The Eurofighter programme hit a new high at the Paris air show, with the Typhoon having its busiest ever operational year and further sales prospects coming into view.
Raffael Klaschka, Eurofighter's head of marketing, announced at the show that Eurofighter operators have exceeded a combined 400,000 flight hours with the multirole aircraft. This includes during current high-tempo activities in support of combat in the Middle East – including the UK Royal Air Force's involvement over Syria – and supporting Baltic Air Policing commitments for NATO.
"This has been the busiest year for Eurofighter operations," he says, adding: "The aircraft has proven itself every day."
Pointing to the consortium's delivery of 508 aircraft to six nations so far, Klaschka notes: "We have the largest order intake of new-generation fighters, and the most delivered." UK partner company BAE Systems is also poised to ferry the first of 12 Typhoons to Oman. The Gulf state will follow Austria, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the UK in operating the type, while Kuwait also has 18 on order.
"We are confident that we will sell more aircraft internationally," says Klaschka, a former Luftwaffe Typhoon and McDonnell Douglas F-4F pilot.
New capabilities are coming soon for the jet, with the consortium having completed all required firings with MBDA's Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile and Storm Shadow cruise missile. "We have got good initial feedback, and there are no more planned test activities required for Meteor and Storm Shadow," he says. The weapons are being incorporated as part of a Phase 2 Enhancement package for the Typhoon.
Eurofighter and MBDA are also poised to conduct first live firings with the European company's Brimstone air-to-surface missile "imminently".
Klaschka says Eurofighter plans to introduce other enhancements for the Typhoon, following operational experience gained by its users. "We are in a fruitful dialogue with our customers, and are looking forward to the implementation of a few new capabilities, which will bring the Typhoon another step forward for the decades to come." He declines to provide details of such modifications, however.
"The operators tell us what they need, and we make sure they get it on time," Klaschka says.