Eurofighter plans long-term future

Plans to ensure the viability of the Eurofighter Typhoon until it can be replaced by proposed nextgeneration systems such as the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System (FCAS) and British-led Tempest were revealed at the Paris Air Show.

Contracts worth €53.7 million were signed by the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), Eurofighter and engine maker Eurojet Turbo for studies supporting the future development of the Typhoon weapon system.

The studies will provide a roadmap for the type, continuing work done, for instance, under the United Kingdom’s Project Centurion.

Raffael Klaschka, head of marketing for Eurofighter Studies explained that trials lasting 19 months for the airframe, and nine months for the EJ200 engine will be conducted.

The studies will look into ways to improve the engine’s performance, providing more thrust and range as well as introducing innovative cooling techniques.

Possible avionics improvements include modernising the Typhoon’s high-speed data networks and improving target data management, upgrading the pilot’s helmet and introducing a new large-area display.

Smoother, faster data management will be crucial in the networked battle space of the future where the Typhoon will be utilising information gathered by various remote sensors to fulfil its own mission together with those of UAVs acting as loyal wingmen.

Klaschka said Eurofighter’s electronic warfare suite will be upgraded to allow survival in the expected highly contested, congested operating environment where networked, agile, programmable, and updatable weapons, such as the S-400 and Pantsir S1, will present an extremely challenging threat level.

Ways to improve the physical stealth characteristics of the airframe will be investigated, although this work will probably be confined to developing stealth coatings rather than re-designing the airframe’s profile.