Development

The first development aircraft (there were no prototypes as such), the German-built DA1 (98+29), did not fly until March 27th 1994, with Peter Weger at the controls. The flight, from Manching, lasted 45 minutes. Doubts about the integrity of Eurofighter's computer software had demanded an extensive period of verification. This was probably wise given that the Gripen and YF-22 had suffered control failures in public, both leading to crashes. If DA1 had crashed it would have given the Germans a reason for cancellation.

DA1 was allocated the UK designation ZH586, as it was originally due to have transfered to Warton after 10 flight hours. For political reasons (to allow DASA to maintain staff at its Manching facility) the move was postponed indefinitely.

The first UK prototype, DA2 (ZH588) flew on April 6th 1994, with Chris Yeo in the cockpit. Both DA1 and DA2 had Turbo-Union RB199 turbofans.

After nine flights each, both DA1 and DA2 were grounded for modifications. This meant that they were not available for the 1994 Farnborough Air Show, leaving the Rafale to steal the show.

Development flying resumed on May 17th 1995, when BAe CTP Chris Yeo took DA2 for an 80-minute flight from Warton. DA3 (MMX602) joined the program on June 4th 1995, making its maiden flight from Turin/Caselle. This was the first aircraft to fly with EJ200 engines.

By the end of 1995 DA1 had made twelve flights, DA2 sixty-seven and DA3 twenty-five, generating just over 100 hours between them.

DA2, although only flying with an "interim" flight control system, attained a maximum level speed of 1050 km/hr IAS, and Mach 1.5 at 9700m. It also manoeuvered at up to 5.8g and angles of attack of up to 20 degrees, and reached an altitude of over 10900m.

On June 12th 1995 DA2 appeared at the Paris Air Show and demonstrated its impressive take-off and turning capabilities. Three days later, operating out of Warton, the aircraft went supersonic for the first time. At the end of July the aircraft made two appearances at the International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.

By the end of March 1996 the first three aircraft had accumulated about 150 hours, in 140 sorties. The EJ200 engines in DA3 had accumulated 120 hours during 40 trouble-free flights and ground runs. DA3's engines were upgraded from 01A to 01C standard during early 1996.

In June 1996 GEC Marconi Avionics delivered the first ECR90 radar, which was installed in DA5 at Manching.

By the middle of July 1996 the three aircraft had accumulated 188 hours in over 200 sorties. DA2 was due to start trials with the GEC Marconi towed radar decoy on a 60m fiber-optic cable from a pod on its starboard wingtip. Flight control software release 2A, which allows Mach 2 and carefree handling at high angles of attack was scheduled for the next few weeks.

DA6, the Spanish 2-seater (XCE.16-01), made its first flight on August 31st 1996 from CASA's Getafe facility. Alfonso de Miguel, CASA's Director of Flight Operations, was at the controls. DA6 was equipped with upgraded avionics, flight and utility control systems.

DA2 appeared at the Farnborough Air Show in September 1996. It achieved Mach 2 for the first time shortly afterwards.

DA7 (MMX603) made its maiden flight from Turin on January 27th 1997.

DA5 (98+30) made its maiden flight from Manching on February 24th 1997. The aircraft flew for one hour with DASA chief test pilot Wolfgang Schirdewahn at the controls. DA5 was the first aircraft fitted with the ECR90 radar. This was activated during the flight, targeting and tracking two test aircraft.

DA4 (ZH590) made its maiden flight from Warton on March 14th 1997. BAe test pilot Derek Reeh was at the controls for the 80 minute flight. DA4 was the first British 2-seater, and also the first British-built aircraft with the EJ200 powerplant.

Development duties were assigned as follows:

At the Paris Salon in June 1997, DA6 appeared in the static park, and DA7 flew in the display on the public days.

British-built two-seater DA4 (ZH590) arrived at RAF Leeming on 20th July 1997 for a five-day series of risk-reduction trials. These involved running the EJ200 engines at up to 80% of dry thrust to test noise levels inside a hardened shelter and to check the effects of vibration on the shelter and the airframe.

DA5 (98+30) made the 500th Eurofighter development flight at Manching on October 31st 1997. Milestones reached by this stage, according to DASA, were a maximum speed of Mach 1.87, an altitude of over 12175m, angles of attack of 25° amd turns of up to 7g.

DA2 (ZH588) arrived at RAF Brize Norton on November 10th 1997 for three days of ground refuelling trials with a TriStar of No 216 Squadron. It left on November 14th.

By November 21st 1997, the total number of flights had reached 532, accumulating just under 465 hours. Of these, DA2 had flown 187 times for 154 hours, and DA4 14 times for 16 hours. When combined, these represent 37.8% and 36.6% of the totals respectively, which are close to the UK's share of the program.

DA7 (MMX603) became the first Eurofighter to launch a guided missile, an AIM-9L Sidewinder, which it did on December 15th 1997. The firing was carried out at Mach 0.8 over Decimomannu on Sardinia by Alenia's test pilot Maurizio Cheli. DA7 also successfully released an AIM-120 AMRAAM.

DA2 (ZH588) was fitted with a spin-recovery parachute, in preparation for testing the latest release of the flight control software. DA3 (MMX602) has flown with under-wing 1000-liter fuel tanks.

DA2 (ZH588), despite still having RB199 engines, was taken to Mach 2 by BAe CTP Paul Hopkins in January 1998. Afterwards, the aircraft carried out a series of successful refuelling trials with an RAF VC.10 tanker over the Irish Sea. In consequence DA2 achieved its longest flight so far, with more than 4 hours in the air.

Long-term fatigue testing of the Eurofighter structure in Germany had reached more than 15000 simulated flight hours by early 1998.

In April 1998 British 2-seater DA4 (ZH590) was flown for the first time by an all-RAF crew, when EF2000 Project Pilot Sqd Ldr Craig Penrice and Flt Lt Kevin Wooff made a 1hr 7min flight from BAe Warton. This was DA4's 26th flight.

In May 1998 DA3 (MMX602) performed a display at Pratica de Mare to mark the 75th anniversary of the Italian Air Force.

Eurofighter DA5 (98+30) was displayed at ILA 98 in Berlin in May 1998, where it pulled 7G for the first time in an airshow demonstration. At ILA 98 MTU and ITP revealed their design for a thrust-vectoring nozzle for the EJ200 engine.

Immediately after ILA 98 DA5 undertook a deployment to Rygge airbase in Norway, where it completed a series of flight demonstrations, and carried out maintenance handling trials in a RNorAF hardened shelter.

British two-seater DA4 (ZH590) flew in formation with the Red Arrows at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on July 25th and 26th 1998.

In early August 1998 it was announced by Eurofighter GmbH that Eurofighter DA7 (MMX603), operating from Decimomannu in Sardinia, had successfully carried out the first jettison of a 1000-liter drop tank at a height of 1600m and a speed of 630 km/hr.

At the same time DA1 was being fitted with EJ200 engines, Martin-Baker Mk 16 ejection seat and upgraded avionics; DA4 had completed its ground-based lightning strike trials; and DA6 had completed a series of trials to prove operability levels in hot climatic conditions.

By August 11th 1998 the seven development aircraft had completed 780 flights for more than 750 hours.

The Typhoon completed its Major Airframe Fatigue Test (MAFT) at Ottobrunn, Germany in early September 1998. The MAFT involved 18000 hours of testing, representing three times the aircraft's airframe life of 6000 hours over 30 years.

DA5 (98+30) was displayed at the 1998 Farnborough Air Show, but a fault prevented it from appearing on the public days. On the trade days it was flown alternately by BAe CTP John Turner and DASA CTP Chris Worning. At the time DA5 was closest to production standard of the seven-aircraft test fleet.

Royal Norwegian Air Force test pilot Major Frode Evensen flew DA5 on three evaulation flights in December 1998. At a press conference in London on January 26th 1999 Maj Evensen gave his personal opinion of the aircraft, which was favourable: "Eurofighter is very easy to fly, and in a combat situation the fighter pilot has all the 'tools' he needs to win the air battle. Eurofighter is absolutely the fighter pilot's aircraft".

As at January 31st 1999, the development aircraft had flown the following hours:

AircraftFlightsHours
DA1123 126 h 20 m
DA2257 216 h 42 m
DA3151 122 h 19 m
DA437 36 h 52 m
DA5115 71h 5 mm
DA6106 96 h 10 m
DA7120 75 h 10 m
Total909744 h 38 m

It was announced on April 28th 1999 that UK Defence Secretary George Robertson had completed a 60-minute flight out of Warton in DA4, with Eurofighter project pilot John Turner at the controls.

On May 4th 1999 it was announced that the Eurofighter development program had explored about 90% of the aircraft's baseline flight envelope. DA2 had completed its baseline flutter trials at Mach 1.2 and 750 knots EAS (equivalent to 800 knots TAS), and had also flown to an altitude of 15200m. The aircraft is equipped with the new Aircrew Services Package (ASP) which provides the pilot with pressure breathing at altitude and while pulling G.

DA3 has flown with fully-functioning 1000 liter supersonic fuel tanks, and with subsonic 1500 liter subsonic tanks. The aircraft reached Mach 1.6 with up to three 1000 liter tanks attached, which is a major achievement for a fighter aircraft.

In Germany, DA5 flew with the latest version of the flight control software, FCS 2B/1, which now includes auto-throttle and autopilot functions. DA4 was also fitted with the same software, but with an active rear seat. As a result DA4 was flown from the rear seat for the first time. Both aircraft were fitted with the IOC production standard ECR90 radar.

DASA test pilot Wolfgang Schirdewahn, flying DA5, made the Eurofighter's 1000th flight on May 18th 1999.

Eurofighter DA7 appeared in the flying display at the 1999 Paris Salon.

The Chief of Staff of the Hellenic Air Force, Lt Gen Litzerakos, flew DA6 at CASA's Getafe facility on June 9th 1999. In July 1999 Eurofighter GmbH opened a Programme Office in Athens.

Air-to-ground weapons testing began in June 1999 with pit drops from DA3 at Caselle.

In July 1999 Major Evensen, a test pilot from the RNorAF Materiel Command, flew two test missions in DA5. The first focussed on assessment of autopilot/autothrottle functions based on the new standard of FCS software. In the second, Maj Evensen checked out the operating modes of the ECR90 radar.

As at September 22nd 1999 DA3 had successfully carried out static drop tests with Mk 82 bombs; DA5 had carried out the first simultaneous radar engagement of four targets; DA6 had undergone high-temperature environmental trials (41oC at Moron AB); DA7 had successfully dropped a 1000-liter tank at Decimomannu.

Eurofighter DA5, flown by Chris Worning, deployed to Tanagra AFB in Greece on November 4th 1999 in support of the Hellenic Air Force's open day on November 8th.

By the second week of December 1999, the Eurofighter development aircraft had completed over 1070 sorties totalling more than 870 flying hours.

During February/March 2000 Eurofighter DA6 was tested in the environmental hanger and blower tunnel at DERA Boscombe Down. In the Environmental Hanger the aircraft was exposed to extreme temperature ranges and humidity levels to simulate the conditions it could be expected to face in operational conditions around the world. The Blower Tunnel was used to produce realistic icing conditions on the ground before in-flight trials are carried out.

On June 1st 2000 it was announced that DA4 had completed the first night flight by a 2-seat development aircraft. Project pilot Keith Hartley flew the aircraft on a 66-minute flight from BAE Systems/Warton and RAF Valley. Craig Penrice was in the rear seat.

The development aircraft have accumulated 1300 flights so far (June 1st). DA3 has carried out fuel transfer tests with external tanks, CICT Test validation and a one-engine re-light. DA4 has had its engines stripped down and rebuilt. DA5 is being prepared for water shower testing and landing gear door icing testing. DA6 hs completed environmental tests at DERA Boscombe Down (see above).

Typhoon flight control software version 2B/2 was cleared for flight in late May 2000 and was expected to fly on DA2 at BAE System/Warton by mid-June. The aircraft also flew with revised avionics (3B1 and 3B2) and utility control software. These software releases are said to have most of the functionality of the IOC standard set to fly early in 2001. Avionics software 3B2 is due to be cleared in November with the IOC standard 3C in December. IOC-standard FCS software is set for delivery in January 2001.

DA2, fitted with the 2B/2 version of the FCS software, flew from Warton on Friday July 7th 2000 with project pilot Keith Hartley at the controls. This was the first flight trial of the 2B/2 software, which is said to greatly improve the handling and is an important milestone on the way to series production.

In early December 2000 DA6 completed a modification program during which its radar and avionics were updated, and a new release of the flight control software was installed.

In early June 2001 DA7 carried out two weeks of weapon trials at the Decimomannu range on Sardinia. During this period it launched an AMRAAM separation/control test vehicle to check the separation trajectory from the aircraft. The missile was launched from an altitude of 1000m at a speed of Mach 0.9. DA7 also released an ASRAAM missile from an altitude of 1600m and a speed of Mach 0.89 while in a 6g turn. An AIM-9L Sidewinder was also launched.

At the 2001 Paris Air Show it was announced that the latest CAPTOR radar software, which will give the Typhoon its swing role capability, has been formally delivered by Euroradar to Eurofighter GmbH. The software has been extensively tested in BAE Systems' BAC111 testbed, and further testing of its air-to-surface modes will be carried out by DA4 and DA5.

Also at Paris 2001 the Italian DA7 prototype put on a "spirited and exciting flying display" which quite simply stole the show and drew applause every day.

On August 6th 2001 DA1 successfully carried out the first test of the German Air Force's buddy-buddy refuelling pod, which was carried by a GAF Tornado. The flight lasted one hour and 41 minutes and was another milestone towards the introduction of the Typhoon into the GAF.

On September 6th 2001 the Chief of the Luftwaffe Air Staff, Lt General Gerhard Back, made a 55-minute flight in the rear seat of aircraft DA6 from Manching, together with German test pilot Heinz Spölgen. After landing, General Back stated "With Eurofighter the Luftwaffe will get exactly the flying weapon system which is needed to fulfill all future requirements".

By September 2001 the seven Eurofighter development aircraft had accumulated more than 1400 hours flying time in 1750 flights.

In early November 2001 DA4 re-entered the flight test program following an extensive period on lay-up. During the lay-up the aircraft underwent significant upgrades to the Avionics and Power generation systems, as well as completing the first phase of the Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS) ground trials in the Electronic Warfare test facility at BAE Systems/Warton. The trial was a great success and was a major risk reduction activity for the standard of aircraft beyond Initial Operational Clearance.

DA4’s first flight back in the program concentrated on "shaking down" all the major systems of the aircraft, with particular emphasis on the engines, radar, Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) integration and Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS).

Pete Travis, Flight Development Integrated Product Team Leader, said: "Overall the aircraft was in great shape after a long period on the ground, which is testament to the ground crew team that prepared it for flight".

Over the coming weeks the aircraft will be involved in priority flight trials to support the initial clearance into service of the aircraft next year. In particular it will concentrate on assessment of the weapon system as a whole including AMRAAM and Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) integration with the radar and GPWS. In the medium term a first flight assessment of the DASS, including on-range flight trials will be carried out at RAF Spadeadam in Northumberland, the RAF's Electronic Warfare test range.

On December 18th 2001 Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire, the UK's Chief of the Air Staff, became the first non-RAF test pilot to fly the Eurofighter when he took control of DA4 during a 60-minute flight from BAE Systems' Warton facility. During the flight the CAS experienced speeds in excess of 900mph and demonstrated the aircraft's supersonic, supercruise and groundbreaking handling capabilities.

In February 2002 BAE Systems completed the final ejection test to qualify the two-seat Typhoon's crew escape system. The test was carried out at Martin-Baker Aircraft's facility near Belfast, and involved jettisoning the canopy and firing both ejection seats in sequence at a speed of 600 knots.

During March 2002 development aircraft DA4 achieved three successes in one sortie: the longest ever flight by a Eurofighter (4 hr 22 min), the first ever air-to-air refuelling of a Eurofighter carrying external tanks, and the first night air-to-air refuelling. The tanking tests were carried out with a Boscombe Down-crewed VC.10 over the Irish Sea. Eurofighter Test Pilot Craig Penrice was in the front seat of DA4, and RAF pilot Flt Lt Will Jonas in the rear.

The first production Typhoon, the Italian-built IPA2 (Instrumented Production Aircraft), made its maiden flight from Caselle on April 5th 2002. IPA1, IPA2 and IPA3 will join the existing seven development aircraft in completing flight testing and certification ahead of first customer deliveries later in the year.

The aircraft took off at 10:40 GMT from the Alenia Aeronautica plant at Caselle, piloted by Maurizio Cheli, Alenia’s Chief Test Pilot for combat aircraft, and landed after 25 minutes. A second successful engine shakedown flight was undertaken later in the afternoon lasting approx. 25 minutes.

The first German-built production Typhoon, IPA3, made its maiden flight from EADS-Germany's Manching plant at around 08:50 on April 8th 2002. EADS test pilot Chris Wörning and Lt Col Robert Hierl of the German Flight Test Center (WTD 61) were at the controls. F-4F Phantom 38+13 was the chase plane for the first flight. A second flight was made at around 14:00 the same day, this time with Tornado 46+10 as chase plane.

British-built Typhoon IPA1 (ZJ699) made its maiden flight from BAE Systems' Warton facility on April 15th 2002. Piloted by Eurofighter project pilot Keith Hartley, with Chief Test Pilot Paul Hopkins in the rear seat, IPA1's first flight lasted for 26 minutes.

DA4 fires an AMRAAM In another milestone for the program, aircraft DA4 successfully carried out the first fully-guided firing of an AIM-120 AMRAAM on April 9th 2002. Piloted by BAE Systems test pilot Craig Penrice, with WSO Stan Ralph in the rear seat, DA4 flew from Warton to the QinetiQ range at Benbecula in the Hebrides, where it successfully tracked and targeted a Mirach target. The AMRAAM, which carried a telemetry package rather than a warhead, scored a direct hit on the Mirach, shooting it down into a safe area of the Atlantic Ocean.

IPA1 (ZJ699) successfully completed five flights in the 10 days after its maiden flight (ie 16-26 April 2002). All the flights were utilised for Production Flight Acceptance Testing, air data testing or testing of the production stick top. Turnround between flights was achieved in as little as 45 minutes, and only two minor snags were reported.

On the aircraft's fifth flight, two RAF test pilots were at the controls: Flt Lt Will Jonas was in the front seat, with Sqd Ldr Brian Kemp in the rear.

After these flights, the aircraft went into a lay-up priod, during which time some avionics equipment were upgraded, an FR probe wase installed, and flight test instrumentation was completed. It then underwent ground resonance, electro-magnetic compatibility and Stage-B testing.

On May 28th 2002 it was anounced that the first wind tunnel tests of the Eurofighter Typhoon conformal fuel tank design had been successfully completed in the high speed wind tunnel at BAE Systems/Warton, using a scale model of the aircraft. The tanks, which have a capacity of approximately 1,500 litres each, could extend the range of the aircraft by more than 25% - a major selling point in the export market, and a vital element in developing Eurofighter Typhoon’s air-to-ground capability.

On July 23rd 2002 BAE SYSTEMS announced that aircraft DA2 had successfully completed a series of high-risk, asymmetric carefree handling flight trials designed to evaluate the Flight Control System (FCS) on the aircraft. "Carefree" means that the pilot can perform whatever action he wants with the stick, pedals and throttle and the aircraft's flight control system will protect the pilot and the aircraft by limiting parameters such as angle of attack, g-force and roll-rate, to a safe level.

To test the FCS to the full, the aircraft was fitted with the most demanding weapon configuration. For these trials, which are to clear the Eurofighter Typhoon for Initial Operational Clearance, this consisted of two AIM-120 AMRAAMs on the right-hand under fuselage stations and a AIM-9 Sidewinder on the right-hand wing tip. Other configurations will be tested in the future as the aircraft proceeds through to full operational clearance.

DA2 was the only Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft that can undertake these trials, because the aircraft can be fitted with an anti-spin gantry and an emergency power unit. These safety measures are fitted to protect the pilot and the aircraft should the FCS not react in the way that the results gained from rigorous testing on simulators and test rigs had predicted.

The first Spanish two-seat production aircraft, ST001, carried out ground engine running tests on September 11th and 13th 2002 at EDSA/Getafe, and ground taxi trials on September 20th 2002.

Flight trials of the Typhoon's Defensive Aids Sub-System (DASS) shaowed that the system was delivering performance that meets or exceeds expectations. Recent trials (September 2002) covering the air-to-air and air-to-ground operation of the Electronic Support Measures (ESM) and Electronic Countermeasures (ECM), have been conducted on a Typhoon operating from BAE Systems' Warton facility.

This series of flight trials has been aimed at data collection, to optimize the performance of the final production-standard equipment. Results have confirmed that the ESM and ECM are delivering impressive performance, and in particular have demonstrated:

On November 21st 2002 the program suffered its first loss, when the Spanish-built development aircraft DA6 (XCE.16-01) crashed near the village of Belvis de la Jara, about 70 miles southwest of Madrid. The two crew, EADS/Casa chief test pilot Eduardo Cuadrado and Spanish Air Force OTC pilot Ignacio Lombo, successfully ejected from the aircraft. The plane came down in open countryside.

The aircraft was fully instrumented, and flight-performance telemetry was being data-linked to Getafe during the sortie, so the crash investigation will have all the information needed to establish the cause of the accident. The six remaining development aircraft and the programme’s first three instrumented production aircraft were grounded until the initial findings of the accident were declared.

According to Jane's Defence Weekly, industry sources close to the [Typhoon] programme said that the Spanish board of inquiry report into the crash of DA6 concluded that the aircraft lost power after an unexpected power surge affected both EJ200 engines. The powerplants installed aboard the aircraft at the time of the accident were two of just three from an early production standard within the Eurofighter test programme, said the sources. As such, no possibility exists that an identical twin-engine failure could occur, and there is accordingly "no safety issue with the aircraft", said one official.

On December 12th 2002 the Spanish Accident Investigation Committee reported the following:

"Following a detailed investigation of data relating to the accident involving Eurofighter Typhoon DA6 on 21 November, 2002, the official Government Accident Investigation Committee (AIC) met again on 05 December, 2002, and reported the following observations

The investigation has been provided with significant evidence that has identified areas of probable cause and the actions required to address these. The exceptional effort made by Eurofighter and Eurojet to provide information and assistance to the Committee is noted.

Eurofighter Typhoon DA6 was fitted with two early development EJ200 engines (designated 03A standard). During a test flight in the Toledo region of Spain the aircraft was flying at 45,000 feet at a speed of Mach 0.7. While stabilising the aircraft to perform the test point both engines suffered a surge that resulted in a double engine flame out. The aircrew attempted to recover the situation but were unable to re-light the engines. Both crew ejected safely from the aircraft.

It is also noted that only one Eurofighter aircraft in the fleet is currently in use with these older engine standards. The engines are being removed and replaced with a later standard pending further investigation. The AIC established that subsequent engine models are not susceptible to similar effects. The remainder of the fleet operate later design standard engines.

The Committee recommend a return to flying for the remaining engine types as early as possible following National Airworthiness Authorisation and conditions."

In early 2003 experimental trials with air-to-ground software using aircraft DA1 (which was on loan to EADS CASA ) began. This concentrated on load and handling tests to develop and test the pre-production software to Phase 5 standard.

On March 24th 2003 the four Typhoons manufactured by Alenia Aeronautica (DA3, DA7, IPA2 and IT001) flew in a 4-ship formation at Caselle. DA3, piloted by Lt Col Lorenzo di Stefano, acted as target; DA7, piloted by Alenia test pilot Commander Enrico Scarabotto, continued development of the FLIR sensor; IPA2, piloted by Alenia CTP Maurizio Cheli and Italian AF Col Giovanni Fantuzzi, performed TACAN system qualification activities; IT001, flown by Alenia TP Commander Marco Venanzetti and It Col Natteo Maurizio, carried out acceptance activities.

On June 20th 2003 Eurofighter announced the successful completion of a range of Lightning Strike Tests on the Eurofighter Typhoon Weapon System required as part of Type Acceptance clearance. The tests, carried out at BAE SYSTEMS Warton, were performed on Series Production Aircraft BT002 and were required to ensure that all systems on the aircraft remain operational in the event of the aircraft being struck by lightning.

During the test programme, the aircraft ran "live" with all necessary systems switched on. The aircraft received hundreds of strikes of between 20k and 150k Amps before reaching the specified 200k Amp strike.

EADS CASA announced on July 21st 2003 that development aircraft DA1 had carried out in-flight refuelling trials with a B707 tanker aircraft of the Spanish Air Force.

During more than an hour several approach manoeuvres were performed and the aircraft simulated different flight conditions. The docking manoeuvres were achieved perfectly in all cases and fulfilled the test requirements. The test was carried out in a specifically controlled area at an altitude of 15000 feet.

Within the development programme one of the objectives of the flight tests is to evaluate the aircraft’s behaviour in this kind of manoeuvres and the correct performance of the Eurofighter during in-flight refuelling operations.

In 2003 a Falcon 20 aircraft was specially fitted out to accelerate the operational testing, evaluation and rolling development of the Eurofighter Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS). Mike Rickett, BAE Systems Avionics DASS Project Director, said "Following a series of shakedown flights, the DASS has successfully demonstrated its ability to simultaneously detect and jam multiple Air Defence weapon radar tracking systems, during sorties over the RAF Spadeadam EW Training Range." He expressed complete satisfaction with the results achieved so far. Performance exceeded our expectations and has already surpassed those obtained from the successful series of trials conducted in Typhoon DA4, during the autumn of 2002.

On August 27th 2003 Eurofighter DA1 flew the first captive flight trials of the IRIS-T (Infra Red Imaging System – Tail/Thrust Vector Control) short range air-to-air missile at Getafe. Two missile were fitted to the DA1 wing tip stations.

The 30 minute flight was designed to confirm handling and behaviour of the missile when fitted to the aircraft. It marks the start of the IRIS-T flight test program that will culminate in five live firing tests planned for later in the year that will qualify the missile with Eurofighter Typhoon. Further flight testing will evaluate handling, flutter, environmental, safe separation and avionics testing. This additional testing will be conducted by EADS Military Aircraft in Manching and Getafe and by Alenia Aeronautica at sites in Italy.

Meteor on IPA1 On October 1st 2003 Eurofighter GmbH announced the start of integration of the METEOR Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile to the Eurofighter Typhoon Weapon System, following the successful completion of the first phase of "fit and form" trials at BAE Systems/Warton. The trials were conducted with a representative METEOR missile and Eurofighter Typhoon IPA1. The Meteor Development programme will include flight trials, which will be conducted in 2005.

On October 9th 2003 Typhoon flight testing was suspended following the emergency landing of a German test aircraft after brake problems. (Does anybody know when the restriction was lifted?)

In December 2003 EADS announced that Eurofighter Typhoon DA1 had completed a first series of air-to-surface weapons flight test. The aircraft was armed with two 2000lb GBU-10 weapons, fitted under the central wing stations. The flight lasted 55 minutes and during this time, EADS CASA Test Pilot Alfonso de Castro, performed different flight conditions at altitudes from 10,000 to 40,000 feet and at speeds of M 0.4 - M 0.9. Eurofighter Typhoon will conduct nine more GBU-10 flight tests before the end of the year. The programme will then continue testing different air-to-surface weapons and stores. Testing will involve Development Aircraft and Series Production Aircraft including the first single-seat production aircraft IPA 4. IPA4 is expected to make its maiden flight by the end of 2003.

Also announced was that DA7 had completed a number of key milestones in firing trials conducted in early December at the Air Weapons Range in Decimomannu. Tests included firing AIM-9L Sidewinders and ASRAAM from the outboard wing station.

In February 2004 Eurofighter announced that electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) tests had been successfully completed on the British Series Production Aircraft BS002 (Single Seater) at BAE SYSTEMS, Warton. Since the single- and two-seat aircraft have different characteristics, EMC testing has to be conducted on both types of aircraft.

Also in February 2004 DA1 began a series of flight trials carrying two 2000lb GBU-10 Paveway II laser-guided bombs. The aircraft was flow at altitudes from 10000 to 40000 feet and at speeds of Mach 0.4 to 0.9 by EADS CASA test pilot Alfonso de Castro. DA1 also flew asymmetric load trials, carrying a single GBU-10 under one wing and nothing below the other.

PS001, the fourth Typhoon Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA4), successfully made its first flight on February 27th 2004 from Getafe.

As well as other aircraft destined for flight tests, the main role of IPA4 was to continue with the certification of the design and system functionality. This is a critical role in demonstrating the operational specification of the weapon system to the customer nations. The test plans involve flights directed towards verifying new audio and MIDS communications functions.

In PS001 (and in the production aircraft) the communications system has been enhanced with the implementation of Direct Voice Input (DVI), the fuel system Direct Voice Output (DVO) information and a voice operated switch ( VOS) that can be configured to be used with several helmets and radios interoperable between Eurofighter and other platforms.

Another new system is the MIDS (Multifunction Information Distribution System) that allows the integration of information in operational networks to define targets and new missions. MIDS permits secure exchange of air and ground data.

To enhance the navigation system TACAN, MILS (Microwave Landing System) and DME-P (Distance Measuring Equipment Precision) will also be added.

On April 6th 2004 Eurofighter GmbH announced the successful completion of the first in a series of in-flight firing trials of the BK27mm Mauser cannon and the first air launch of an IRIS-T short range air-to-air missile (SRAAM) from the outboard and ITSPL station. The trials were undertaken as part of a weapons flight test campaign that will progressively clear advanced missiles and systems for the Eurofighter Typhoon Weapons System.

The gun firing trials were carried out using aircraft DA3 at Decimomannu, Sardinia. Pilot Maurizio Cheli carried out the trials at an altitude of 25000ft and a speed of Mach 0.7.

The IRIS-T trials were carried out using aircraft DA7, also at Deci. Pilot Enrico Scarabotto fired a missile from the ITSPL at an altitude of 5000ft at Mach 0.8 while pulling 6g, and from the outboard station at 15000ft at Mach 0.7 while pulling 6.6g.

In late October 2004 the aircraft's Automatic Low-Speed Recovery system (ALSR) was tested in the air for the first time at Manching. EADS test pilot Karl-Heinz Mai, who was flying German production aircraft GS002, said: "It worked tremendously well – ALSR is a real confidence-maker in the low-speed area of the carefree handling envelope. I’m convinced this is one of the most impressive features of this aircraft !"

Mai made a cautious approach to a few low-speed recovery corner points. Having rapidly gained confidence in the system he was able to enter the extreme low-speed recovery set-up with 70 degrees nose-up attitude and power idle. The system then worked as described - without any pilot action.

On November 19th 2004 Eurofighter announced the successful completion of the first full night-time air-to-air refuelling by the Typhoon. The trial, performed by Typhoon IPA2, flying out of Practica di Mare Air Base, Italy, was conducted under the cover of darkness as part of an AAR campaign focused on qualifying the aircraft for night-time refuelling missions.

The test was carried out by Alenia Aeronautica as the first in a series of eight integration exercises consisting of both day and night refuelling flights. During the night sortie, particular attention was paid to aircraft performance in terms of operating with the aid of only the lights from the refuelling aircraft and from the basket. The tests also validated the design decision of not including lighting in the refuelling probe with the aircrew involved encountering no difficulties in the execution of the tests.

On December 9th 2004 Eurofighter Typhoon IPA4 arrived at the Swedish Air Base at Vidsel to carry out 3 months of Cold Environmental Trials (CET). The purpose of the CET was to verify the operational behaviour of the aircraft and its systems in temperatures which were consistently between -25 and -31°C.

During CET, IPA4 provided more than 45 proofs of performance, both on the ground and during the 17 flights it undertook. The fault-free operation of the entire aircraft and its on-board systems was verified within the required low-temperature range. In preparation for each test, the aircraft was parked overnight in the open, exposed to wind and weather. This ensured that the airframe and systems had a real "cold soak". With the aircraft "deep frozen" in this way, among other things the procedures up to "ready for takeoff" and the observation of a two-hour cockpit readiness in stand-alone operation, during which the power supply for the aircraft systems only comes from the on-board APU, were tested and documented for the user air forces. The interest in these tests focused on the behaviour of aircraft systems relying on fluids, for example the hydraulic and fuel systems along with the associated aggregates, such as pumps, landing gear, airbrake and air conditioning system. Further integral parts of the CET were ground routines, such as the opening and closing of the external maintenance and access panels, as well as refuelling, on- and off-loading of various external stores up to a maximum landing weight of just under 19 tonnes.

Ironically, the temperatures at Vidsel were initially not cold enough for CET conditions. The Eurofighter team took advantage of this situation to carry out some unscheduled trials, such as taxiing on icy and snow-packed runways.

IPA4 returned to Getafe on March 10th 2005, stopping en route at the German air base at Laage, where JG73 was based.

On March 2nd 2005 IPA2 flew from Caselle with underwing fuel tanks and four GBU-16. During the same series of trials, DA3 flew with four GBU-10s during September 2005.

British-build two-seater ZJ804 (ISPA1) departed BAE Systems/Warton on February 3rd 2005 to Lajes, en route to China Lake as part of Exercise "High Rider". The aircraft was crewed by a BAE Systems test pilot and a Typhoon OEU pilot. ZJ804 made the transatlantic crossing with the help of RAF VC10 and Tristar tankers, before conducting an unaccompanied transit across the USA from Bangor, Maine to China Lake, Calif., stopping to refuel at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas and Cannon AFB, New Mexico. The Typhoon began flying again immediately after its arrival undertaking trials work to evaluate the aircraft's weapon system in an operational environment.

On March 15th 2005 it was announced that Typhoon DA4, piloted by BAE Systems Chief Test Pilot Paul Hopkins with Dave Sully in the rear seat, had participated in AMRAAM trials at the QinetiQ Deep Sea Range at Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.

The profile for this test required the Typhoon to track two Mirach targets by radar, to simulate an attack on one using a captive AMRAAM missile while simultaneously attacking the second with an active missile. The active AMRAAM scored a direct hit on the target and destroyed it.

Flight trials of the BAE Systems Striker helmet-mounted display system for the Typhoon began in March 2005. The full development trial sorties marked the first flights of a binocular, visor-projected, night-vision-capable helmet on a fighter aircraft.

Additional trials are planned throughout 2005, and production-ready versions of the helmet will fly in the latter part of 2005 — clearing the way for production for Typhoon Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 aircraft.

In April 2005 aircraft DA3 was reported to be about to complete the final gun-firing demonstration to clear the operation of that part of the weapon system. Also, flight testing of the new Phase 4 Flight Control System software for Block 2b has begun.

In May-June 2005 flight testing of an upgraded avionics standard was completed, providing operational evaluations of the updates to the radar, DASS and Sensor Fusion for Batch 2 aircraft. A total of eight Typhoon flights (10 hours) supported the QU2 PSQS (Preliminary System Qualification Statement) (plus nine Tornado flights), and thirteen Typhoon flights (sixteen hours) supported the Customer OTC (Official Test Centre) Mission Assessment (plus nine Tornado and four Hawk flights).

The Weapon System was evaluated thoroughly with seven 2v2 Sensor Fusion flights, one 2v4 Sensor Fusion flight and five dedicated DASS flights designed to fully test the avionics. The overall performance was encouraging considering the fairly aggressive operational testing conducted during the Mission Assessment, with the feedback from the operational pilots confirming their favourable impressions.

During May 2005 an RAF Typhoon successful fired Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAM) against targets at the Aberporth range on the Welsh coast. These were the first in-service missiles launched by Typhoon, with each successfully launched and guided to the target. Data from the tests confirmed that all the RAF's objectives were met.

In early July 2005 EADS/CASA began long-term tests of a Eurofighter under operational conditions at the Spanish Air Force base of Morón (near Seville). Following the Cold Environmental Trials carried out last winter in Sweden, the instrumented production aircraft IPA4 and the mobile telemetry station were transferred from Getafe to Morón for hot-weather trials. Morón provides optimum conditions for these trials, particularly high temperatures (40°C or above), which will provide the proof that Eurofighter meets all its operational requirements. In addition, the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean offers flight corridors that also allow low-level supersonic flights, another common requirement for most of the planned flight tests.

As Eurofighter gives the user air forces an integrated Network Enabled Capability (NEC), which is indispensable for future operations, the Spanish Air Force will actively support the tests by locating its MIDS (Multiple Information Distribution System) ground station at Morón and flying one or two operational Eurofighters in joint missions with IPA 4. EADS/CASA will place its MIDS station at Talavera Air Base (near Portugal) and operate it from there. These circumstances will create the necessary network to conduct most favourable Data Link tests.

IPA4 has been upgraded to Block 2B standard, which comprises the FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) sensor and the DASS (Defensive Aids Subsystems) on-board electronic self-protection system. Completion of the 41-flight programme, which is due in September 2005, will make an important contribution to punctual type acceptance of Block 2B.

On September 13th 2005 it was reported that BAE Systems/Brough had completed 1000 hours of full-scale fatigue testing of the Typhoon airframe. This testing, known as "Production - Major Airframe Fatigue Test" (P-MAFT), involved the application of half a million load distributions, and will be repeated 18 times to complete the full scale test over 5 years (the equivalent to a 25-year in-service life).

The next major milestone will be 3,000 hours of testing equating to approximately 1,000 hours of flight clearance, at which point physical testing surpasses clearance by calculation.

The P-MAFT Typhoon comprises all six major units (front, centre and rear fuselages, left and right wings and fin), flying surfaces, canopy and windscreen and the undercarriage. On the test, aerodynamic loads are applied to the structure along with internal pressures to the cockpit and fuel tanks. Inertia loads generated by the major masses, such as the engines, pylons and avionic components are also applied.

On December 15th 2005 Typhoon F.2 ZJ917/AE was fitted with two GHTM (Ground Handling Training Missile) Meteors on the port and starboard forward fuselage stations. The missile represents the dynamic properties of an operational missile such as size, mass and aerodyamic configuration. This was the first time that a Meteor had been flown on board a Typhoon.

Eurofighter DA1 98+29 made its 577th and last flight at Manching on December 21st 2005 before being retired from flight testing.

Typhoon flight development has entered its final stages, with more than two thirds of the flight test programme achieved by early 2006. The testing of the air-to-air carefree handling Flight Control System software is almost finished. The last clearances for the Phase 4 software, necessary for the Block 2B standard aircraft, were finalized over the summer.

Aircraft DA2 conducted carefree handling tests, low speed flying, and asymmetrical load trials in spring 2006. This aircraft was picked for these tests as it is the only test aircraft fitted with an anti-spin gantry to prevent the aircraft departing during extreme flight maneuvers.

DA3 carried out performance testing in respect to lift and drag, and also released air-to-ground weapons during the summer of 2006.

IPA1 focussed on the clearances for Paveway II and concentrated on flutter and vibration flight testing, envelope expansion and jettison of Paveway II, starting at the end of February 2006.

IPA3 was used for under wing load tests with the full air-to-air weaponry load plus up to four Paveway II and external fuel tanks.

IPA4 focussed on the GBU-16 laser-guided bomb. Having concluded electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) tests with the GBU-16, IPA4 was used for flutter and vibration testing, pit drops and actual separation of GBU-16 including basic handling tests throughout the summer of 2006.

IPA5 was set for carefree handling, low altitude and transonic testing.

After conclusion of the tests, final clearances for the Full Operational Capability (FOC) specified with the Main Development Contract were obtained in 2007 and became available for Block 5 aircraft.

On February 21st 2006 IPA3 made its first flight carrying four UK Paveway II LGBs at Manching.

On April 4th 2006 IPA1 got airborne from Warton with six 1000lb Paveway IIs, two Sidewinders and a 1000-litre centreline fuel tank, demonstrating the aerodynamic stability of the aircraft in a heavy load configuration.

The first releases of air-to-surface weapons in the history of the Eurofighter programme were carried out by EADS/CASA utilising IPA4 on May 4th and 5th 2006.

On June 29th 2006 IPA1 successfully released the first UK Paveway II from a Typhoon, jettisoning the store over the Aberporth range at an altitude of 15000 feet and a speed of 450 knots. The aircraft made eight further drops before a brief layup.

For the first drop EADS/CASA test pilot Alfonso de Castro took off from Moron AFB. The Eurofighter, accompanied by an F-18 from the Spanish Air Force, made several approaches to the planned impact point in order to check the release procedures and the video cameras for the flight-test documentation. In the hot run, a GBU-16 was jettisoned from the centre pylon of the starboard wing. The following day, company test pilot Carlos Pinilla dropped another GBU-16 from the inboard pylon of the starboard wing.

Both jettison tests were completely successful and met all flight test objectives. The most prominent ones were to verify the safe separation of the stores from their pylons, and to verify aircraft behaviour during and after the jettison trials. Of extreme importance was also the evaluation of the armament control system, the flight control system and the overall avionics performance during the weapon jettison sequences. To reach the final GBU-16 clearance, the programme foresees four more test sorties, to be performed by EADS CASA within the next two months.

IPA4 loaded with four GBU-16s

At Farnborough International in July 2006 BAE Systems' project pilot Mark Bowman displayed IPA1 carrying a full "swing-role" weapons load, with four AIM-120 AMRAAMs, two AIM-9s and six 1000lb UK Paveway II LGBs.

On September 29th 2006 it was announced that 5,000 Typhoon flights had been completed by the four nation (11 aircraft) industry test fleet.

On November 20th 2006 Eurofighter flew the first Litening III targetting pod on IPA3 for environmental data gathering at Manching.

In early December 2006 aircraft DA4 marked twelve years as a development aircraft (completing 650 flights) with a flypast at Warton. The aircraft was transferred to RAF Coningsby on December 13th 2006, where it is being used as a ground instructional airframe. But there are moves afoot to preserve the historic aircraft, which achieved so many of the significant milestones of the Typhoon development programme.

On March 19th 2007 the Typhoon test fleet reached 5,000 flying hours. The milestone flight, piloted by Capt. Carlos Esteban Pinilla (EADS/CASA Eurofighter test pilot), saw IPA4 undertake environmental data gathering with a Meteor air-to-air missile.

Five development aircraft have already completed their contracted tasks. The last one, DA7, continues to work alongside the five IPA and ISPA1. The focus for the flight test programme is completing the Final Operational Capability standard to close the main development contract, and finalising the work on the Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST)/ Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR), the new helmet plus further air-to-ground testing. Also work on the integration of a Laser Designator Pod (under contract for the Royal Air Force) is continuing. Aerodynamic testing has already been done by IPA3 at EADS Military Air Systems.

DA5 is in the process of being readied for first flights with the CAESAR electronic scanning radar antenna, the enhanced radar under development by the EURORADAR consortium as a potential replacement for the CAPTOR radar. The flights will be conducted at EADS Military Air Systems’ facility in Manching, Germany.

Additionally, two further test aircraft are in final assembly and are scheduled to join the test fleet for clearance work on Tranche 2. IPA6, at BAE Systems, is a Tranche 1 aircraft with Tranche 2 avionics and new standards of hardware and software, and will be used to clear the first Tranche 2 capability standard (Block 8) into service. IPA7, a German single-seat aircraft, is the first real Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoon and will be operated by EADS Military Air Systems, at Manching.

On May 8th 2007 aircraft DA5 flew at EADS/Manching carrying the CAESAR (CAPTOR Active Electronically Scanning Array Radar) demonstrator system. DA5 was recently retired from the main Eurofighter development programme, during which it had been the principle test aircraft for the CAPTOR radar currently in service, and was therefore ideally suited to trial the new antenna.

CAESAR introduces Active Electronically Scanning Array (AESA) technology which replaces mechanically steered antennas and high-power transmitters with an electronically steered array on the basis of transmit/receive modules. This array is made up of more than 1,000 transmit/receive modules which give the radar unprecedented versatility and reliability. This enables new mission capabilities for combat aircraft such as simultaneous radar functionalities, air surveillance, air-to-ground and weapon control.

A production version of the new antenna could be available for Tranche 3 or as a retrofit in Tranche 2 aircraft. While maintaining the excellent performance features of the CAPTOR radar, the new antenna provides a significant reduction in operating costs as well as certain performance enhancements, and can be readily fitted as a replacement for the current antenna with no significant aircraft modification.

The first Tranche II EJ200 engine made its first flight from Caselle di Torino Airport on September 14th 2007. The engine was installed in Eurofighter IPA2 for flight testing purpose. During the test, IPA2 carried out supersonic flight and handling manoeuvres. The EJ200 engine behaved perfectly during the tests and exceeded all expectations.

Tthe Tranche II engine was installed in the right-hand bay of IPA2, with a Tranche I engine in the left bay. These tests demonstrated the compatibility of a Tranche II engine in a Tranche I aircraft.

Between November and December 2007, a second phase of flight-testing with two Tranche II engines in Tranche II- configured IPA2 will take place.

In early October 2007 Typhoon Instrumented Production Aircraft 6 (IPA6), based at BAE Systems/Warton, completed engine run tests. This was the first time that the aircraft had worked as a complete system independently of ground support equipment and a major milestone towards clearing the aircraft for first flight later this year.

Following its first flight, IPA6 will carry out crucial testing leading to the delivery of the first Tranche 2 aircraft to the four Eurofighter partner nations and the development of the capability required by potential export customers.

Aircraft IPA5 has been modified with extended wing leading edges which have been elongated up to the intake. This is aimed at improving the aircraft's performance at high angles of attack.

Aircraft IPA6 (BS031) made its maiden flight from Warton on November 1st 2007 with Mark Bowman, Eurofighter Typhoon test pilot at BAE Systems, at the controls. The aircraft was airborne for 54 minutes.

IPA6 will be used for Tranche 2 flight test. Its first task will be to accomplish Block 8 Type Acceptance in April 2008.

While IPA6 is essentially a Tranche 1 standard aircraft, it uses the full Tranche 2 mission computer suite and avionics features. IPA7 (GS029) is the first aircraft that represents the full Tranche 2 build standard. The first flight of IPA7 is expected before the end of 2007 at Manching.

On November 12th 2007 BAE Systems announced that the Typhoon Combined Test Team (TCTT), comprising staff from BAE Systems and the RAF, had successfully completed the first mission to drop a laser guided bomb, scoring a direct hit at the Aberporth range in the UK.

The trials aircraft, BT005 (ZJ804), was flown by Flt Lt Dave Bowlzer from 17 Squadron and BAE Systems test pilot Paul Stone. It completed the first fully laser guided weapon release using the Litening III laser designator pod. The weapon dropped was an Enhanced Paveway II which was successfully guided onto the target to achieve the DH. This live weapon release follows a series of trial sorties with the LDP and dummy weapons to prove the mission and avionics systems.

The first Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoon made its first flight at EADS/Manching on January 16th 2008. Instrumented Production Aircraft Seven (IPA7/GS029) was piloted by EADS Test Pilot Chris Worning.

The aircraft represents the full Tranche 2 build standard and its first prominent task will be to accomplish Type Acceptance for Block 8, the first capability standard of Tranche 2, in April 2008. This work will be carried out together with the BAE Systems-operated IPA6 based at Warton. IPA6 (BS031) is essentially a Tranche 1 standard aircraft but utilises the full Tranche 2 mission computer suite and avionics features. The first series of EJ200 engine flight testing for Tranche 2 was successfully concluded at the end of November with IPA2 in Italy.

The significant Tranche 2 capabilities focus mainly on the new mission computers which deliver the higher processing and memory capacity required for the integration of future weapons such as Meteor, Storm Shadow and Taurus. Differences in the build standard to Tranche 1 are related to changes in production technology or obsolescence.

At the end of October 2008 the test flight series to obtain certification of the single-seater and twin-seater Eurofighter aircraft for air-to-air refuelling from the Airbus A310 MRTT tanker began at Military Air Systems (MAS) in Manching. The first refuelling flights using this tanker, during which the aircraft were continuously airborne for up to five hours, were performed by the Eurofighter IPA 3 and 7 test aircraft. Certification of Eurofighter for in-flight refuelling from the Airbus tanker aircraft is expected by the end of 2008. A total of nine certification flights are planned for this purpose.

In-flight refuelling tests of a twin-seat Eurofighter Typhoon with a KC-130J Hercules of the Italian Air Force were successfully completed at Decimomannu, Sardinia in early November 2008. Aircraft IPA2 flew 5 missions, of which one was in a "clean" configuration and the others had a configuration of three external fuel tanks, two under the wings and one on the centre fuselage station. During these tests, including one at night, IPA2 made eight "wet" contacts with the tanker

In November 2008 the Typhoon test and development fleet exceeded 6000 flight hours. The current test fleet consists of six Instrumented Production Aircraft plus one Instrumented Series Production Aircraft (ISPA1).

Images of a Typhoon in BAE Systems' anechoic chamber and test rig

On March 31st 2009 an AMRAAM firing test was carried out in southern Spain against a Mirach target. The objective of the testing was to fire the AMRAAM from a Typhoon (IPA4) whilst its radar was in passive mode and thus invisible to ESM systems. The necessary target data for the missile was acquired by the radar of a second Typhoon (IPA5) and transmitted using the Multi-functional Information Distribution System (MIDS). The aircraft were an unspecified distance apart.

IPA5 flew direct from Warton to Moron AB on Thursday 12th March to assist in the trials, and recorded a flight time of two hours and four minutes, covering over 1000 miles with two external fuel tanks and without air refuelling. IPA4 will now begin an 11 month lay-up in order to bring the aircraft up to Tranche 2 functionality.

On May 26th 2009 the Phase 1 Enhancement flight test programme saw the first flight of a P1E product on a Tranche 2 aircraft.

IPA7 took off from Manching and confirmed the functionality of the Missile Approach Warner prior to a dedicated trials campaign to be carried out over the North Sea in early September.

The first P1E flights focused on aeromechanical aspects of the new stores to be integrated in the P1E Capability Package. These were carried out by IPAs 1, 2 an,d 4 all of which were of the Tranche 1 build standard.

IPA7 was also used to complete the P1E air vehicle trials with Flight Control Handling Qualities flights with the new class of P1E 500lb precision guided bombs (Paveway IV). During June 2008 the aircraft flew with a load of six Paveway IVs, four MRAMMs and two SRAAMs. This test was important in order to demonstrate how the Flight Control System (FCS) reacts with a full weapons load.

IPA7 has also completed five Missile Approach Warning (MAW) flights, carried out with the support of a Luftwaffe F-4 Phantom and a Tornado.

IPA6 has recently (June 2008) undergone a series of DASS test flights as well as Helmet Equipment Assembly (HEA) and Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) flights. IPA 6 is the test bed for the Service Release Package 5.1 which is due to be introduced to in-service aircraft in the near future.

Meanwhile IPA1 commenced a sequence of fifteen Paveway IV jettison drops on June 18th 2009. The trials saw Paveway IVs dropped in a number of store configurations to ensure safe separation and verify that bombs do not interfere with their neighbours when released. Carried out over the Irish Sea with a full load of weapons, RAF pilots Rob Elworthy, Duncan Forbes along with Mark Bowman and Paul Stone, test pilots from BAE Systems Warton base, flew the aircraft during the trials.

<<< Weapons Top History of ZH588 >>>

© David Hastings