi Arabia contracted Spain to provide Typhoon pilot training after ordering 72 aircraft of the type in a government-to-government deal with the UK in 2007. It took delivery of its first two Typhoons in June 2009.

In 1998 Eurofighter’s four partner nations – the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain – signed an umbrella contract covering a total of 620 aircraft. Spain committed to 87, of which it has received 28, the first in October 2003. It has based its Eurofighter fleet at Morón.

The Morón accident was the first Eurofighter crash to bring loss of life, but not the first Eurofighter crash outright. That took place in November 2002, when DA6, a Spanish development prototype, crashed in Toledo following a double engine flame-out during a test flight. Both crew members ejected and were unharmed.

In an April 2008 incident, a Royal Air Force Typhoon was damaged in a wheels-up landing incident at the US Navy’s China Lake weapons test range in California. This was the second landing incident involving the UK’s Eurofighter fleet. In early 2006 an RAF Typhoon was damaged when its nose wheel failed to deploy.

In another landing incident, in April, an Austrian Typhoon sustained minor damage. Austria was the Typhoon’s first export customer, receiving the first of 15 in July 2007 and the last in September 2009.

The Eurofighter consortium comprises Alenia Aeronautica (21%), BAE Systems (33%), EADS Casa (13%) and EADS Deutschland (33%).

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