Germany’s first Eurofighter receives P2Eb software upgrade

For the first time, a Luftwaffe (German Air Force)-operated Eurofighter EF-2000 multi-role fighter has been integrated with new PE2b software – an innovative package which includes a number of capability upgrades.

The Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) announced that EF-2000 – serial 31+35 (c/n GS095) – had been equipped with the PE2b software on April 26. It added that the multi-role fighter, assigned to Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 74 (TLG 74, Tactical Air Force Wing 74), completed its first PE2b-equipped test flight from Neuburg Air Base in the German state of Bavaria on April 14.

Luftwaffe EF-2000 PE2b upgrade [Bundeswehr/R Kostanjevec]
German Eurofighter EF-2000 - serial 31+35 (c/n GS095) - taxis out of a hardened aircraft shelter at Neuburg Air Base in Bavaria, Germany, prior to completing its first PE2b-equipped flight on April 14, 2021. Bundeswehr/R Kostanjevec

Germany is now conducting an extensive test campaign with the PE2b-equipped platform, with the aim of completing the process by the end of July to allow the aircraft to participate in several international exercises later this year. The Bundeswehr states the “aim of the tests is to provide evidence of reliability and suitability for flight operations.”

In total, five EF-2000s will be integrated with the PE2b software for the operational test campaign. This comprises three aircraft from TLG 74 and two from Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 73 ‘Steinhoff’ at Laage Air Base in north-eastern Germany.

Luftwaffe EF-2000 Meteor [Bundeswehr/Florian Herrmann]
MBDA's Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) will provide Germany's Eurofighter EF-2000 multi-role fighter fleet with a host of new air-to-air engagement capabilities. Bundeswehr/Florian Herrmann

The installation of the new P2Eb software on the German EF-2000s comes as the air arm looks to further expand the multi-role fighter’s operational capabilities, at the same time as improving the platform’s overall performance. One of the key benefits this upgrade brings is the ability for Luftwaffe-operated Eurofighters to employ MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM).

In providing this capability, mechanical components on the German EF-2000s have been replaced and modified, allowing the aircraft to transport and fire the munition. These modifications will also allow the multi-role fighters to continue using the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), alongside the Meteor. Following the mechanical work, an update is downloaded to store the changes onto the EF-2000’s own software.

Luftwaffe EF-2000 Meteor [Bundeswehr/Florian Herrmann]
As part of the PE2b software upgrade and integration of the Meteor munition, Germany has replaced and modified the fuselage mounting points of the EF-2000 to allow the multi-role fighter to carry and fire the BVRAAM. Bundeswehr/Florian Herrmann

The P2Eb software update also provides the aircraft with better protection against enemy air defence positions, guided missiles, electronic warfare systems and radar-based threats. “In the future, threats from the radar will be detected earlier and countermeasures can be initiated more efficiently and effectively. In addition to this, the self-protection system will be updated. Revised decoys offer more efficient protection against [enemy weapons]”, the Bundeswehr added.

Additionally, the update also features improved cockpit displays for the pilot, which the Bundeswehr states will provide a “more intuitive operation in the cockpit [and] benefits the ability to act in aerial combat.” The introduction of PE2b software onto the German EF-2000s also brings improved testing and diagnostic capabilities for the aircraft’s maintenance computer. This allows faults to be detected quicker, while reducing repair times to enhance the overall operational readiness of the Luftwaffe’s Eurofighter fleet.