Consortium hopes for mid-year contract for upgrade to weapon package, to include beyond-visual-range AAM
The Eurofighter consortium is in talks with the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) over capability enhancements to the multinational Typhoon strike aircraft, including the integration of MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (AAM).
MBDA's Meteor is among a package of enhancements planned for the Typhoon
Presented to NETMA last December, the package of proposed improvements is expected to come under contract by mid-year, Eurofighter officials said earlier this month in Seville. The company will then seek approval for the aircraft’s final operational clearance from NETMA by mid-2007, with this to include the UK’s “austere” air-to-ground package of Rafael Litening III targeting pods and Raytheon Enhanced Paveway laser-guided bombs.
Eurofighter partner companies Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems, EADS Casa and EADS Deutschland had delivered 73 production Typhoons and five instrumented production aircraft by late last month, including 25 operational aircraft to the UK, 21 to Germany, 14 to Italy and 13 to Spain.
The Typhoon fleet has now amassed over 10,500 flight hours, including 6,350h flown by the partner air forces by late January.
The programme’s four partner nations have signed a framework contract for 620 Typhoons and 90 options and signed firm orders for an initial two tranches totalling 384 aircraft.
The Typhoon’s first export customer, Austria, will meanwhile receive its first of 18 single-seat fighters in May next year. Current export targets for the consortium include Greece, India, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Turkey.
CRAIG HOYLE / SEVILLE
Source: Flight International