Airbus signed a contract on November 11 to deliver 38 new-build Tranche 4 Eurofighter EF-2000 multi-role fighters to Germany as the nation seeks to replace its older Tranche 1 aircraft under Project Quadriga.
The signing of this contract comes less than a week after the German government approved the EUR€5.5bn purchase of 38 new-build Tranche 4 Eurofighters – comprising 30 single-seat examples and eight two-seaters. Three of these aircraft will come equipped with additional test equipment and will be used as instrumented test aircraft to support the further developments within the Eurofighter programme. With deliveries scheduled to begin in 2025, the ‘Quadriga’ deal will secure Eurofighter production until 2030.
Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “The new Tranche 4 Eurofighter is currently the most modern European-built combat aircraft with a service life well beyond 2060. Its technical capabilities will allow full integration into the European Future Combat Air System (FCAS).”
Airbus adds that the ‘Quadriga’ deal comes at a “strategically important time for the programme.” In addition to the latest purchase from Germany, the Eurofighter consortium is expecting an order for 20 new-build examples from Spain as the nation seeks to replace its Canary Island-based Boeing F/A-18A Hornets. The purchase also comes ahead of procurement decisions in Switzerland and Finland for new multi-role fighters, both of which are expected to be made in 2021.
The new-build Tranche 4 EF-2000s will feature the latest Phase 3 Enhancements (P3E), ‘future-proof’ hardware/software and will be equipped with the E-Scan active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. In June 2020, the German parliament approved the development, production and integration of the same AESA radar system on the air force’s Tranche 2 and 3 Eurofighters.
The E-Scan radar will enable German EF-2000 pilots to better detect, identify and track both air-to-air and air-to-ground targets. It can handle several targets simultaneously and has a higher immunity to countermeasures and interference.