Structure and Systems

EF2000 cutaway The Eurofighter was designed as a multi-role tactical fighter, optimised for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air combat, but with real air-to-ground capabilities, genuinely deployable, and able to operate from rough, semi-prepared airstrips. The BVR requirement dictated a design with plenty of range and endurance, with a powerful air-to-air radar and the ability to carry a heavy load of long-range missiles, but also with excellent supersonic accleration and agility. These characteristics in turn required the use of advanced materials for structural strength and low weight, powerful afterburning turbofan engines, and a maneouvrable airframe.

Eurofighter is a canard delta design, with the wing leading edge swept at 53 degrees. The swept canard surfaces, which have a marked degree of anhedral, are set well forward in line with the canopy. This provides a high moment arm for optimum control at high alpha, although at the expense of obscuring the view sideways and downwards.

The aircraft is both light and strong because of modern construction techniques. No less than 70% of the surface area is of carbon fibre composite, and a further 12% is glass-reinforced plastic. Most of the rest is metal: titanium is used for the foreplanes, outboard flaperons and structural members, and aluminium-lithium for other parts.

Because the aircraft is a canard, pitch and role are imparted by the foreplanes and the inboard and outboard flaperons, and for this reason they need to be strong. The rudder performs the usual function of yaw control, while the leading-edge slats vary the effective camber of the wing to give the best performance at all angles of attack. As with the F-16, the air intakes are located under the fuselage to ensure a smooth supply of air at low speed and high AOA.

Martin Baker Mk16 ejection seat Although low-observability was not the main design driver, it appears that the intention was to reduce head-on RCS to 20-25% that of a conventional fighter. The curved intake ducts are used to mask the engine compressor faces. In addition, tiles (presumably made of a radar-absorbing material) are used to protect reflective internal components, and RAM coats some other areas, such as the wing leading edges.

Eurofighter is the first combat aircraft to be designed with a revolutionary integrated health and usage monitoring system. The system will perform real-time fatigue calculations and will determine the life consumed by the airframe. It will also monitor an aircraft's flight performance and any significant structural damage. The information is gathered at 20 points across the airframe, 16 times a second. In the future the system should be able to identify damage to specific areas of the aircraft as it is inflicted.

The airframe has an intended service life of 6000 hours, or 30 years. Maintainability targets are 10 MMH/FH, and replacement of a single engine by four personnel in 45 minutes. Operational turnround by six groundcrew is expected in 25 minutes.

The Martin-Baker Mk.16A ejection seat is radically different from earlier Martin-Baker designs. Using technology developed in the Mk. 15 seat, the main beam assembly has been replaced by two sets of telescoping tubes which double as the catapult system. A common gas generator provides the force to catapult the seat out of the cockpit. A newly developed underseat rocket system is used for sustained propulsion.

A computer controls sequencing of the seat for effective recovery of the occupant for all expected speed ranges. The seat uses a passive leg restraint system akin to the one used on several Russian seats like the K-36-series. This system consists of a set of restraint lines run around the cockpit leg areas so that the pilot merely places his/her feet on the rudder pedals. These straps are connected to a padded cuff which is stowed on the sides of the seat pan. On ejection the lines are retracted which wraps the cuffs around the lower limbs of the occupant and provides protection against flail injury.

The seat uses a rapid deploying drogue parachute to slow and stabilize the seat during high-speed ejections. The seat bucket is mostly composite materials. This and the changes to the configuration significantly lower the weight of this seat compared to previous versions. The main recovery parachute is installed in the headrest.


Wing Span:10.95m
Wing area:50m²
Foreplane area:2.4m²
Empty weight (approx):9750 kg
Internal fuel load (approx):4000 kg
External store load (approx):6500 kg
Max T/O weight:21000 kg


The first two development aircraft were powered by two Turbo-Union RB.199-122 turbofans, each developing 71.2 kN. DA3 and subsequent aircraft are fitted with the Eurojet EJ200.

EJ200 cutaway The EJ200 is a two-spool engine rated at 60kN dry and 91.9 kN with full reheat. It has a bypass ratio of 0.4:1, a pressure ratio of 25:1, three low-pressure and five high-pressure compressor stages, and one high-pressure and one low-pressure turbine stage. Basic engine weight with reheat is from 990 to 1035 kg, giving a thrust-to-weight ratio of 10:1. The design has the capacity to develop up to 117 kN, but this has not been funded.

The first EJ200 ran at Munich on 28th November 1988. It first flew in a Eurofighter on 4th June 1995.

Eurofighter has a DASA digital engine control system and a Lucas Aerospace fuel management system. Internal fuel capacity is classified, but is estimated to be around 4 tonnes (4500 liters). Three external tanks containing a total of 3500 liters can be carried simultaneously.

The first Tranche II EJ200 engine was delivered on July 16th 2007. The Tranche II engine incorporates a Digital Engine Control Monitoring Unit (DECMU), which integrates the engine control and monitoring system into a single unit, providing benefits in terms of cost, mass and functionality. 519 Tranche II engines are scheduled to be delivered in the next five years.

Flight Control System

Eurofighter has a full-authority quadruplex digital flight control system which combines with mission-adaptive configuring and the aircraft's instability in pitch tp provide "carefree" handling, gust alleviation and sustained manoeuvrability throughout the flight envelope. There is no manual reversion mode, but the DFCS provides an automatic recovery mode which immediately returns the aircraft to straight-and-level flight. The aircraft's databus is to STANAG 3910 NATO standard.

The Automatic Low-Speed Recovery system (ALSR) prevents the aircraft from departing from controlled flight at very low speeds and high angles of attack. To achieve this, the ALSR, being an element of the overall FCS system, is able to detect a developing low-speed situation and to raise an audible and visual low-speed warning. This will give the pilot sufficient time to react and to recover the aircraft manually. If the pilot doesn´t react or ignores the warning, the ALSR will actively take control of the aircraft, select maximum dry power for the engines and return the aircraft to a safe flight condition depending on the attitude by either using an ALSR "push", "pull" or "knife-over" manoeuvre.


CAPTOR The Typhoon is equipped with the CAPTOR coherent multi-mode radar. Captor is an X-band pulse-Doppler set, based largely on the Ferranti Blue Vixen. It uses a mechanically-scanned planar array antenna, which was judged the best solution to providing the scan rates and angular changes demanded by the air-to-air role.

The radar detects, identifies, prioritises and engages targets beyond the effective range of enemy weapon systems, whilst remaining resistant to severe electronic jamming. Closely integrated with other avionics sensors through the Sensor Fusion system, Captor provides long range detection and tracking for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) weapons, a simultaneous multiple target engagement capability, raid assessment, Non Co-operative Target Identification (NCTI) and decreased pilot workload through intelligent automation.

Main Air-to-Air features:

Main Air-to-Surface features:

ECM resistance is incorporated by means of a separate third channel, which is dedicated to classifying and countering jamming.

Radars for Tranche 2 aircraft introduce a redesigned Processor Line Replaceable Item (LRI) which will also support the future introduction of an Active Electronic Scanned Array (AESA), together with hardware within the Receiver to support high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).

The radar is supplemented by the Galileo Avionica PIRATE IRST (passive infra-red airborne tracking equipment). PIRATE performs the same tasks as a radar, but works in a passive mode to detect IR radiation emmitted by different targets. PIRATE is not being installed on German aircraft.

Defensive systems are being developed by EuroDASS. The Defensive Aids Sub-System comprises a radar warning receiver, radar jammer, laser warning receiver, missile approach warning, chaff/flare dispensers and a towed radar decoy. All this is fitted internally, so there are no add-on pods to take up pylon space. Germany withdrew from DASS, but still needs RWR and MAW.

Radstone Technology's PowerPC-based processors are to be integrated in the DASS, replacing Motorola 68020-based General Purpose Processors. There will be five PowerPC GPPs in each DASS.

The cockpit is uncluttered, with only 3 multi-function displays and one rectangular display panel under the HUD.

The "A" version of the ECR-90 radar flew in a BAC 111 testbed at Bedford on 8th January 1993. The "C" version was the first to be packaged to fit Eurofighter. DA5 was the first to carry it. It was later installed in DA4 as well.

The Typhoon will have the British Aerospace Systems and Equipment TERPROM ground proximity warning system. TERPROM uses stored digital elevation data which, when combined with navigation system and radar altimeter inputs, provides accurate drift-free navigation by day and night, and in all weather conditions.

The Typhoon helmet-mounted display is a high-resolution, binocular system driven by powerful processor and graphics modules. Its helmet tracker is a high-speed, high-accuracy, low-latency optical system. The helmet displays "virtual head-up display" symbology and video imagery from the aircraft sensors and from a helmet-mounted, image-intensified night vision system.

The helmet’s fully integrated design ensures the compatibility of head protection, life support, and electro-optics, and also incorporates the fully integrated respirator for protection in nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare environments.

RAF Typhoons are to receive the Rafael Litening III targetting pod. This pod enables the pilot to effectively detect, recognize, identify, track and engage ground targets by day or night, and under adverse weather conditions. With the pod’s systems they can designate such targets by laser, for attack by other aircraft or by precision guided weapons carried on board. The pod integrates the necessary laser rangefinder and designator, required for the delivery of LGBs, cluster and general purpose bombs. Laser spot detection is utilized in cooperative missions, for rapid orientation, detection and recognition of targets, marked by other forces. Identification of aerial targets from BVR ranges is also provided with the INS assisted gimbaled sensors, as the sensors can continuously point to the target’s direction, irrelevant to the aircraft position, or interference of clouds or obscurants. This combination also enables employment of the sensors in "point of interest" mode, where LITENING enables free maneuvering during and after the attack path, while maintaining the target clearly visible and marked for precision attack. The same sensors can provide imagery for night navigation as well as hit verification and battle damage assessment after the attack.

In August 2006 a £73m contract was signed by the general manager of NETMA (the NATO management agency for Typhoon) and Eurofighter GmbH (the Typhoon prime contractor) to provide a ground attack capability for the UK using the Rafael Litening III Laser Designator Pod and Enhanced Paveway II bomb.

Production Blocks

Tranche 1/Block 1

Block 1 aircraft are intended for training and evaluation

Tranche 1/Block 2/2B

Block 2 aircraft offer a limited air defence capability. Block 2B adds carefree handling software.

Tranche 1/Block 5

Block 5 aircraft have definitive avionics, provide a limited air-to-ground capability and AIM-120C-5 AMARAAM compatibility. All RAF Tranche 1 aircraft are being brought up to Tranche 5 standard under the R1 and R2 upgrades, providing a Litening 3 laser designator capability two years before any Block 10 aircraft are delivered.

Block 5 aircraft will have the PIRATE FLIR/IRST (except on German aircraft), and the full Defensive Aids Sub-System (except German aircraft). RAF aircraft will have a laser warning receiver.

Tranche 2/Block 8

Block 8 aircraft from Tranche 2 are only configured for the air-to-air role. Phase 1 Enhancement for Block 8 aircraft will add air-to-surface capabilities (Paveway IV and EGBU-16) alongside full integration of the Laser Designator pod. A follow-on P2E phase will intergrate more advanced weaponry such as the Storm Shadow cruise missile and JDAM.

Tranche 2/Block 10

Block 10 (EOC-1) will feature the full-standard DASS, AIM-120C-5 AMRAAM and Paveway III.

Tranche 2/Block 15

Block 15 (EOC-2) will add the Meteor AAM, Storm Shadow and a reconnaissance capability.


Maximum speed:2125 km/hr
Time to 10670m:2.5 minutes
Runway requirement:700m
T/O run, air combat mission:300m
Combat radius, ground attack, lo-lo-lo:601 km
Combat radius, ground attack, hi-lo-hi:1389 km
Air defence with 3hr CAP:185 km
g limits, int fuel and two AIM-120:+9/-3

The Crew Escape and Safety Systems Trainer

The Crew Escape and Safety Systems Trainer (CESST) is a key training element in preparing maintenance personnel employed on the escape and canopy jettison systems. The CESST allows trainees to work exactly as if they were working on the aircraft, but without the risks from explosives associated to canopy and ejector seat systems.

The CESST allows instructors to perform "on aircraft" operational demonstrations and maintenance training in the execution of :

The CESST requirement was derived from the Eurofighter Typhoon development process that initially captured the four nation customer requirements and generated an initial Industry solution. The output from this process formed the foundation for the CESST contract specification. CESST designers worked closely with the customer air forces and industry Personnel Training Specialists to drive the required level of complexity and fidelity demanded in the final system design.

The CESST consists of two major assemblies:

  1. Eurofighter Typhoon front fuselage twin-seat version mock-up featuring :
    • Two Production Aircraft Standard Training Ejection Seats
    • A fully functioning canopy actuation and jettison system
    • Servicing platforms to provide safe access to the trainer

  2. Eurofighter Typhoon single seat part-task trainer providing additional training on the canopy jettison system bridging the gap between twin and single seat aircraft maintenance.

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© David Hastings