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Eurofighter Typhoon

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Eurofighter Typhoon at Farnborough (UK) in 2002.
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The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine multirole canard-delta fighter aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of European nations formed in 1983. The initial members were the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
In 1985 France withdrew in favour of the 100% French Avions de Combat Expérimentaux (ACX) project (which later became the Dassault Rafale). The remaining members agreed to split the development work between them as follows: British Aerospace (33%), Daimler-Benz (33%), Alenia[?] of Italy (21%), and CASA of Spain (13%).

Over the next five years, design work continued, aided by data from the British Aerospace EAP prototype which had first flown in 1986, and culminating in the first flight of the Typhoon prototype in 1994 (then just known as the Eurofighter EF 2000).
Despite many delays and controversies over cost, the Typhoon is now in series production. Current orders for the participating nations are 232 for the United Kingdom, 180 for Germany, 121 for Italy, and 87 for Spain. An extensive overseas sales effort has so far yielded just one firm order, 60 aircraft for Greece; with an order for 24 units from Austria pending.

In British service, the aircraft is supposed to replace the Tornado F3 and the Jaguar GR3A[?]. The Tornados will be replaced from 2006-2010, and the Jaguars from 2010-2014. Initial deliveries of the Typhoon to the RAF have begun. The first unit to form will be an Operational Conversion Unit[?] at RAF Conigsby[?] in 2004.

The Typhoon's combat performance, particularly compared to the upcoming F/A-22 Raptor and F-35 fighters under development in the United States, has been the subject of much speculation, much of it negative, though opinions differ. Making a complete assessment is impossible on publically available information. Whilst the Typhoon lacks the all-aspect stealth technology of the F/A-22, the design does incorporate many low-observable features resulting in a much smaller radar cross-section than earlier fighters. It is also capable of sustained supersonic cruise without using afterburners - the only fighter other than the F-22 capable of it. According to EADS, the maximum speed possible without reheat is Mach 1.5 (although this drops to Mach 1.2 with an air-to-air weapons load).


Eurofighter Typhoon.
Larger version



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