Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2024-05-03

Typhoon: Euro-Fuelled Fighter & Jobs Machine

The Eurofighter programme, Europe’s largest defence collaboration, is taking flight towards the next generation.  Managed by Eurofighter GmbH, this multinational effort led by Italy, UK, Germany, and Spain is not just about powerful aircraft. It’s a major economic engine that sustains around 100,000 jobs across the four partner nations and is projected to contribute €58 billion to the GDP of the nations’ economies over the next decade. 
 
A Strategy& report highlights the Eurofighter Typhoon programme’s substantial economic impact on Europe. The “base scenario” forecasts €14 billion in tax revenues, with new orders from Spain and Germany considered. 
 
The “growth scenario” projects even higher figures with potential sales of 200 Eurofighters, contributing €90 billion to GDP, generating €22 billion in tax revenues. Around 30 per cent of core nation investment could return as tax revenues from future exports. 
Additional data published in the Strategy & report also shows that through the whole operational life of a single Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, the contribution to the four core nations is €407 million of GDP and €100 million of taxes. 
The participants in the programme are Leonardo, BAE Systems and Airbus Defence & Space. The procurement requirements of the air forces are managed by the NATO Eurofighter & Tornado Management Agency (NETMA).
 
Interoperable Evolution
Eurofighter evolves for next-gen battles: interoperable with future fighters & their drone/weapon ecosystem, all in a combat cloud. This vision drives its advancements in mission systems, human-machine interface, operations, and engines, directly benefiting future “Combat Air” programmes by acting as a risk-reducing technology demonstrator.
Thanks to new orders and prospects, the Eurofighter programme will sustain economic benefits and create skilled jobs for partner nations and Europe, ensuring local impacts for at least another three decades.
 
Skyward Benefits
Giancarlo Mezzanatto, CEO of Eurofighter Typhoon, emphasises the programme’s dual importance: ensuring European airspace safety and driving significant economic benefits. The programme supports tens of thousands of aerospace jobs and boosts local economies, benefiting communities and sustaining SMEs, start-ups, and educational institutions near production lines. 
New orders are crucial for maintaining Europe’s defence industry assets, ensuring technological independence, and fostering industrial resilience. 
 
Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Air Power at Airbus Defence and Space, remarked, “With contracts signed for Germany’s Quadriga programme (38 new Tranche 4) and Spain’s Halcón programme (20 new Eurofighters), Airbus is also ready to sustain and expand production in Germany and Spain to meet customer demands.”
 
Simon Barnes, Group Managing Director, BAE Systems Air, said: “The programme makes a huge economic contribution and due to export sales the programme has already returned more than double the UK Government’s initial investment.  Continued investment in Typhoon is crucial for European defence resilience.” 
 
Lorenzo Mariani, Leonardo’s Co-General Manager, stated, “The programme has driven advanced technologies and employment while delivering significant economic benefits. Leonardo’s diverse involvement in aircraft, electronics, and systems translates to broad impacts across our defence and civil programmes.”
With over 850,000 flight hours, the Eurofighter Typhoon forms the backbone of the German, British, Italian and Spanish air forces.
 
UK’s Typhoon Impact
The Eurofighter Typhoon programme has proven to be a standout UK defence success, with export sales doubling the government’s £12 billion investment and more potential on the horizon. 
The programme is a significant contributor to the UK economy through multiple avenues. Directly, it employs 6,500 workers, mainly in engineering roles, located in key regions like the North West, Scotland, and the East Midlands. These operations generate hundreds of millions for the GDP.
 
Indirectly, the programme’s £350 million spend in its UK supply chain in 2020 supported an additional 6,300 jobs, contributing to a further 8,000 jobs when combined with direct employees’ wage spending. 
In total, the Typhoon programme contributed to 20,800 jobs in 2020 and has maintained an average of 20,000 jobs over the last five years. The workforce’s productivity stands at 2.3 times the UK average and nearly 90 per cent higher than the average UK manufacturing worker
Environmentally, the Typhoon programme is aligning with Royal Air Force’s sustainability goals. It’s expanding virtual pilot-training to reduce carbon emissions and is set to operate with 50 per cent sustainable fuel, aiming for Net Zero by 2040. 
 
New digital engineering methods by BAE Systems and Leonardo are reducing test flights, cutting the programme’s carbon footprint.
In 2023, the UK Ministry of Defence awarded BAE Systems an £870 million contract to develop the European Common Radar System (ECRS) Mk2 radar, enhancing the Typhoon’s capabilities and creating over 600 skilled jobs across the UK. 
This includes 300 jobs at Leonardo’s Edinburgh site, 100 in Luton, and 120 engineers in Lancashire.
The Typhoon’s versatility as a multi-role combat aircraft allows it to handle various air operations from air policing to high-intensity conflicts. Teamed with the F-35B Lightning II, it ensures frontline capability for the UK.
 
Italy’s Typhoon Footprint
Two decades since its first delivery to the Italian Air Force’s 4th Wing, the Eurofighter Typhoon remains Italy’s air defence cornerstone. Italy hosts 200 of over 400 suppliers contributing to the programme. Leonardo, responsible for about 36 per cent of the programme’s value, leads in aeronautical and electronic components. It is pioneering the new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for Kuwait’s Typhoons, enhancing capability and performance.
 
Through the Euroradar consortium, Leonardo supplies the CAPTOR-E AESA radar and is developing the world’s most advanced reconfigurable radar system, AESA ECRS Mk2, for integration by BAE Systems. The Typhoon is equipped with an infrared search and track system (PIRATE) by Eurofirst, an international consortium led by Leonardo.
 
The Praetorian Defensive Aids Sub-System (DASS), developed by the EuroDASS consortium under Leonardo’s leadership, equips the Typhoon with comprehensive electronic measures and countermeasures, reinforcing its ability to evade and engage advanced threats.
Under a long-term partnership, Leonardo provides avionic support and maintenance for the Italian and Royal Air Forces, as well as the German and Spanish fleets in collaboration with Airbus. Italy’s significant role in the Typhoon programme underscores its strategic importance in Italy’s defence and aerospace industries. 
 
Spain’s Economic Boost
The Eurofighter programme’s Halcon and Quadriga contracts promise significant economic benefits for Spain. A study funded by Airbus and supported by ITP Aero reveals that these contracts will secure 26,000 jobs in Spain until 2060. 
The Halcon contract alone, signed in 2022, involves 20 Eurofighter jets, contributing around €1.5 billion to Spanish GDP and generating €151 million in direct tax revenue. The Quadriga contract, signed in 2020 for 38 Eurofighters, adds an additional €200 million to GDP.
On average, the manufacturing (2020-2030) and maintenance (2023-2060) phases will create 657 jobs annually, boosting the Spanish aerospace sector by 2.7 per cent in direct employment. These contracts are expected to generate a total tax collection of €430 million, stimulating the Spanish economy with a €2.8 return on every euro collected.
With the Halcon programme, Spain’s Eurofighter fleet will expand to 90 aircraft by 2026, ensuring production activity until 2030. The Quadriga contract secures production of the latest Tranche 4 Eurofighter until 2030, with a service-life extending beyond 2060. Both contracts play a vital role in safeguarding Spain’s and Europe’s strategic autonomy in defence.
 
Key German Asset
The Eurofighter programme plays a vital role in Germany’s economy, supporting 25,000 jobs and involving over 120 suppliers. It contributes significantly to the German GDP, generating around €6.5 billion by 2060 and €3.6 billion in tax revenue. However, with production set to end in 2030, Germany faces a 10-year gap until the European air combat system (FCAS) becomes operational in 2040.
Without a follow-up order for Tranche 5, Germany risks losing its military fighter aircraft industry, along with jobs and crucial technological expertise. 
 
The Federal Association of the German Aerospace Industry (BDLI) President, Dr. Michael Schöllhorn, emphasises the need for a commission from the federal government to develop the Eurofighter further during this legislative period.
Schöllhorn states that retaining military aircraft manufacturing in Germany is crucial, especially considering the geopolitical situation. He stresses the importance of building an industrial bridge beyond the current Tranche 4 Eurofighter, ensuring the system remains technologically advanced for the Bundeswehr and allies.
 
The Eurofighter not only holds strategic importance for Germany’s air force but also shapes its industrial landscape, impacting the entire value chain across the country. A decision by the federal government to invest in the Eurofighter’s future will secure jobs, tax revenue, and maintain Germany’s technological edge in military aviation.
 
Combat Superiority
This swing-role combat aircraft boasts an agile airframe constructed from stealth materials, paired with cutting-edge sensors and weapon systems, ensuring optimal combat capability in various roles, both close and beyond visual range. Its impressive performance specifications, including powerful engines and a low gross weight, result in an outstanding thrust-to-weight ratio that often surpasses competitors in evaluations.
 
Airframe:  The Typhoon is built with advanced composite materials to deliver a lower radar profile and strong airframe. Only 15 per cent of the aircraft’s surface is metal, delivering stealth operation and protection from radar-based systems. It delivers both superior manoeuvrability at subsonic speeds and efficient supersonic capability to support the widest range of combat scenarios. 
 
Strong, lightweight composite materials were key to the design of Eurofighter Typhoon. Using those means the weight of the airframe is 30 per cent less than for traditional materials, boosting range and performance as well as reducing the radar signature. From the earliest stage, pilots were included in the design process to develop a deliberately unstable airframe that can still be flown effectively. 
 
Sensors: The Typhoon features class-leading sensors that provide pilots with unparalleled situational awareness, integrating data to update the battlespace for actionable intelligence. Its electronically scanned radar boasts a wider field of regard, enhancing both air-to-air and air-to-surface engagements. 
 
The Pirate System enables simultaneous tracking of multiple targets, while the Multifunctional Digital Information Distribution System (MIDS) securely exchanges real-time data across various forces. 
 
The Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS) offers comprehensive threat assessment and automatic response capabilities, including Electronic Support Measures and Electronic Counter Measures pods, Missile Approach Warners, and Chaff and Flare dispensers. The IFF system allows pilots to identify friendly and potentially hostile aircraft in both military and civilian modes.
 
Radar: The electronically scanned radar is the primary sensor on Eurofighter Typhoon and has a full suite of air-to-air and air-to-surface modes. The capacious aperture of the Eurofighter Typhoon allows the installation of E-Scan’s optimised and repositionable array whose field of regard is some 50 per cent wider than traditional fixed plate systems. This wide field of regard offers significant benefits in both air-to-air and air-to-surface engagements and given the large power and aperture available provides the pilot with much enhanced angular coverage compared to fixed plate systems.
 
Advanced Cockpit: The advanced cockpit design, developed through extensive assessments by operational pilots, incorporates upgraded digital technology to enhance operation, survivability, and maintenance efficiency. 
 
It features a wide-angle Head Up Display (HUD) for stable and accurate eyes-out guidance compatible with night vision and laser protection goggles. The cockpit includes three identical Multi-function Head Down Displays (MHDD) that offer a complete tactical picture to the pilot, with automatic format selection based on flight phase and pilot presence. 
 
The Hands on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) approach integrates with Direct Voice Input (DVI) to create the Voice, Throttle, and Stick (VTAS) control concept, allowing critical functions to be executed without diverting attention from flight controls. 
The helmet incorporates the latest Helmet Mounted Symbology System (HMSS) and optical protection, while computer-controlled breathing support technology enhances pilot comfort and performance.
 
Fuel System: Throughout the aircraft flexible couplings connect the fuel pipework built into the three main fuselage sections and wings. These provide a simple method to connect the fuel tanks, which all have fuel-flow proportions to maintain the centre of gravity alongside relief valves to maintain air and fuel pressures. The intelligent computer-controlled fuel system ensures long-range, flexibility and safety. The maximum fuel capacity amounts 7,600kg.
 
Weapons: The Eurofighter Typhoon can carry a vast range of air-to-air as well as air-to-surface weapons. The aircraft offers weapon engagement zones starting close-in at visual range up to ling range engagements.
  
Air-to-Air Weapons: Typhoon can carry are AMRAAM, ASRAAM, IRIS-T and METEOR. 
 
Air-to-Surface Weapons: Typhoon can accommodate are Storm Shadow, Brimstone II, GBU-10, GBU-48, GBU-54 LJDAM, Mk82, Spear 3, Taurus, Paveway IV, LDP Sniper, LDP Litening III, LDP Litening V, LDP Damocles and Recce XR.
 
Key Points 
Here are certain facts and figures on why the European fighter jet will continue to be state-of-the-art for the next three decades:
A Soaring Debut: The Eurofighter programme took flight in 1994 with the maiden flight of the DA1 prototype. Test pilot Peter Weger described it as an “incredible aircraft” and a truly unforgettable experience. 
 
One for all and all for one: Airbus (Germany and Spain), BAE Systems (UK) and Leonardo (Italy) form the Eurofighter consortium. 
 
Securing Freedom: Eurofighter Typhoons are deployed by various NATO members, promoting interoperability and strengthening collective defence capabilities. 
 
NATO’s Largest Air Deployment Exercise: In June 2023, the Eurofighter and other Airbus military aircraft joined Air Defender, NATO’s largest-ever air force deployment exercise. 
 
Powerful Performance: The Eurofighter’s two EJ200 engines deliver 150,000 horsepower, propelling it to speeds up to Mach 2.35. Developed by four global companies, these engines are known for their reliability and can cruise at supersonic speeds without reheat.
 
Rapid Ascent Capabilities: Capable of climbing nearly 11,000 metres in just two minutes, the Eurofighter is ideal for Quick Reaction Alert duties, swiftly intercepting intruders and maintaining national security. Eurofighters are securing NATO’s Eastern Flank, engaging in air defence roles and training alongside German and Spanish units.
 
International Player
In addition to the 529 Typhoons ordered by the four partner nations, aircraft have been ordered by Saudi Arabia (72), Austria (15), Oman (12), Kuwait (28) and Qatar (24), making a total of 680 units, with 603 delivered. The first Eurofighter was delivered to the German Air Force in 2003. 
 
Final Assembly Lines 
Airbus produces the Eurofighter in Manching near Ingolstadt (for the German Air Force) and in Getafe near Madrid (for the Spanish Air Force). BAE Systems and Leonardo produce the aircraft in the UK (Warton) and Italy (Turin) respectively.
 
New Deliveries 
Airbus is producing 38 Tranche 4 Eurofighters, named Quadriga, for the German Air Force, with deliveries scheduled between 2025 and 2030 to replace older models. Spain will receive 20 Tranche 4 Eurofighters, known as Halcon I, starting in 2026, with plans for an additional 25 in Halcon 2.
 
Electronic Warfare Capabilities
By 2030, Airbus will enhance the German Eurofighters with electronic warfare capabilities under the Eurofighter EK (Elektronischer Kampf). This upgrade includes Saab’s self-protection system and Northrop Grumman’s “AARGM” anti-radar missiles, aiming to replace the Tornado in SEAD roles and secure NATO certification.
 
With Saab’s transmitter location system and the Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) from Northrop Grumman, the Eurofighter EK will be able to detect, localise and disable anti-aircraft radars. The Saab solution has jammers that improve the Eurofighter’s self-protection. 
The Eurofighter EK also has technologies on board that were developed by small and medium-sized enterprises and a start-up. These include an AI solution that makes it possible to analyse radar data on-board and quickly determine precise self-protection measures.
 
LTE Upgrade
The Long-Term Evolution (LTE) programme, involving Germany, Spain, Great Britain, and Italy, aims to modernise key components like the cockpit and boost computing power, ensuring the Eurofighter remains technologically advanced. The contract signing is anticipated this year. 
 
Tranche 5 Eurofighter Order
To maintain Germany’s fighter jet expertise and bridge the production gap, an order for around 100 Tranche 5 Eurofighters is needed. Airbus would produce 50 in Manching, Germany, while potential export orders would cover the remaining 50, assembled in Italy, Spain, or the UK. Spain also plans up to 25 additional aircraft (Halcon 2).
 
Integration with FCAS
Eurofighter will integrate into the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) network, flying alongside both manned and unmanned platforms. This positions the aircraft as a key platform for advancing FCAS technologies and operational concepts, including drone teaming by the early 2030s and commanding multi-domain force packages from the cockpit.
 
Drone Power
Drones with different sizes and capabilities are vital assets of FCAS, where they will complement and operate in a network with manned aircraft such as the New Generation Fighter and the Eurofighter, all connected to a cyber-secured combat cloud. Operating under the command of a manned fighter aircraft, drones provide better protection for pilots while enhancing the fighter’s operational envelope and the ability to act in risky situations.
 
Future-Proof Defender 
In conclusion, the Eurofighter programme is a shining example of successful international collaboration. It stands as a testament to European innovation and teamwork in the realm of defence. 
From its maiden flight to its current status as a state-of-the-art combat aircraft, it has consistently proven its mettle in safeguarding European skies. 
 
Its adaptability, demonstrated through continuous upgrades and technological advancements, ensures it remains a formidable force well into the future.
 
 
 

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