The Typhoon, also known as the Eurofighter, is the worlds most advanced multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft. It is able to reach speeds close to Mach 2, or about 1400 mph. The Typhoon provides the RAF with multi-role combat aircraft, capable of being deployed in the full spectrum of air operations, from air policing, to peace support, through to high intensity conflict. I was fortunate to attend the 2017 Southport Airshow when a Typhoon display was flown by Flight Lt Ryan Lawton of 19(R) Squadron which is based at RAF Coningsby
The aircraft is designed to be upgraded and extended in order to provide decades of effective use. Combining a proven, agile airframe built from stealth materials with the latest sensor, control and weapons systems delivers optimum combat capability-both beyond visual range (BVR) and in close combat.
The weapons systems, navigation technologies and control infrastructure are all designed to be upgraded to continue to enhance the overall performance of the aircraft.
The aircraft is built with advanced composite materials to deliver to deliver a low radar profile and strong airframe. Only 15% of the aircraft’s surface is metal, delivering stealth operation from the radar-based systems. Pilots were included in the design from the earliest stages to develop a deliberately unstable airframe that can be flown effectively. This delivers both superior manoeuvrability at supersonic speeds and efficient supersonic capability to support the widest range of combat scenarios.
Strong, lightweight composite materials were key to the design of the Eurofighter Typhoon to give it deliberate instability, using composite’s means the weight of the airframe is 30% less than for traditional materials, boosting range and performance as well as reducing the radar signature.
The innovative production techniques developed for Eurofighter Typhoon are created a whole new industry for the most composite materials. These provide for greater tensile strength and more aerodynamic performance with less weight and more reliability than traditional materials.
The Captor-M mechanically scanned radar is the best–in-class radar, offering an extensive suite of modes to meet customer’s operational requirements, as well as proving a very competitive field of regard.
The Captor-E electronically scanned radar is the future primary sensor on Eurofighter Typhoon and has a full suite of Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface modes. The capacious aperture of the Eurofighter Typhoon allows the installation of Captor-E’s optimised and repositionable array whose field is some 50 per cent wider than traditional fixed plate systems.
This wide field of regard offers significant benefits in both Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface engagements and given the large power and aperture available provides the pilot with much enhanced angular coverage compared to fixed plate systems.
Search Modes-Range While Search(RWS), Velocity Search(VS) and multiple target Track While Scan (TWS)
Lock-Follow Modes, which are tailored for long range tracking and short range tracking for use in visual identification or gun attacks.
Air Combat Acquisition Modes allowing a choice of boresight, vertical scan HUD field of view or slaved acquisition.
Search Modes-Ground Map, High Resolution Map, Ground Moving Target Identification and Sea Surface Search and Track While Scan.
Track Modes-Fixed Target Track and Moving Target Track
Throughout the design process of the Eurofighter Typhoon, the needs for a single seat have been paramount. This has meant high levels of attention have been paid to the controls and information interfaces throughout the unique glass cockpit, from the heads-up, head-down and head-out systems to all-round vision. High workload situations were analysed to established information priorities and automate tasks.
The advanced cockpit design and layout is based on an extensive series of formal assessments in a rapid prototype facility, undertaken by operational pilots from air forces flying the Eurofighter Typhoon. Using and upgrading the advanced digital technology not only enhances operation and survivability, but also simplifies aircraft maintenance.
Other features such as Direct Voice Input (DVI) and Hands on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) control functions have been implemented on the Eurofighter Typhoon to drastically reduce the pilots workload. Voice +Throttle And Stick (VTAS) enables single pilot operations even in the most demanding Air-To-Air, Air-To-Surface and swing-role missions.
The latest sensor technology supports automated and inherently covert operation down to 100ft. Eurofighter Typhoon’s navigation aids include a global positioning system (GPS) for full digital interface with individual satellite tracking channels and improved anti-jam capabilities. The package also includes an inertial navigation system with GPS. In addition, The navigation system features integrated lateral cueing and vertical commands, ensuring safe manoeuvre with 3D situational awareness.
The Flight Control system(FCS) is a fully authority and quadruplex digital system which allows carefree handling and manoeuvring in all situations. Its intuitive operation is designed to enable the pilot to concentrate on the tactical tasks and to fly the Aircraft ‘head-up’ in combination with the HOTAS (Hands-On–Throttle-and-Stick) concept applied to cockpit design. Automated Emergency Recovery features have also been embodied in the systems design to ensure maximum safety of operation.
The Mk 16A ejection seat on the Eurofighter Typhoon is 30% lighter than equivalent ejection seats. This is achieved by combining the twin ejection gun outer cylinder tubes as both the propulsion system and the seat’s primary structure. The narrow head box also contributes to the Eurofighter Typhoon’s excellent rear vision.
The seat integrates an on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS) and communications systems. The simplified combined harness allows unassisted strap-in, and the passive leg restraint system avoids the need for the pilots to wear restraining garters. A second generation electronic sequencer also incorporated. Reliability and maintainability are key elements of the design, with full access to in- cockpit to in-house components.
Normal access to the cockpit is through either a telescopic integral ladder or an external version. The integral ladder is stowed in the port side of the fuselage below the cockpit.
Throughout the aircraft flexible couplings connect the fuel pipework built into three main fuselage sections and wings. These provide a simple method to connect the fuel tanks.
Developing cutting –edge engine technology has been a key part of the Eurofighter Typhoon project from the start. Four global companies have jointly developed the high performance Ej200 power plants that each provide 90Kn Of thrust from a small lightweight engine with high strength and high temperature capability.
The two-spool design with single- stage turbines drives the three-stage fan and five stage HP compressors with annular combustion with vaporising burners. This allows Eurofighter Typhoon to cruise at supersonic speeds without the reheat for extended periods. The engine delivers 1000 flying hours without needing unscheduled maintenance through the use of advanced integrated Health
Eurofighter Typhoon is at the forefront of sensor fusion technology and the sensor suite continues to be upgraded to deliver enhanced detection and decision making. Combining the data from key sensors gives the pilot an autonomous ability to rapidly assess the overall tactical situation and respond efficiently to identified threats.
HELMET MOUNTED SYMBOLOGY SYSTEM (HMSS)
Eurofighter Typhoon utilises a unique Helmet Mounted Symbology System (HMSS), alongside six other pilot display surfaces. HMSS provides flight reference and weapon data aiming through the visor. It is fully compatible with night vision aids using light intensification and Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) imagery. It is therefore offers pilot a significant competitive advantage.
The Helmet is composed of an outer helmet, inner helmet, optics blast /display visor, oxygen mask, night vision enhancement camera and head position tracking system.
As well as Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles (SRAAM’s) and the27mm Mauser Cannon the Eurofighter Typhoon carries the latest beyond-visual-range (BVR) Air-to-Air missile technology. Soon the METEOR advanced long-range missiles will provide the largest No Escape Zone of any Air-To-Air weapon, resulting in a long stand-off range and high probability of interception to ensure air superiority and pilot survivability. Guidance is provided by an active radar seeker with mid-course updates via data link.
The Laser Designator Pod (LDP) enables precise location of targets and guidance of targets and guidance of Air-To-Surface weapons.
Eurofighter Typhoon has also been upgraded with Paveway IV to provide high levels of operational flexibility. The combat proven dual-mode guidance system, coupled with height of burst and penetrating capability, enable the decision of target engagement to be made right up to the point of release.
Eurofighter Typhoon will see the constant integration of new, smart weapons in accordance with the demands of current and future customers.
Storm Shadow, Taurus, Small Diameter Bombs, Brimstone, Anti-Shipping Missiles are just a few of some of upgrades planned.