Contracts for the production and support of a potential 620 Eurofighter aircraft were signed by the general manager of NETMA and the MDs of Eurofighter GmbH and Eurojet GmbH on January 30th 1998. The contracts cover the total weapon system including the EJ200 engines, and are valued at over DM 55bn (£18.5bn). Over 200 UK companies will benefit to the tune of £1.6bn following the signing of the production contracts.

It was announced at Farnborough 1998 that BAe had invested £14 million in the production of the Typhoon at its Warton, Lancs plant.

Contracts for the first batch of 148 Typhoons and 363 engines, worth nearly DM 14bn (£5bn) were signed in Munich on September 21st 1998 by Jack Gordon, the General Manager of NETMA, Brian Phillipson, the MD of Eurofighter GmbH , and Ken Greenall, the MD of Eurojet GmbH. Deliveries are due to start in 2002 and the UK will take 55 of the first batch, Germany 44, Italy 29 and Spain 20. Deliveries of the second batch of 232 aircraft and 519 engines will be made from 2005 thru 2010. The third batch, for 240 aircraft and 500 engines, will be delivered from 2010 to 2014.

Of the first batch, five aircraft will be instrumented to supplement the seven development aircraft, one will be a production test aircraft and 37 will lack certain systems such as IRST and helmet-mounted sight. The latter will equip OCUs in the four countries, before being upgraded later to full combat capability.

It was announced on January 19th 1999 that work on the first sub-assemblies for production aircraft had started.

On February 16th 1999 Marconi Electronic Systems announced the award of a contract by British Aerospace for production of the ECR90 radar for the Typhoon. The contract covers the initial batch of 147 aircraft. A month later five contracts worth about £300m were awarded to Lucas Aerospace to provide a broad range of engine controls for the EJ200

In late June 1999 UK Defence Minister John Spillar quoted an overall price (apparently including R&D) for the UK share of the program as £16.1 billion. This makes the unit cost £69.4 million.

It was announced on November 4th 1999 that construction of sub-assemblies for the initial production Typhoons was well under way. The first front fuselage cockpit half-sections had been married up at BAe Samlesbury. The front and aft sections of the first centre fuselage had been mated at the DASA Augsberg facility. The rear fuselage section will be shipped to Alenia in Turin for completion, once it has been assembled at Samlesbury. The first production left-hand wing had been co-bonded at Alenia, and the right-hand wing at CASA.

It was announced on January 25th 2000 that DASA/Augsberg had delivered the first production Eurofighter centre section. This will be equipped at DASA/Manching before being delivered to BAE Systems/Warton later in the year for the start of final assembly.

It was reported in the London Daily Telegraph dated 1st May 2000 that the UK MoD, on the grounds that it can't afford the necessary ground support equipment, has deleted the Mauser BK27 cannon from RAF Typhoons. If true, this is one of the MoD's most absurd (and potentially fatal) decisions. All previous fighters built without an internal gun (eg Lightning, F-4, MiG-21) have eventually had the gun restored. Guided missiles are not 100% reliable, and what happens when a future Typhoon pilot, having expended all his missiles, comes upon a target of opportunity which he can't engage through lack of a cannon?

The first production Typhoon centre fuselage was delivered by EADS/Manching on August 31st 2000. The section was delivered to BAE Systems/Warton on September 6th 2000. Manufacture of this first centre section took about 80000 man hours.

Alenia Aerospazio delivered the rear fuselage for the first production aircraft to BAE Systems on September 4th 2000. On October 2nd 2000 it was announced that Alenia had also completed the aircraft's left wing, which would shortly be delivered to BAE Systems.

Final assembly of the first production Typhoon (IPA1) began at BAE Systems/Warton on November 4th 2000.

BAE Systems delivered the first Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) line-replaceable item for the Typhoon in November 2000. The delivery was made 21 months after the development contract was awarded in January 1999. A total of 151 units will be delivered thru 2004 to cover the aircraft in Tranche 1.

In November 2000 the Swedish company SaabTech Electronics was awarded a £10 million contract for 300 BOL chaff and flare dispensers for Typhoon. The order may be increased to 1200 units. Deliveries are due to begin at the end of 2001.

Final assembly of the first German Typhoon (PT003) began at EADS/Manching in December 2000 following delivery of the rear fuselage section jointly manufactured by BAE Systems and Alenia. The front fuselage was delivered from BAE Systems/Warton in mid-December. The wings, canards and fin arrived in early 2001.

PT003 (98+03) under construction at EADS/Manching

Rolls-Royce plc completed and tested the first production EJ200 engine in December 2000. The other three companies in the EUROJET consortium (FiatAvio, MTU and ITP) have also completed production engines. They are all scheduled to be delivered to the UK in 2001 for installation in the first production aircraft.

BAE Systems/Edinburgh delivered the first production CAPTOR radar to BAE Systems/Warton in February 2001.

Rolls Royce delivered the first production EJ200 engines on July 12th 2001.

On July 27th 2001 EADS-CASA Military Aircraft announced the beginning of Eurofighter Typhoon final assembly at Getafe. The Spanish production line is scheduled to deliver 5.5 right wings per month, and up to 7 aircraft per year.

MTU Aero Engines delivered its first two EJ200 engines for the Eurofighter program in early October 2001. The engines were installed in the first German production aircraft by the end of October.

Installing engines into PT003 (98+03) at EADS/Manching

On November 15th 2001 United Industrial Consortium announced that its AAI Corporation subsidiary had been selected by the Eurofighter Industry Consortium to provide Advanced Boresight Equipment to harmonize operational Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The initial contract, valued at $4.6 million, is for eight ABE systems. Up to 30 additional systems may be required.

BAE Systems workers with the front fuselage of PT003

In early March 2002 BAE Systems/Samlesbury delivered the front fuselage of the first German production Typhoon (PT003) to EADS/Manching, following completion of systems testing. Unusually, the windscreen was fitted before shipping - this has previously been done as part of final assembly.

The first production Typhoon, the Italian-built IPA2 (Instrumented Production Aircraft), made its maiden flight from Caselle on April 5th 2002. This was followed by the first flight of the German-built IPA3 (98+03) from Manching on April 8th 2002, and that of the British-built IPA1 (ZJ699) from Warton on April 15th 2002.

Eurofighter Typhoon IT001, the first Italian production aircraft, successfully completed low speed taxi trials at the Alenia Aeronautica facility in September 2002.

Typhoon BT001 (serial ZJ800), piloted by Derek Reeh, BAE Systems Director of Flight Operations and Archie Neill, BAE Systems pilot and Typhoon Entry into Service Manager, took off from the company's site at Warton, Lancs, for a successful 21 minute flight at 16.37 GMT on February 14th 2003. Initially BT001 will deploy to Boscombe Down where it will undertake EMC testing as part of the Type Acceptance process for the Eurofighter Typhoon Weapon System.

Typhoon GT001 made its maiden flight from EADS Military Aircraft/Manching on February 13th 2003 at 14:43 GMT. The flight lasted 44 minutes. At the controls were Heinz Spoelgen, EADS Military Aircraft Eurofighter Typhoon Project Test Pilot, and Lt. Col. Robert Hierl , German Air Force.

Typhoon IT001 made its maiden flight from Alenia Aeronautica/Caselle on February 14th 2003 at 13:30 GMT. The flight lasted 50 minutes. At the controls were Cpt. Marco Venanzetti, Alenia Aeronautica Test Pilot and Cpt. Enrico Scarabotto, Alenia Aeronautica Test Pilot.

Typhoon ST001 made its maiden flight from EADS Military Aircraft/Getafe on February 17th 2003. At the controls were Eduardo Cuadrado Garcia, EADS-CASA Chief of Test Pilot Center at Getafe, and Alfonso de Castro Tornero, EADS-CASA Eurofighter Test Pilot.

On March 17th 2003 Eurofighter GmbH announced the delivery of the first major components of the first single seat Typhoon (PS001) to the final assembly line at EADS-CASA in Getafe, Spain.

PS001 (IPA4) made its maiden flight from EADS-Casa/Getafe on February 27th 2004. Immediately before this, the aircraft was weighed in order to establish its mass and centre of gravity. The results of the test confirmed that the mass prediction for the single seat production aircraft was well in line with the contracted requirement. The Basic Mass Empty (BME) for the single seater is 11 tonnes. Based on this test and the previous weighings of the two seater production aircraft, all Tranche 1 aircraft should be within the contracted mass requirements.

IPA4 is the first single seat production aircraft off the final assembly line, and is the most advanced Typhoon to fly so far. The aircraft flew with enhanced EJ200 engines.

The first Instrumented Series Production Aircraft (BT005) made its first flight at Warton on May 11th 2004.

PS002 (IPA5) made its maiden flight from BAE Systems/Warton on June 7th 2004. The aircraft, with Typhoon Project Pilot Mark Bowman at the controls, was in the air for 28 minutes.

IPA5 was the first UK single-seat production aircraft to roll off the final assembly line at Warton. It was intended to qualify production standards and functionality in concert with single-seat production across the Eurofighter Partner Nations in the following areas: Single-seat fuel system; single-seat cockpit lighting; single-seat structural health monitoring; sensor fusion (radar and DASS); mission assessment; carefree handling.

The second Instrumented Series Production Aircraft (IS001) made its first flight at Caselle on July 9th 2004.

The first single-seater destined for a customer air force, GS002, made its maiden flight at Manching on October 22nd 2004.

On the same day EADS reported that the 100th fuselage centre section for a Eurofighter production aircraft was undergoing equipment assembly at Manching. This centre section is destined for the seventh Spanish single-seater (SS007).

The fuselage centre section is one of the most technologically demanding Eurofighter assemblies. For the most part it consists of carbon composite materials, which are complicated to handle in the production process. The fuselage centre section has to absorb immense and varied forces, which act upon the nose landing gear, engine air intakes, the wing roots and the cannon. In addition, it serves as the integral central fuel tank.

On December 2nd 2004 the budget committee of the German Bundestag approved the procurement of a second batch of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for the Luftwaffe.

Tranche 2 includes both production and development of the extended air-to-ground mission capability of the Typhoon, which will involve integration of state-of-the-art precision weapons for this role.

Type acceptance for the Block 2 single-seat Typhoon was signed in Munich on December 13th 2004. The Block 2 aircraft feature the DASS (Defensive Aids Sub-System) and the MIDS data link (Multiple Information Distribution System), which have been cleared for flight operation.

Air-to-Air refuelling and external fuel tank carriage are now cleared for operation, as is the simultaneous launch of the medium-range AMRAAM air-to-air missile.

To reduce pilotís workload, the Direct Voice Input feature (DVI) has been introduced enabling the pilot to "speak" to the aircraft, further emphasising the human-machine interface capability of Eurofighter Typhoon. The pilot may even request, via DVI, fuel information to be delivered to him by voice by means of the Direct Voice Output (DVO) function.

On December 14th 2004 NETMA (NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency) and Eurofighter Jagdflugzeuge GmbH signed the contract covering the second tranche of Eurofighter aircraft. The value of the contract is about €13 billion, with the UK part worth £4.3 billion.

The first single-seat Typhoon destined for the Italian Air Force, IS002, made its maiden flight at Caselle on December 17th 2004. It was delivered in early January 2005. The first single-seater for the Spanish Air Force was delivered on December 29th 2004, and the first to the Luftwaffe on 14th February 2005.

On March 2nd 2005 the 100th Eurofighter fuselage centre section produced by EADS Germany at Manching left the assembly line. This fuselage section was integrated into Spanish single-seater SS007 on the final assembly line at Getafe.

With the delivery of aircraft IS002 to 4 Stormo at Grosetto AB in April 2005, all four customer air forces were operating production single-seat aircraft to Batch 2 standard. These aircraft have Production System Package 2 capability with Initial Defensive Aids Subsystem (DASS), Multifunctional Information and Distribution System (MIDS), Initial Direct Voice Input (DVI) and Sensor Fusion.

Assembly of the first production Tranche 2 Typhoon began at BAE Systems/Samlesbury on November 17th 2005. The front fuselage of the first aircraft, BS037, is scheduled to be delivered to the final assembly line at BAE Systems/Warton in October 2006.

The 100th production Typhoon was handed over to the RAF at BAE Systems/Warton on September 29th 2006. Aircraft BS022 was the 35th aircraft delivered to the RAF.

At the end of October 2006 the first Tranche 2 Typhoons were gearing up for final assembly in Germany and the UK. The first Tranche 2 aircraft will be IPA7, the 29th single-seater to be assembled in Germany. IPA7 is scheduled to move to the final assembly rigs at EADS/Manching at the end of 2006.

The first flight of IPA7 is due in 2008 with the aircraft to be used for testing the Block 8 capabilities together with IPA6 (British single-seat BS031), a Tranche 1 aircraft that will be upgraded to receive the Tranche 2 standard avionics.

The first Tranche 2 aircraft to be handed over will be BS037 for the Royal Air Force. The front fuselage section of BS037 has already been shipped to the BAE Systems facility at Warton from their site at Samlesbury, while the aircraftís centre fuselage has concluded the equipping process at Manching and is due for delivery to the UK shortly. BS037 will fly for the first time in 2008 and will be handed over to the Royal Air Force in the same year.

In November 2006 a programme began to bring all early Typhoon aircraft in Blocks 1, 2 and 2B to Block 5 Final Operational Capability (FOC) standard. This standard includes the capability to drop laser guided bombs.

The first Block 2B aircraft to be brought to FOC standard are BS021 and GS019. Block 2B aircraft were chosen first as less work is required to bring these aircraft to the higher performance level. By the end of 2007, the combination of new Block 5 aircraft deliveries and upgraded R2 aircraft will enable the Partner Air Forces to meet their NATO commitments.

Following on from Block 2B aircraft, Block 2 Eurofighter Typhoons with the initial air-to-air capability will be upgraded. Finally early Block 1 aircraft (all of them two-seaters) will enter the programme. All aircraft should have been brought up to Block 5 standard by early 2012.

On February 15th 2007 Eurofighter GmbH announced that Block 5 had received Type Acceptance from the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency NETMA. These aircraft represent the last build standard in Tranche 1 and, with the R2 Retrofit programme ongoing across the four Partner Air Forces, will be the standard to which all earlier Typhoons are brought up to. This will also be the capability standard of the 18 aircraft on order by the Austrian Air Force.

Block 5 incorporates full air-to-air and initial air-to-ground capability with carefree handling. The aircraft is cleared for the 9g envelope, with additional features such as sensor fusion, the full Direct Voice Input, enhanced GPS, the DASS (Defensive Aids Sub-System) countermeasures including automatic Chaff and Flare dispensers, radar air-to-surface modes including ground mapping, and initial FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red).

In terms of weapons, the Block 5 Eurofighter Typhoon will be equipped with AMRAAM, ASRAAM, IRIS-T and the proven AIM-9L air-to-air missiles, plus the laser-guided bombs Paveway II and GBU-16. External fuel tanks are certified for supersonic flight, while air-to-air refueling is cleared for all customer specified tanker types.

On March 29th 2007 the General Manager of NETMA, Peter Worrall, and Eurofighter GmbH CEO Aloysius Rauen signed a contract that extends the capabilities of Eurofighter Typhoon beyond those already delivered with Tranche 1 aircraft. This contract (officially called "First Batch of Enhancements for the Eurofighter" or "Change Programme 210") clears the roadmap for integrating new functionalities based on the four air forcesí requirements.

The Phase 1 Enhancement will include the integration of new weapons like Paveway IV and the EGBU-16 (Enhanced Guided Bomb Unit) alongside integrating a Laser Designator Pod (LDP) into Tranche 2 aircraft of all four partner nations. The Human Machine Interface will receive performance upgrades required for the simultaneous Swing Role operation, allowing a pilot to continue a bomb run while at the same time fight air attacks by minimizing the pilotís workload in complex air warfare scenarios. Further extension of the MIDS performance (Multifunctional Information and Distribution System) is a substantial contribution to this objective.

The new contract is also the enabler for the separately contracted full digital integration of the new air-to-air weapon IRIS-T, in service with Germany, Italy and Spain.

The Phase 1 enhancement package for Tranche 2 production is centred on a computer risk-reduction improvement programme, which will introduce a new computer hardware and software architecture To overcome obsolescence problems and to extend the computer capabilities on Tranche 2 aircraft, a new hardware architecture based on Power PC processors has been introduced,

Computers on Block 8 production aircraft will initially use re-hosted software from Tranche 1, but from 2011 a rewritten package will be introduced, allowing full exploitation of further developments in avionics, sensors and weapon systems. The final software release under CP210 will be available by late 2012.

The new architecture will enhance Typhoon's human-machine interface, while further enhancements to its Multifunctional Information Distribution System, GPS, defensive aids system and secure radios will add a substantial contribution to Eurofighter's multi-role/swing-role capabilities. The new software package will also allow the pilot to re-program bomb fuzes during flight, further expanding the aircraft's mission flexibility.

By the end of April 2007 a total of 119 Typhoons had been delivered, and 18,870 flight hours had been acculmulated by partner air forces.

Eurofighter is looking to table its proposals for Tranche 3 by the end of 2007, and needs a production programme decision by January 2009, if gaps are to be avoided. Once expected to have a dramatically revised configuration, the Tranche 3 aircraft is now not expected to incorporate major changes.

On June 26th 2007 it was announced that the Eurofighter consortium had reached agreement with the Government of Austria on cost reductions of the Eurofighter procurement. This has been achieved by reducing the order from 18 to 15 Tranche 1 aircraft.

On November 30th 2007 Eurojet Turbo GmbH announced that the 400th EJ200 engine had been delivered to the customer.

On December 5th 2007 Eurofighter GmbH announced that it had signed the contractual documents with BAE Systems for the supply of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Based on the Tranche 2 production contract, signed on December 14th 2004, and the original export contract with Austria, the Eurofighter consortium will deliver 251 Tranche 2 weapon systems: 93 to the United Kingdom, 75 to Germany, 48 to Italy and 35 to Spain. The difference to the original figure of 236 is based on the delivery of 15 Tranche 1 aircraft to Austria, for which the nations receive aircraft originally ordered by Austria in Tranche 2. Deliveries of Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoons to all four Partner Nations will begin in Summer 2008 and are scheduled to run until 2013

On March 20th 2008 GT015, the 144th and final Tranche 1 aircraft, was delivered to the German Air Force.

On September 12th 2008 Eurofighter announced that Block 8 (Tranche 2) Type Acceptance had been agreed between Eurofighter GmbH and the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA). With customer agreement in place, deliveries to the Air Forces can now proceed.

On May 14th 2009 the British government finally announced that the UK MoD will initial the ministerial agreement on Tranche 3 production, which Germany, Italy and Spain signed on April 2nd 2009.

Tranche 3 should have delivered 88 aircraft to the UK, but this has been reduced to an initial 40 after a compromise negotiated by Germany, with the remainder offset for a later production run, dubbed tranche 3b.

On July 31st the four partner nations signed the Tranche 3A production contract for 112 aircraft, worth €9 billion. This number comprises 40 for the UK, 31 for Germany, and 21 for Italy and 20 for Spain. The deal also includes 241 EJ200 turbofans.

The British commitment is worth around £3 billion, making each of its aircraft's unit cost about £75 million. Deliveries to the RAF will start in 2013, with the aircraft expected to feature new radar and new weapons.

The German government has decided that the Luftwaffe will not receive the final 37 Typhoons from Tranche 3B. Instead, these aircraft will be made available for export.

The 200th production Typhoon (GS026/30+51) was handed over to the Luftwaffe at a ceremony at Manching on November 24th 2009.

The 250th production Typhoon (IS038) was handed over to the AMI at Pratica di Mare on Dcember 21st 2010.

The 100th Typhoon built at BAE Systems Warton, BS072/ZK315, was rolled out on May 25th 2011.

On September 27th 2011 BAE Systems revealed that the annual Typhoon production rate is to be reduced significantly. Four final assembly sites around Europe are configured to deliver up to a combined 60 Typhoons a year, with 53 planned in 2011, but production is due to fall to 43 a year by late 2012, before later being reduced further to 35. This is expected to extend Tranche 3A production of the type by at least two years until late 2017.

The decision to extend the production schedule will enable the Eurofighter consortium to keep its final assembly lines active while it pursues several international sales opportunities.

The 300th production Typhoon (C.16-48/11-28) was handed over to the Spanish Air Force on October 18th 2011.

Development aircraft

Designation Serial Notes Img
DA1 98+29 German-built single-seater. Made its maiden flight on 27 Mar 1994 at Manching. Was transfered to Getafe late 2003(?) and re-serialled as XC.16-02. Retired from flight testing 21 Dec 2005 after its 577th flight. To be displayed at a museum north of Munich.
DA2 ZH588 British-built single-seater. Made its maiden flight 06 Apr 1994 at Warton. Made its final flight on 29 Jan 2007 from Warton to Coningsby. Destined for the RAF Museum at Hendon - but still at Coningsby 29 Jun 2007. Moved by road to Hendon on January 22nd 2008, and was placed in the "Milestones of Flight" Exhibition Hall the following day. See here for a fuller history of this aircraft.
DA3 MMX602 Italian-built single-seater. Made its maiden flight 04 Jun 1995 at Caselle.
DA4 ZH590 British-built two-seater. Made its maiden flight 14 Mar 1997 at Warton. Notable events in its flying career were the first Eurofighter supercruise on 20 Feb 1998, initial auto-throttle and helmet-mounted sight tests in Jun 1999, the first air-to-air refuelling with external tanks, and the first refuelling at night, both in 2001, and the firing of the first AIM-120 AMRAAM in 2002. It was also heavily involved with testing the CAPTOR radar and in evaluating the DASS on the ground and in the air. On December 13th 2006, having had all its test equipment removed, it was taken from Warton to RAF Coningsby, where it was used for GIA duties. Del to IWM Duxford 22 Apr 2009. On display at the museum on 18 Jun 2009.
DA5 98+30 German-built single-seater. Made its maiden flight 24 Feb 1997 at Manching.
DA6 XCE.16-01 Spanish-built two-seater. Made its maiden flight 31 Aug 1996 at Getafe. Crashed near Toledo, Spain, on 21 Nov 2002 after double engine flameout.
DA7 MMX603 Italian-built single-seater. Made its maiden flight 27 Jan 1997 at Caselle.

Production Grid

  UK Germany Italy Spain Austria Saudi Arabia Oman Total
Tranche 1 53 33 28 19 151 0 0 148
Tranche 2 67 79 47 34 0 722 0 2993
Tranche 3A 40 31 21 20 0 0 125 124
Total 160 143 96 73 15 72 12 5714

1.The Austrian order comprises 9 Block 2 aircraft transfered from the Luftwaffe, plus six Block 2 production slots (2 UK, 2 Germany, 1 Italy, 1 Spain).
2.The Saudi order comprises 24 aircraft from UK Tranche 2 production, plus 48 to be assembled in country.
3.Tranche 2 totals have been adjusted to replace aircraft transfered to Austria and Saudi Arabia.
4.Total production depends on Tranche 3 orders.
5.Contract signed December 2012.

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© David Hastings