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Eurojet aims EJ200 variant at thrust vectored Gripen

Eurojet, the Eurofighter powerplant manufacturer, is offering an uprated version of its EJ200 engine to power a thrust-vectored Saab/British Aerospace Gripen demonstrator.

The company says that a 700h flight test programme is being planned to explore thrust vectoring on a standard Gripen airframe for the export market. Eurojet has proposed to Saab a 102kN (23,000lb)-thrust version of its engine, called the EJ230, combined with an axisymmetric thrust-vectoring nozzle from Spanish Eurojet partner ITP, and a control system from Daimler-Benz Aerospace (Dasa) subsidiary MTU.

According to Eurojet, the increased thrust will be achieved by measures including the addition of a new higher pressure-ratio fan.

Eurojet says that it is in competition with the General Electric F414 with an AVEN thrust-vectoring nozzle. The current version of the Gripen is powered by the Volvo Aero RM12, a licence-produced GE F404.

Eurojet says that a powerplant selection is expected for the programme in December. Starting in July, the international consortium is to run 70-100h of bench tests in Madrid on an EJ200 fitted with the ITP nozzle. After the flight test programme, the company is hoping for certification of the thrust- vectoring powerplant in 2004.

According to MTU president and chief executive Rainer Hertrich, the Eurojet partners "-would like to offer Sweden participation in the EJ200", with Volvo Aero being seen as a potential partner in a consortium which already includes Fiat, ITP, MTU and Rolls-Royce.

Eurojet is also investigating a "dry", non-afterburning version of the engine as a potential replacement powerplant on the AMX International AMX. Such a dry engine, rated at 75kN, is also being studied by German Eurojet partner MTU to power Dasa's proposed AT-2000 jet trainer, with a 90kNversion powering the ground attack version.

nDasa and ITP are in discussions on using the Spanish company's thrust-vectoring nozzle on the Rockwell/Dasa X-31 Vectorprogramme. The Vectoris a long-awaited successor to the X-31.

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