599 Eurofighter TYPHOONs are on on order with 478 aircraft delivered; out of these 47 were delivered to five customers in the last 12 months. “We have been investing a lot to have the airframe fully up to speed,” Alberto Gutierrez, Head of Airbus Defence & Space (DS) Eurofighter Programme, in a presentation during the annual Trade Media Briefing 2016 (TMB16), said. P4E enhancements include DASS, low band extension, enhanced jamming, passive geolocation, enhanced weapon integration, and additional stores and weapons. “We are expecting to run MLU in 2025,” he informed.
Eurofighter TYPHOON has been proven in action, with the last 12 months involving Red Flag exercises, Baltic Air Policing, and in operation with the RAF over Syria/Iraq, and over Yemen with the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force. “Feedback from operation makes me extremely proud,” the head of Eurofighter programme boasted.
Continuous improvement on the aircraft is currently ongoing with several user nations contracts signed, e.g. a 5-year extension for logistic and engineering support services from 2017 onwards with the four core nations. Also, new customers are looking at aircraft deliveries by 2019, which is possible, according to the industry expert.
The latest contract was signed with Kuwait for 22 single seat and six twin seat Eurofighter TYPHOONs on 5 April. Kuwait has become the eighth customer. On export opportunities, Gutierrez told the audience that Malaysia under the lead of BAE Systems and the UK government has no news at the moment, while in Indonesia, “we believe we have a good offer to re-vitalise Indonesian industry."
“In the Gulf, we hope for new orders from existing customers, and are very interested in getting into Qatar,” he continued. “In Europe we believe we are a perfect candidate as a F-16 replacement. We are currently contesting the Danish desicion, and are awaiting the response. Finland has to replace F-18, as well as fighter-replacements in Belgium, and Poland. Switzerland also has to replace their old fighter fleet, and we believe we have to keep going in Europe. On top of that, Eurofighter TYPHOON is the best aircraft for Canadian government demands, and in terms of pricing and quality we are an excellent match. We are ready, we are keen to be involved with either Germany and Spain as the lead nation.”
On the topic of the German Air Force’s (Luftwaffe) Future Combat Air System (FCAS), Gutierrez said: “They want us to investigate a TORNADO replacement, complimentary to the Eurofighter TYPHOON. Man-Unmanned Teaming is one of the technologies involved. We believe it will be a non-manned aircraft that carries bombs, being controlled by a manned aircraft (a two pilot aircraft). We are currently working with the Luftwaffe, seeing that it will not be a starting from scratch aircraft, as it will not be inexpensive
On the topic of the E-Scan radar, the commitment by Kuwait, Germany, and Spain is already there, while the Italian Air Force is considering it. Upon contract signatures, the radar could be fielded by 2018, and Gutierrez expects production to begin 2017, with Kuwait possibly being the first customer.