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Eurofighter Typhoon in air combat

Scorpion82

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This is an article about the Eurofighter Typhoon's capabilities in air combat written by ME.
The informations contained into this article are based on officially published data!
The article is a not a direct comparison vs other aircraft types and the informations contained might not be to 100% correct!
All rights are credited to the author meaning ME.

Feedback and critics are welcome!

greets Scorpion
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Eurofighter Typhoon in air combat


The Eurofighter Typhoon is an 4th generation combat aircraft jointly developed by Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The aircraft was designed as a multirole fighter from the outset, but the emphasis was ever placed on the types air combat capabilities. The Eurofighter Typhoon was primararily designed to encounter enemy strike and attack aircraft as well as bombers and to deal with their fighter escorts in a NATO versus Warsaw Pact/Soviet Union scenario. The aircraft was also designed to defeat enemy airsuperiority and frontline fighters in the effort to achieve and maintain airsuperiority. The requirements set up by the 4 partner airforces were high. The Eurofighter Typhoon had to be able to defeat any present and future kind of an airborne threat at short distances within visual range and at long distances beyond visual range, at day and night, under all weather conditions and even in dense electronic warfare environments. The designers set them self the goal to develope the best fighter in history.
When the Eurofighter Typhoon eventually entered service throughout 2004 the first aircraft delivered were limited to the airdefence role only. But the typ will be continously upgraded throughout its service life. Within every production tranche and its sub batches aircraft will be delivered in different block configurations. Every block features additional functions, systems and/or weapons further enhancing the aircrafts overall capabilites. Over the years to come the Eurofighter Typhoon will finally evolve into the often proposed multirole/swingrole platform. However the primary task will remain the air to air mission.

We want now to take a closer look at the Eurofighter Typhoon’s current and future proposed capabilities in air combat. But before we do that we want to clear up the question:”What is air combat?”.
Air combat basically means shooting down an enemy aircraft with your own, with the aim to survive the engagement. But what sounds that easy in theory is a very complex issue in reality depending on a varity of factors. Todays air combat can be divided into the close air combat within visual range also known as WVR combat or dogfight and into the air combat at long distances beyond visual range also known as BVR combat. Despite the main goal of bringing down an enemy aircraft remains the same, the parameters relevant to perform well in both areas are very different. That means a good WVR fighter is not necessarily a good BVR platform and the other way round. The Eurofighter Typhoon was designed to perform well in both areas. Due to the significant differences we want to describe the types capabilities in both areas seperatly.


BVR combat:
BVR combat has become the most important kind of air combat today. Every pilot will try to defeat his enemy at the longest possible distance. The key to success in BVR combat is described with the three terms “first look”, “first shot”, “first kill”. If the pilot is able to see his enemy first he will be able to prepare the attack and manoeuvring into a tactical advantagous position increasing the chances of making the first shot. Making the first shot will vastly rise the propability of achieving the first kill. However achieving these three “firsts” is more difficult than one might think and relies on many factors.
A key driver in air combat in general is the situational awareness (SA) of the pilot. That means the pilot being aware of the situation around him on the battlefield or the airspace particulary. The earlier and more he knows about the enemy the better it is. The information advantage of a pilot can already be decisive for the result of a BVR engagement.
In a BVR engagement the pilot can’t visually detect an aircraft, that means he relies on the aircraft’s onboard equipement, particulary the sensor systems.
To see the enemy first and for good SA an aircraft needs multiple reliable long range sensors, covering a wide field of view. As the enemy could use such systems as well signature reduction is very important for being detected later by the enemy. Further more a comprehensive selfdefence system is required to early identify and counter possible threats. Reducing pilots workload and giving him a good overview over the situation and the relevant informations is necessary as well to increase the pilots SA. Seeing the enemy first is one thing, but it does not automatically mean being able to engage him first. The weapons performance is relevant for both making the first shot and achieving the first kill. Also flight performance plays an important role. The higher and faster the aircraft flies the more energy will be given to the launched missile increasing its effective range. A fast climb rate and acceleration is important too and required to quickly reach the optimum speed and altitude. Finally the manoeuvreability, especially at supersonic speeds is important to break away after missile launch or to evade an enemy missile launched towards the own aircraft.
The primary target detection tool for combat aircraft since decades is the radar. The radar sends out radarwaves and receives the returns which are reflected by objects in the air. Modern systems are even able to identify aircraft and to collect and calculate all data necessary to use radar guided air to air missiles (AAMs).
The Eurofighter Typhoon is equiped with the digital impulse Doppler multimode fire control radar Captor-C. The former known ECR 90 (European Collaborative Radar 90) is developed by the multinational EuroRadar consortium which was founded in 1990. The Captor is based on the Blue Vixen radar of the Sea Harrier FA.Mk2, but it’s not simply a further developement but a completly new design based on the Blue Vixen’s technology.
The Captor is a modulare designed light weight system consisting of 6 Line Replaceable Items and weighting around 170 kg. The 6 LRIs include 2 transmitter and receiver units each for better reliability and of the radar computer and the antenna block. The powerful radar computer consists of 17 individual processors and is able to perform up to 3 billion flow point operations per second. A high processing speed is important for good performance and to allow the radar to handle various tasks simultously. As the signal data processor is free programmeable it is easy to upgrade the radar by simply uploading new software. The complex software of the Captor is written to MIL STD 2167A standard and consists of a 1.2 million lines long code. The Captor is using a conventional mechanical steered planar flat array with a diameter of 70 cm. The lightweight and non-counter balanced antenna is driven by 4 strong servo motors enabling very high scanning speeds. High scanning speeds increases the radars target data update rate, reliability and countermeasures resistence. The antenna can be swept around by at least +/- 60° in both azimuth and elevation. Some sources even suggest an azimuth coverage of +/-70°.
In comparision to other radars with similar technology the Captor does not only include 2 data processing channels for target detection and tracking, but also features a third one for identification and supression of enemy electronic countermeasures (ECM). Countermeasures resistence is very important for an aircraft which should operate in heavy electronic warefare environments. On a todays modern battlefield a large number of platforms will use ECM to fool and decept the opposing radar systems. Some jammers will generate false targets to make target acquisition more difficult, others will feed a radar with wrong data making fire solution calculations incorrect or simply prevent a system from locking onto the platform. The combination of high scanning and processing speeds with a dedicated data processing channel provides the Captor-C with exceptional electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM).

For the BVR area the Captor provides three main modes:
The range while scan mode (RWS) is used to scan a large field of view detecting aircraft at the longest possible distance, the track while scan mode (TWS) is used to give the pilot a better picture of the airspace ahead increasing his SA, while the velocity search mode (VS) is used to determine different contacts closure speed for target priorisation.
In contrast to other radar systems offering similar modes in the Eurofighter Typhoon the pilot does typically not choose a single mode. Instead he defines a sector where the radar should look for targets and selects if a detected contact should be automatically tracked or not.
Normally the radar will work in RWS mode to detect aircrafts as early as possible. The antenna will be automatically steered to scan the defined sector and the radar will automatically choose the best suited pulse reputation frequency (PRF) depending on the look direction and the targets aspect angle to optimize performance. If a contact is detected the pilot will be informed and the contact is shown on the default 2-D horizontal display format in relation to its position in azimuth and range. If automatic target tracking is selected the radar will track the contact automatically switching to TWS mode. To do so the radar will generate a track file where it saves the position of the contact. With every antenna sweep the Captor will check and update the targets position again and again. Tracked contacts are shown with their flight direction and identification. The Captor is at least able to track up to 20 targets at once, while searching for additional targets, even under look up/down conditions. That means the radar is able to detect and track targets even if they fly much higher or lower than the own aircraft. For target identification the Captor features an integrated IFF system which will automatically try to identify every tracked contact by sending out a crypted signal towards the contact awaiting a correct response. Targets will be shown as different symbols in different colours according their identification which could be friendly, hostile or unknown.
The VS mode will be normally interleaved with TWS mode to determine different contacts closure speed. In TWS mode every tracked target will be automatically priorised taking into account a targets distance, flight direction, closure speed, altitude and identification. Every target will be marked with a letter depending on its priorisation. Despite the fact that the VS mode will be normally interleaved with the TWS or even RWS mode there is probably also a seperate VS display mode showing contacts in relation to their closure speed rather than range.
The Captor is able to track at least up to 6 targets as high priority targets. Normally the contacts posing the highest thread will be assigned by the system as high priority targets, but the pilot can also select any target he wants as high priority target using the radar cursor. If the priorities change the pilot will be automatically informed. He can easily switch to the new priority target by simply pressing a button. High priotity targets will also be tracked outside of the scanning sector as long as they stay within the scanning angles of the antenna. This technique is called data adaptive scanning (DAS) and improves the tracking performance at longer distances. Thanks to its high scanning speed the Captor is able to track while scan within the full azimuth coverage if required, in comparision to other systems which are mostly limited in that direction. For all high priority targets the fire control system will automatically calculate firing solutions, enabling the aircraft to perform multiple target engagements. For two targets the most important data like identification, speed, altitude, closure speed etc. will be shown in the bottom line of the display. A firing bar shows the optimal engagement range for the weapon selected taking into account all necessary parameters like flight direction, altitude, speed, range and closure speed. If required the system can automatically choose the weapon best suited for the targets distance. If a target is in range the pilot will be visually and acoustically informed. If he decides to launch a missile, the radar will automatically switch to the next high priority target. Any target attacked will be marked so that an unwanted double shot at a single target is unlikely. The missiles position will be shown on the display allowing the pilot to track a missiles flight path and to confirm a hit.
The Captor also features a fighter to missile datalink which will provide mid-course guidance updates for active radar guided AAMs launched towards the high priority threats increasing the propability of kill.
In addition to the three main modes the Captor features a high quality single target track sub mode. In this mode the radar will concentrate on a single target increasing target data update rates and countermeasures resistence. However the mode will decrease the pilots SA as it will not look out for or track additional targets. As a lot of energy is send out towards the target in that mode, the propability of being passively detected by the enemy is much higher. However the STT mode can generate continous waves necessary for target illumination when using semi active radar guided AAMs (which are not used by the Eurofighter Typhoon).
Essential for air combat in general is the identification of the target. The pilot must verify a target as enemy before engaging to avoid friendly kills. Next to the automatic IFF system the Captor-C features a non-cooperative target recognition capability (NCTR) which allows the radar to identify a tracked contact as a specific aircraft type by comparing the charachteristic radar returns to examples stored in a customer programmeable data libary.
Another feature is the raid assessment mode which enables the radar to identify and track single targets within a very close formation thanks to its high resolution. The trace function allows the pilot to identify enemy aircraft manoeuvres and tactics.
A unique feature of the Captor is the ability to generate a 3 dimensional picture of the airspace making threat analysis and target aquistion much easier and enhancing pilots situational awareness. Next to the already mentioned 2-D horizontal display mode there is also an 2-D elevation mode showing contacts in relation to their position in range and altitude. As both display modes can be simultously shown on two individual multifunction head down displays (MHDDs) the pilot gets a complete 3-D picture of the airspace ahead.
The Captors tracking range is said to be well beyond 160 km against fighter sized targets, with a range of more than 300 km against large targets like transports or tankers.
To sum it up the Captor allows the Eurofighter Typhoon to detect a larger number of targets at long distances, track and identify them and to engage the targets posing the highest threat at the same time and that under look up/down, all weather and heavy jamming conditions. The clear presentation and wide automated functions reduce the pilots workload and with that enhancing his SA.

Detecting an enemy before he is able to detect you (first look) does not only require a powerful radar, but a reduced radar signature too. A radars detection and tracking range against specific targets depends on the targets radar cross section (RCS). A smaller RCS means being later detected by a radar system in comparison to a larger RCS against the same radar. The Eurofighter Typhoon was not designed as a stealth fighter but the designers took the aircraft’s RCS into account when creating the aircraft. It was the goal to minimize the RCS without making compromises to the aircraft’s aerodynamics and weapons load. The Eurofighter Typhoon has a very low frontal RCS important for BVR combat. This was achieved by the combination of small control surfaces, low airframe dimensions, RAM coatings especially on leading edges and the careful shaping of the airlift intakes hiding the compressor blades away from enemy radars. The exact RCS is classified, but the frontal RCS is said to be below 1 m². However the RCS will rise with every external store, but the aircraft has 4 semi conformal BVR missile weapon stations under the fueselage and with a light combat load the RCS remains still relative low.

Despite all its advantages the Captor radar has two main disadvantages. The first is that the system can be jammed by enemy ECM systems and the second is that the radar will betray the aircraft’s presence by sending out energy which can be detected by passive detection tools like radar warning receivers (RWR) or electronic support measures (ESM). For the Eurofighter Typhoon a passive target detection and tracking system was required in addition to the radar as the primary sensor. The result is the PIRATE infrared sensor (Passive Infrared Airborne Tracking Equipement) developed by the multinational EuroFirst consortium founded in 1992.
The PIRATE is a 3rd generation imaging dual band infrared sensor integrated within a module which can be easily plugged in into the left forward fuselage next to the cockpit. The system is able to operate as IRST (Infrared Search and Track) and as FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) in contrast to other airborne infrared systems today which are mostly limited to one of the two purposes. However it is the IRST function which is important for BVR combat, while the FLIR function is more important for air to ground operations or WVR combat.
The PIRATE passively searches for heat emissions in the sky produced by the aircraft’s engines, airframe (aerodynamical heating) and even the avionics. Detected contacts can be shown on a MHDD from the sensors point of view. The systems processor has a speed of 24 million pixels per second and provides a very high resolution, better than that of the radar. Working with two different wave length of 3-5 and 8-11 microns increases the sensors reliablity.
For air combat the PIRATE offers different modes.
The multiple target track mode (MTT) is the main mode used for independant operations. The system is able to detect and track up to 200 targets at once, while searching for more and tracking some of the contacts with higher priority. The PIRATE quickly scans a very large field of view of at least up to +/-75° in azimuth. The range of the system is claimed to be up to 145 km, but that heavily depends on the weather conditions and heat produced by different targets and can be seen as the maximal range under best conditions. The typical detection and tracking range lies more in the range between 50 km and 80 km. Combined modes include the sector acquisition mode (SACQ) in which the PIRATE is scanning a sector defined by the Captor radar and tracking the same targets to complement the radar with additional data. The slaved acquisition mode is used to look out for a specific target received via the MIDS datalink. Is the target detected the PIRATE will automatically switch to the single target track mode (STT) which can be used independently or in combination with other systems. Additionally the PIRATE features a single target track identification mode (STTI) in which the system will generate an image of a single tracked target. This allows visual target identification at long distances beyond visual range in addition to the radars identification capabilities.
The main advantages of the PIRATE versus the Captor are complete electronic countermeasures resistence, passive detection, identification and tracking capabilities and the higher resolution in azimuth. However the systems range performance heavily depends on the weather conditions and the PIRATE can only show a target’s position in azimuth, but not gather any additional data which would be necessary for an engagement with missiles. Only at shorter distances the PIRATE is able to cue a missile’s seeker to a target.

Another passive target detection tool of the Eurofighter Typhoon is included within the electronic selfdefence/warefare suit DASS (Defensive Aids Sub System). The DASS is jointly developed by the multinational EuroDASS consortium which was founded in 1992 to provide the aircraft with a comprehensive early warning and countermeasures system. The DASS is a vital part of the aircraft’s mission equipement and essential for its surviveability. The DASS is a modulare designed system consisting of about 20 Line Replaceable Units (LRUs). As the DASS is fully integrated all components are part of the airframe and do not require additional pods which would influence the aircraft’s aerodynamical performance or take up weapon stations.
The heart of the DASS is the defensive aids computer (DAC) which consists of 5 powerful Radestone PowerPC processors. The DAC collects and analysis all the different sensors data and controls the entire system.
The DASS includes electronic support measures (ESM) using super heterodyne, digital receiver antennas which are located into the wing tip pods also known as ESM/ECM pods. There is one forward looking antenna in each of the two pods and a rearward looking antenna in the left one. Due to the wide field of view the ESM antennas provide full 360° azimuth coverage. The passive antennas are optimized to identify any radio frequencies. To do so the Eurofighter Typhoon’s ESM covers a wide frequency band of 100 Mhz to at least up to 10 GHz, some sources suggesting even up to 18 GHz. That is sufficient to detect nearly any kind and type of radar systems and even to detect other RF sources like radios or datalink systems. Meaning the system does not only warn a pilot but it helps him to passively look out for targets. The ESM are capable of finding the direction to an emitter with an accuracy better than 1° in azimuth and they can also range the emitter via triangulation and amplitude measurement. The system is said to be able to quickly locate enemy radar systems with high reliability at long distances beyond 100 km. The received signals will also be compared to examples stored in a user programmeable database allowing the exact identification of specific radar types. With help of these informations even leathal zones can be shown around ground based airdefence systems and maybe even the scanning zones of enemy airborne radar systems, allowing the pilot to fly around these zones to avoid detection or being engaged. With the analysis of the single radar signals the DASS will also tell the pilot if a radar is in search, track or guidance mode. That a radar looks into the own aircraft’s direction doesn’t mean it already sees the aircraft, but if it is tracked the opposing radar has detected the aircraft. Missile guidance modes are used to illuminate targets for an engagement with radar guided missiles. That means the pilot can be relative sure that he is being attacked by such an AAM. The DASS works closly together with an automatic IFF system too, to identify emitters as friend or foe. All contacts will be automatically priorised by the DASS.
At least british and maybe in medium terms the spanish Eurofighter Typhoons will be additionally equiped with laser warning receivers (LWRs). These act similar like RWRs or ESM, but they are optimized to detect laser energy used by some tracking systems or range finders. The Eurofighter Typhoon has two LWR sensors on the forward fuselage near the radom and 4 in the rearfuselage at the top and bottom sides of the fuselage near the wings trailing edges. The LWRs are optimized for low false alarm rates and can detect lasers pointing at the aircraft and find the direction to the laser source. However the most laser tracking and range finding systems haven’t a sufficient range making them useless at BVR distances.
More important are the Eurofighter Typhoon’s 3 active missile approach warners (MAWs) which are installed into the wing roots and the tail. The Typhoon’s MAWs are based on small millimetre wave pulse Doppler radars which are optimized for detection and tracking of small and fast flying objects and a low false alarm rate. The MAWs provide a full 360° azimuth coverage around the aircraft and a range of at least up to 100 km. They can detect mutiple missiles launched towards the aircraft in all weather conditions and even after the rocket motor’s burnout phase. The missiles positions will be shown on the display and the missiles will be identified according their guidance system (IR or radar). That can be identified by how a missile is launched. Radar guided missiles need special guidance commands or have their own active radars while IR guided missiles can be launched fully passivley. The DASS will automatically suggest the best evasive manoeuvres to the pilot acoustically counting down the time when to fly the manoeuvre and engage the best suited countermeasures to defeat the threat vastly improving the type’s surviveability.By ranging and closurespeed measurement the DASS will automatically priorise all missiles launched towards the aircraft.
The countermeasures include two 55 mm flare dispensers with 16 rounds each located into the acctuators of the inner trailing edge flaperons and two chaff dispensers with 160 packages each integrated into the outboard missile launch rails. The decoys will be automatically deployed in intelligent preprogrammed sequencies when a missile is launched. The dispense sequencies are user customizeable and can be reprogrammed to better suit different threats which might appear.
Additionally the Eurofighter Typhoon features an internal electronic countermeasures system (ECM). The ECM is using a digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) and a digital frequency techniques generator. The DASS automatically selects the emitters posing the highest threat as “to jam”. The system is able to jam multiple airborne and ground based radar systems at the same time and at long ranges. The exact number of threats to be jammed simultously depends on the resources already needed to jam the high priotity threats. The ESM will exactly identify and locate an emitter. In the DRFM the best jamming signals and techniques are stored for specific threats. The ECM will use this informations to generate the necessary signalwaveforms, frequencies and techniques with the techniques generator to achieve best effectivity against different specific threats at different distances. The jamming signals are forwarded as low energy pulses to the wingtip pods where amplifiers will increase the the signal power and the antennas will sweep the beam directly towards the specific threats reducing the active emissions which could be detected by the enemy and increasing the effectivity. The ECM antennas provide full 360° azimuth coverage and use passive electronical scanning to instanously move the jamming beam and precisously direct it towards the threat. The ECM system of the Eurofighter Typhoon is able to jam multiple airborne and ground based radarsystems at the same time. The number of emitters to be simultously jammed depends on the resources needed to jam the highest priority threats. If reserves are left the system will use them to jam additional threats.
In addition to the onboard ECM the british, italian and spanish Typhoon’s will carry up to 2 towed radar decoys (TRDs) named Ariel in the right wingtip pod. German aircraft might receive another system like the sky buzzer or a derivate of that TRD. The TRDs can be reeled out on a 100 m long cevlar cable and towed for an unlimited time over the entire flight envelope behind the aircraft. The cable contains an optical fibre link which will transmit the jamming commands of the DASS and a powerlink to power the towed decoy. The decoy will generate the jamming signals on its own according the instructions and sending out the signals to a specific threat. The TRDs are said to be up to twice that effective than the internal ECM system and they can defeat a varity of different radar systems like monopulse, TWS or COLS (Command Line Off Sight) radars. As the TRD is an offboard jammer, radar systems featureing a home on jam mode (HOJ) will not be able to directly lock on to the aircraft it self. In combination with the other countermeasures and the early threat detection and identification, missile lethaly can be reduced by 80 %. However the first jammers can’t be pulled back again and must be cutted before landing.

The Eurofighter Typhoon does not only use onboard sensors for target detection, tracking and identification but also external (offboard) sensor data received via the MIDS-LVT datalink (Multifunction Informtation Distribution System – Low Volume Terminal). The LVT derivate is a more compact version of the MIDS specifically designed for smaller platforms like the Eurofighter Typhoon or other combat aircraft. The MIDS is an advanced, digital, bi-directional datalink system using the NATO LINK16 standard protocol and working with the time division multiple access technique (TDMA). That allows the Eurofighter Typhoon to be integrated into network centric warfare operations. A number of airborne, ground based and sea based platforms can be linked together in a network via LINK16 compatible datalinks. Every participiciant receives a timeslot of 7.8165 ms to send his sensor data into the network. That means up 128 platforms can be integrated into a single network. If the number of participitians is lower single platforms can also be assigned with more timeslots increasing the data transfer rate. Normally a host like an AWACS aircraft is used to collect the data send in by all members. The host will receive all the data and fuse them together into a single tactical picture which will then be broadcasted at a specific frequency. Even platforms not contributing their own sensor data will be able to receive the complete tactcial picture. For the Eurofighter Typhoon it means the pilot get a complete overview over the situation on the battlefield some hundreds of kilometers around the own aircraft. Positions of various aircraft, vehicles, ships and airdefence systems will be shown on the tactical display as different symbols and in different colours depending on where they belong to. Aircraft will also be shown with their flight direction. This vastly increases the pilot’s situational awareness and allows the pilot to see and identify enemies without using the aircraft’s own sensors or sending out a single emission. For better clarity the ground or airborne contacts can be removed from the display if required. The MIDS operates at up to 51 different frequencies allowing a larger number of networks to be run in parallel. Using frequency hoping allows it to fuse these networks together or to increase data transfer rates by using different frequencies within a single network. Probably even target informations can be received with the tactical picture allowing the pilot to perform threat analysis and maybe even to silently attack an enemy.
Even if no host is available the MIDS allows 8 Eurofighter Typhoons to be linked together. Each aircraft will share its sensor informations and even targeting and position data. That means attacks can be coordinated more easily and that one aircraft could switch off its radar flying ahead silently using the target data received by another aircraft which stays behind and leaves its radar on. That enables new engagement tactics. Even mid-course guidance can be provided by another platform or maybe even directly via the MIDS allowing the aircraft to launch a missile and breaking away instanously while maintaining a high propability of kill. Additionally other informations like targets being tracked and attacked, fuel and weapon status can be exchanged reducing the need for direct radio calls which will further decrease detectability by minimizing the aircraft’s own emissions. The MIDS further more allows the exchange of text messages and discret voice communications. To sum it up thanks to its frequency hoping and cryption technologies the MIDS enables a secured and jamming resistent near real time data exchange and communication.

Another important feature of the Eurofighter Typhoon is the sensor fusion realised via the AIS (Attack and Identification System). The AIS consists of two identical processors. The navigation computer is responsible for fusing together all the data of the various navigation systems, while the attack computer will fuse together the data of the aircraft’s onboard and offboard sensor data. Both computers exchange their informations allowing the fire control system to use navigational data to perform fire solution calculations and sensor data to aid navigation. The AIS will fuse together all the aircraft’s onboard data from Captor, PIRATE and DASS and the offboard data received by the MIDS into a single tactical picture. That means the pilot hasn’t to compare different specific sensor pictures to built up a tactical picture in his mind. This is automatically done by the AIS and clearly presented as a single tactical picture on one of the three MHDDs. That safes time and reduces the pilot’s workload. Further more countermeasures resistence and data reliability will be increased improving the pilot’s overall situational awareness. The different sensors will effectivly complement each other making the sensors management much easier. However the tactical picture only provides some data for clarity reasons. More detailed data will be shown on the individual sensor displays which will also include data from the other sensors. The DASS picture for example will be complemented by informations from the Captor and MIDS and the other way round. Captor and PIRATE working closly together as mentioned above improving their efficiency.

The DASS of the Eurofighter Typhoon also features an EMCON function (Emission Control). That means the system has the full authority to control all the aircraft’s active RF systems like Captor, MIDS, the radar altimeter, the radios or the jamming systems part of the DASS. Reducing the active emissions to avoid detection by enemy passive sensors and using passive sensors and systems to detect, identify, track and engage targets are the most important stealth features of the aircraft. The EMCON will automatically limit the active emissions to what is necessary. Special signature profiles at different stages of a flight can be uploaded to the mission data system.

Essential for the aircraft’s BVR performance is also the clear presentation and easy handling of the different systems. All relevant data will be presented in a clear way on the three high resolution coloured multifunction head down displays (MHDDs) and the head up display (HuD). These displays will only show the informations relevant to the pilot in the current situation providing an exceptional clarity and overview over the situation increasing the pilot’s situational awareness. Thanks to the many automated functions, sensor fusion and the VTAS control concept the pilot’s workload is further reduced allowing him to concentrate on the fight rather than on systems management, information collection and processing or seeking instruments in the cockpit. The VTAS controls enables the pilot to let his hands on throttle and stick as all combat relevant functions will be controlled by buttons on these control elements and via direct voice input (DVI). The direct voice output system (DVO) additionally helps the pilot as it informs him about all important things allowing him to fly head up also in combination with the advanced HuD.

As mentioned the weapons used play a significant role in a BVR engagement. The Eurofighter Typhoon’s initial primary BVR weapon is the US made AIM-120B AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile). The AMRAAM is an active radar guided medium range AAM with robust countermeasure resistence which can be launched in all weather conditions at any target aspect angles. The missile will normally receive the target data by the Captor radar before being launched. After launch the missile will fly towards a pre-programmed point calculated by the fire control system using its integrated inertial navigation system (INS). From there the missile’s active radar seeker will search for the target and acquire it. However this fire & forget method decreases the propability of kill as the enemy aircraft might be able to escape out of the AMRAAM’s seeker scanning zone. For that purpose the missile is equiped with a one-way datalink receiving mid-course guidance updates from the Captor. The AMRAAM will then fly directly towards the target and can acquire it very quickly. The relative manoeuvreable and up to mach 4 fast AMRAAM can be effectivly launched at distances of about 50 km. The Eurofighter Typhoon is able to engage at least up to 6 targets at once firing AMRAAMs in fast sequencies at different targets and providing mid-course guidance for these missiles during their initial approach phase. Up to 8 AMRAAMs can be carried by the aircraft.

The last important factor for the type’s BVR air combat capabilites is the flight performance. The Eurofighter Typhoon is able to reach a top speed of more than mach 2 at altitude. The maximum speed is limited by the aircraft’s airlift intake design and the materials used. But more important is the fact that the Typhoon can reach that speed with a load of 2 SRAAMs and 4 MRAAMs. Even with 3 drop tanks the aircraft can fly at up to mach 1.6. High supersonic speeds are important to give a BVR missile more energy to increase its effective range. The Eurofighter Typhoon is also capable of supercruising. That means the aircraft can reach and maintain supersonic speeds without reheat. That means the Eurofighter can fly faster than other aircraft with similar heat signature, contributing to the aircraft’s stealth characteristics and same fuel consumption leaving enough reserves. The aircraft will also safe fuel and time to accelerate to more adequate supersonic speeds for an effective missile launch at the longest possible distance. Additionally the Eurofighter Typhoon can operate at large altitudes above 18000 m and more important the aircraft maintains a significant performance at higher altitudes. The higher the aircraft is at launch in comparison to the target being engaged the better is the range of the AAM as it will loose less energy when sinking to the target.
However the best speed and altitude performance is useless when the aircraft can’t reach them in a sufficient time. The Eurofighter Typhoon’s low drag and high thrust/weight ratio design enables the aircraft to accelerate and climb extremly fast at subsonic and supersonic speeds.
The type’s exceptional supersonic manoeuvreability increases the chances of evading an enemy missile launched at the aircraft or to quickly break away after missile release to avoid counter fire. Nearly no other aircraft achieves the Eurofighter Typhoon’s speed, supercruise, altitude, climb, acceleration and manoeuvre performance giving the aircraft an additional edge in BVR combat.


Future proposed BVR capabilities:
The BVR capabilities described above are only the beginning. They represent the BVR performance of the aircraft’s basic block 5 configuration for final operating capability. With future configurations the Eurofighter Typhoon’s BVR capabilities will be further enhanced. We want now to take a look at the already definite and proposed future BVR capabilities. Already with block 8 aircraft, the first examples of tranche 2 to be delivered from early 2008 the type’s BVR performance will be improved. For british Typhoons the new AIM-120C-5 AMRAAM will be introduced. The C-5 model features new or upgraded electronics further enhancing the reliability and countermeasures resistence. Another important feature will be the Captor-D radar. The D model is a partly redesigned version of the Captor. Its main feature will be the much more powerfull PowerPC processor. The Captor-D will provide better reliability and ECCM and also a higher resolution. The higher resolution will primary affect the performance of radar mapping modes relevant for air to ground operations, but it may also increase the performance in the raid assessment mode and that of the NCTR function. That means the Captor-D might be able to identify and track single targets within a very close formation at longer distances and to exactly identify specific aircraft types faster and at longer distances. With block 10 aircraft to be delievered around 2010 its likley to see further improvements for the DASS. Modifications could include a larger bandwith for the ESM and ECM systems increasing their reliability and making them more effective against a wider range of radar systems. Work also continues on the aircraft’s TRD. Future versions will provide much more power and passive electronic scanning making them more effective even against more advanced threats. In future the TRDs can also be pulled back allowing them to be used several times.
A significant boost of the Eurofighter Typhoon’s BVR capabilities will be reached with the introduction of the new Meteor BVRAAM for block 15 aircraft after 2010. The Meteor is a joint developement of Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Sweden and will replace the AMRAAM as the type’s primary BVR weapon. The Meteor will feature a new radar seeker offering increased range performance and countermeasures resistence increasing the hit chances, fire & forget capabilities as well as the no-escape zone. A new two-way datalink enables the missile not only to receive data updates from the launch aircraft and even 3rd platforms like AWACS, but also to send back data to increase the countermeasures resistence and data reliability. The new ramjet propulsion system with variable thrust will accelerate the missile to speeds up to mach 4 and beyond. More important is the fact that the Meteor will be able to maintain such high speeds, while safing enough reserves to defeat a fast and manoeuvreing target in the terminal phase. The maximal launch range is claimed to be at least 100 km or beyond, doubling the distance at where a target could be engaged in contrast to the AMRAAM. The Eurofighter Typhoon will be able to carry the Meteor in same quantity as the AMRAAM.
Another boost could be achieved by the introduction of an active electronic scanned array version (AESA) of the Captor. The so called Captor-E is proposed since years as a possible feature for tranche 3 aircraft meaning block 20 and 25 models. A demonstrator named CAESAR (Captor Active Electronic Scanning Array Radar) is already under testing. The system is proposed to be available to the customer from 2011. Current Captor-D radars are already designed with an AESA retrofit in mind, but the system will be more likely introduced as a new build one for block 20 aircraft and above. A later upgrade of the tranche 2 model’s D version would be possible within hours.
The Captor-E maintains the D version’s receiver unit and radar computer, but the power supply and antenna block will be replaced by new ones. The new antenna using fluid cooling consists of about 1500 Gallium-Arsenid transmit/receive modules (T/R-modules). Each of this active, finger sized and 15 g light modules provides a power output of 10 W and is able to generate, sweep, send out and receive radar signals. To optimize performance single modules can be formed as groupes. Thanks to the electronic scanning the Captor-E would be able to nearly instanously scan the entire field of view within some milliseconds, vastly increasing reliability, countermeasures resistence and target data update rates. It would be even possible to form a number of primary beams of different shape sweeping them in different directions. That enables the radar to perform numerous tasks simultously, for example searching for targets in different directions, while tracking, identifying and engaging others already detected. The Captor-E would be able to track and engage a much larger number of targets at once with better quality. The rapid scanning in combination with the use of frequency hopping technologies and heavy side slope surpression would dramatically reduce the detectablity of the radar’s emissions, while increasing the countermeasures resistence. The heavily improved resolution will further improve the NCTR, raid assessment and range performance even against low observeable (LO) targets. The range performance could be increased by up to 50%. Even completly new functions not common for present radar systems like threat warning, jamming and datatransmission could be performed simultously, but it’s more likely that such functions will be integrated in later versions maybe for block 25 aircraft.
The PIRATE might be upgraded for later tranche 2 aircraft too. Proposed capabilities include hyper spectral target tracking for increased realiability even in bad weather conditions, passive missile warning in addition to the aircraft’s active MAWs and multiple target tracking with imaging that could allow automatic identification of multiple targets with the help of an automatic target recognition software (ATR) currently under developement mainly for AG purposes.
For tranche 3 aircraft the industry optionally offers further radar and IR signature reduction measures to reduce the aircraft’s detectability.
Another option being proposed is the new LINK22 datalink and a satellite communications system (SATCOM). With such systems the Eurofighter Typhoon’s network centric warfare capabilites will be further improved with world wide communication and datatransfer at higher speeds and receiving informations from a lager number of platforms.
Also the flight performance could be increased with the introduction of uprated thrust vector nozzle versions of the EJ200 engine. With this engines the aircraft’s supercruise, climb, acceleration and manoeuvre performance could be further improved, while minimizing the RCS by reducing control surface movements.

To sum it up:
Already in its current form the Eurofighter Typhoon is superior to the most competetive platforms, but with the future modifications the type’s capabilities will receive a significant boost, allowing the Eurofighter Typhoon to deal even with new designed and upgraded current fighters.


WVR combat:
The WVR combat is the traditional kind of air combat and was the only one for decades, it remained it for further decades when first BVR capabilites become available in the late 1950’s. WVR combat was not replaced as the primary kind of air combat before the 1990’s. Today every pilot will try to defeat his enemy at the longest distance possible. WVR combat has become a kind of suicide game and every fighter pilot will try to avoid an egagement at close distances. However it would be an error to exclude the possibility of being engaged at short distances. There may be many reasons which lead into an engagement at short distances. The rules of engagement for example may dictate a visual identification, an unsuccessful BVR engagement may also result in a dogfight as aircraft approaching each other at high supersonic speed reducing their distance in a very short time. Other reasons may be that the aircraft has launched all its BVR AAMs, but can’t avoid a WVR engagement or an enemy may be able to close up undetected.

Over the decades WVR combat has significantly changed. In the early days pilots were seeking their enemies with their own eyes. If a target was visually detected the pilot had to manoeuvre his aircraft in the enemy’s six o’clock position, aiming with the machine guns (MG) and shooting him down. That required not only good pilot skills, but good flight performance and handling characteristics too. Over the years the aircrafts performance has been significantly increased by new materials, construction mehtods, improved aerodynamics and new and more powerfull engines. With that event crew protection became a more important issue. Later infrared guided rear aspect missiles were added to the aircrafts weapon inventory, then replaced by all aspect IR missiles and the todays highly agile off-boresight missiles. Technologies were introduced further changing the way how WVR combat has to be fouht. The “first look”, “first shot”, “first kill” terms are much more valid for todays WVR combat than ever before.

The classical dogfight is unlikely today, but may happen for example when the target is very close or SRAAMs has been already used. The Eurofighter Typhoon’s small airframe size, smokeless engines and the grey colour scheme which was found to provide the best protection against visual detection makes it very difficult to visually detect the aircraft. The cockpit provides an exceptional good view around enabling the pilot to hold an eye on the enemy and increasing the pilot’s SA. The Eurofighter Typhoon’s flight performance is amazing and allows the pilot to outmanoeuvre even the most demanding enemies. The aircraft is designed to achieve and sustain loads of up to 9 g. Even more important is the ability to build up such loads over a wide speed range and in a very short range. That makes the aircraft very agile at subsonic speeds. As the aircraft can maintain a high energy level, the Eurofighter is able to fly sustained turns fast and tight. The excellent acceleration and climb rate enables the type to regain lost energy very fast. Dogfights will be normally fought out at subsonic speeds, however the supersonic manoeuvre performance may be important as well especially after an unsuccessful BVR engagement. If the speed slows down the Eurofighter Typhoon is still able to manoeuvre effectivly thanks to the exceptional low speed flight charachteristics and high angle of attack (AOA) performance and handling. The flight control system provides carefree handling. That means the pilot can easily fly the aircraft to its limits and hasn’t to care about technical limitations, parameters and configurations. The FCS will automatically control all the control surfaces and limit the loadings to prevent the pilot from overstressing the airframes structure or exceeding aerodynamical limits. If he looses the orientation the pilot can simply press a button and the aircraft will automatically recover.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the new generation aircraft performing better than a human could do. For that reason crew protection was taken seriously. British, italian and spanish pilots will wear a new anti-g suite including pneumatic trousers, which also cover the feet, a pneumatic anti-g west and a pressure breathing mask. This vastly increases the pilot’s g-tolerance. German and austrian pilots will wear an even more advanced suite designated Libelle-G Multiplus. The Libelle does not require connections to the aircraft’s onboard systems, that means it works autonomous. The Libelle is using fluid muscles covering the whole body, arms and legs. The advantage of liquids is that they move instanously and generate the required counter pressure exactly there where it is needed. That means arm and leg pains will be eleminated and the pilot can consume rapid g-onsets and high g-loadings much better increasing the efficiency. Additionally the Libelle allows to reject the pressure breathing enabling the pilot to communicate even under high g-loadings.

The Typhoon’s cannon is the single barrell lightweight 27 mm gun Mauser Bk 27. The gun uses a linkless ammunition feed system and is installed into the right wing root. The ammunition load is 150 rounds. The gun combines a robust firing speed of 1700 rounds/min which can be nearly instanously reached, a high initial velocity of 1025 m/sec, with a high accuracy, range and effectivity. The fire control system calculates the bulletts flight path over the entire range providing an precisous gun sight and even an automatic firing function.

Today the pilot is assisstet by technology in WVR combat. Sensors are used to find targets more easily especially at night and in bad weather conditions. If the enemy doesn’t know that you are out there it would be unwise to use active sensors that would betray your own presence. The PIRATE is extremly usefull at short distances as it covers a large field of view in a short time and allows visual target identification at short distances. Additionally the system provides a very high resolution in azimuth and is able to cue a missile’s seeker towards a target. The MIDS is usefull as well as the pilot can see where the enemy is even if the aircraft’s onboard sensors are unable to find and the pilot can’t see him. If the enemy knows that you are out there than the pilot can use the Captor radar to effectivly use the gun and to quickly cue missile seekers at a specific target. For WVR engagements the Captor provides 4 specific close air combat modes with automatic target acquisition. If a target is detected the radar will automatically lock on to that target switching to STT mode. The primary difference between these modes is the area scanned by the radar. In the boresight mode the radar will only cover a small area directly ahead. This mode is primararily used to acquire a specific already visually detected target in flight direction. In the vertical acquisition mode the radar will scan a larger area in the vertical especially above the nose. This mode is used to acquire targets in a manoeuvering fight. The HuD field of view mode is used to scan a larger area ahead of the aircraft to acquire a heavy manoeuvring target or a target not visually detected. The forth mode is called slaved acquisition. In that mode the pilot can steer the radar beam via the helmet mounted sight (HMS) to acquired visual detected targets quickly even at high off-boresight angles.

Essential for the Eurofighter Typhoon’s WVR performance is the Striker head equipement assembly (HEA). The highly advanced helmet features an optical sight which enables the pilot to slew the Captor, PIRATE or even the IR seekers of short range AAMs (SRAAMs) by simply moving his head. Even targets at high off-boresight angles can be acquired with the HMS. Additionally the Striker includes a helmet mounted display (HMD). On the HMD all relevant flight parameters. weapon status and target informations can be displayed. The HMD will be automatically activated when the pilot is looking out of the cockpit. That enables the pilot to hold an eye on the enemy being aware of all relevant informations. For night operations night vision enhancement cameras (NVECs) can be optionally installed in the helmet. The NVECs are covering a wide field of view and the picture is directly presented on the HMD. To effectivly use the NVECs the external and cockpit lightning were suited to be fully night vision compatible. The PIRATE’s FLIR function can also be used for such purposes. The FLIR picture can be displayed on HMD as well and the FLIR can be slewed by the HMS. In contrast to the NVECs the FLIR provides a higher resolution and better performance in bad weather conditions. Additionally the pilot can look through the cockpit. The disadvantage is that the FLIR function will disable the PIRATE to be used as IRST at the same time and that the system does not cover a 360° view.
The DASS is very helpful as well. The ESM will detect, identify and alert the pilot if an enemy radar is locking onto the aicraft. The MAWs will identify passive IR guided missiles launched towards the aircraft automatically deploying flares, which will increase the surviveability of the aircraft. The LWRs will be helpfull too, as many airborne IRST systems work together with laser range finders. The LWRs will identify the laser energy and showing the sources direction to the pilot.

Thanks to the clear presentation of all relevant informations on the different displays and the easy management of these systems trough its automated functions reduces the pilot workload and allows him to concentrate on the fight. This is complemented by the VTAS control concept allowing the pilot to control all combat relevant functions via the buttons on throttle and stick as well as voice commands.

As for BVR combat the weaponary is very important in a close range engagement as well. The Typhoon’s initial primary WVR weapon is the US made AIM-9L Sidewinder. The small short range missile is a relative manoeuvreable, up to mach 2 fast missile guided by an all-aspect infrared seeker. The missile can be launched at targets from all aspect angles in flight direction. The missile locks onto the target before launch and guids it self autonomously to the target. Despite the missiles all-aspect acquisition capabilites the weapon is most effective from the rear sector. The missile can operate completly indepedent from the aircraft’s sensor systems, but mostly the Captor or PIRATE is used to quickly acquire a specific target. The Sidewinder provides a robust but not extremly well countermeasures resistence. The maximum head-on engagement range of the missile is claimed to be about 8 km. Normally 2 to 4 AIM-9L can be carried by the Eurofighter Typhoon. Six are possible if twin missile launch rails are available. The Sidewinder is used by the aircraft from all partner nations, but has become obsolete now.

The first customers have already replaced the Sidewinder as the Eurofighter Typhoon’s primary WVR missile. British aircraft are using the new british made ASRAAM missile (Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile). The ASRAAM can be carried on Sidewinder compatible analogue missile launch rails, but also on new stations with a digital interface. The digital interface is required to explore the missile’s full capabilities. The ASRAAM is from similar size and weight like the Sidewinder, but is only use small control surfaces on the tail to reduce drag. To achieve the required high agility the missile’s aerodynamcial design is unstable and a special rocket motor burning profile increases the missile’s agility directly after launch. The strong rocket motor accelerates the ASRAAM to about mach 3.5 and provides the missile with a range of at least 18 km. Extremly important for the ASRAAM’s performance is the new imaging IR seeker with a resolution of 128x128 pixels and a large field of view of +/-90°. The seeker provides a much better reliability and is virutally immune against enemy countermeasures in the form of flares. The seeker can a acquire an even colder target faster at a longer range than the Sidewinder IR seeker. Additionally the missile is equiped with an integrated INS allwoing the missile to initially flying towards the target and locking onto it after launch. The so called LOAL capability (Lock-on After Launch) allows the pilot to fire the missile at slight BVR distances beyond the missile seekers own acquisition range especially in bad weather conditions. Via the HMS the pilot can even acquire a target over the shoulder and launching the missile. That means the pilot does not need to manoeuvre into position! He only looks at the target and launch the missile. All this makes the ASRAAM much more effective and lethal in comparison to the AIM-9L Sidewinder. The ASRAAM can be carried in same quantity as the Sidewinder.

The other new 5th generation SRAAM already introduced to replace the Sidewinder is the IRIS-T (Infrared Imaging System – Tail/Thrust Vector Controlled) jointly developed by Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Greece. The main contractor for the IRIS-T is the german firm BGT. The IRIS-T is already used by german Eurofighters and will be introduced for spanish, italian and austrian aircraft as well. The IRIS-T is compareable to the ASRAAM in many ways. It uses a similar imaging high resolution IR seeker with a field of view of +/-90°, integrated INS and LOAL capabilities. The missile reaches a top speed of about mach 3 and a maximum range of 25 km giving the missile slightly BVR capabilities. The missile has a similar burning profile for the rocket motor but uses small strakes and TVC for better agility. In contrast to the ASRAAM the IRIS-T has more drag and a lower top speed as well as effective launch range, however the missile is more agile over the entire flight enveloped. Up to 4 IRIS-T can be carried with the option to expand that load to 6. However twin missile launch rails seem to be only ordered by the Royal Air Force. The IRIS-T can be fired over the shoulder or beyond the seekers target acquisition range as well thanks to its LOAL capabilites.

To sum it up the Eurofighter Typhoon is a formidable WVR platform with exceptional performance in a classical dogfight with guns or only or conventionel SRAAMs like the Sidewinder, but the type’s ability to use highly agile high off-boresight angle 5th generation missiles like ASRAAM or IRIS-T in combination with the HMS makes the Typhoon a deadly opponent in any WVR engagement.

Future proposed WVR combat capabilities:
The maximum achievable level for WVR performance of manned aerial vehicles is nearly reached. In contrast to the types BVR capabilities which will be enhanced over the time the type’s WVR capabilities will not significantly change. One not yet definite improvement could be achieved with uprated TVC engines. More thrust means better acceleration, climb rate and sustained turning rates. The thrust vector control would enable the aircraft to fly extrem manoeuvres at very low speeds and high AoAs while remaining full controlable. A 3-D TVC system was already developed and tested in the later 1990’s. The TVC would significantly increase the aircraft’s agility at very low speeds, how ever its usefullness is limited due to the availability of extremly agile off-boresight missiles and the HMS. Other improvements might be provided by the introduction of new systems like the Captor-E, upgraded PIRATE and DASS.


Summary:
Despite the conflicting requirements for a good WVR and BVR platform the designers of the Eurofighter Typhoon were able to develope a fighter impressing in both areas. The Eurofighter Typhoon is currently one of the best fighters in air combat in general and the type’s capabilities, especially in the BVR area will be further enhanced in the future. That allows the aircraft to deal with new build designs too. However the Eurofighter Typhoon has a significant disadvantage in comparison to newer platforms currently under developement. As stealth allround coverage becomes more important and many new platforms provide such LO features the Eurofighter Typhoon might have some difficulties and disadvantages against those threats. The aircraft was designed with reduced signatures in mind but is far away from being a stealth platform. Also the stealth capabilities might be improved in future the Eurofighter Typhoon’s stealth potential is limited by design. Vastly improving the stealth capabilities would mean developing a new aircraft, but maybe this problem could be overcome with completly new technologies also compatible with existing platforms like the Eurofighter Typhoon. Counter-stealth and active stealth cloaking devices are the key words and firms within the Eurofighter Typhoon partner countries are working on such technologies.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Very nice article, Scorpion82. It needs some minor editing, but looks like a very good summary of Typhoon avionics capabilities.

A couple of additional points:

CAPTOR uses a (classified) ECCM package called ILIC/AnderWave originally developed by Ferranti for Blue Fox Mk2 and subsequently used on Blue Vixen and ECR-90 (later, CAPTOR). This is supposed to be "best of breed" ECCM, incorporating course prediction algorithms to maintain lock through temporary loss of signal or departure from scan limits (ILIC) as well as hardware features (AnderWave, named for its designers) which remain classified.

Blue Vixen, which CAPTOR is based on, was only required to track 12 targets at once, though Ferranti had already demonstrated 20 target TWS at the time. Ferranti felt 12 target TWS wasn't challenging enough, and aimed for a much higher number (believed to be 28).

CAPTOR should only improve on this figure.
 

Scorpion82

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overscan said:
Very nice article, Scorpion82. It needs some minor editing, but looks like a very good summary of Typhoon avionics capabilities.

A couple of additional points:

CAPTOR uses a (classified) ECCM package called ILIC/AnderWave originally developed by Ferranti for Blue Fox Mk2 and subsequently used on Blue Vixen and ECR-90 (later, CAPTOR). This is supposed to be "best of breed" ECCM, incorporating course prediction algorithms to maintain lock through temporary loss of signal or departure from scan limits (ILIC) as well as hardware features (AnderWave, named for its designers) which remain classified.

Blue Vixen, which CAPTOR is based on, was only required to track 12 targets at once, though Ferranti had already demonstrated 20 target TWS at the time. Ferranti felt 12 target TWS wasn't challenging enough, and aimed for a much higher number (believed to be 28).

CAPTOR should only improve on this figure.

Do you mean I should add the ECCM part? If yes I would incooperate it.
For the number of targets being tracked at once. The official one as 20. I assume it could be higher and that's the reason why I wrote "at least". That means the minimum number for me. Or is that a wrong expression (english isn't my first language).

Also the article describes parts of the avionics I limited it to what is relevant for air combat.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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I would say its probably 30 or maybe even more, but officially it is "at least 20".

If you don't mind, I would like to work with you on editing the language and adding some more information.
 

Scorpion82

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No problem. Tell me the additions I will inccoperate them and then you can edit the language.
 

sferrin

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overscan said:
I would say its probably 30 or maybe even more, but officially it is "at least 20".

If you don't mind, I would like to work with you on editing the language and adding some more information.

I'd guess it's probably more. Even the Tomcat could do 24 and fire on 6 from day one.
 

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FORCE

[size=10pt]Keen Contender[/size]

Eurofighter is putting up a stiff fight for the M-MRCA deal
By Ajit K Dubey


After keeping a low profile, the Eurofighter Typhoon publicity blitz took off in New Delhi last month just before the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) was floated by India. Eurofighter officials made a presentation of their aircraft’s capabilities to a gathering of select media and senior retired Indian Air Force (IAF) officers in New Delhi.

Eurofighter is apparently banking on its closeness with the Indian public sector undertakings to bag the multi-billion dollar IAF MRCA deal. The company believes that its close relations with the Indian aviation giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which will be license producing 108 of the 126 combat aircraft in India with the chosen vendor, will considerably increase its chances of bagging the contract. Says an official of EADS, a major partner in the Eurofighter consortium: “We have been working with HAL and other Indian companies very closely. We are helping HAL on their very important Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project.”

Eurofighter Typhoon has claimed to be the technologically most advanced aircraft in the world by the consortium comprising of four partner nations. Already 638 aircraft are flying with the air forces of the four partner nations. The Eurofighter has also received export orders from Austria and the UAE. “All the four partners have agreed for further development of the aircraft. So, upgradations would be made continuously and the aircraft has a lot of scope for development,” says a consortium official. He adds: “The aircraft is still under development and we will have more advanced versions of it in the future. If the IAF selects the Typhoon as its platform of choice and they want to be one of its development partners, then they will also be taken on board.”

The consortium would be offering India the Tranche III typhoons, which will have many more advanced features than the Tranche I aircraft flying at the moment. The aircraft has 13 weapon systems on it, which make it a lethal platform. “It can carry air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles in the same mission,” said David Hamilton, head of Eurofighter marketing in New Delhi. He said, “The aircraft recently fired the meteor missile also and offers a wide choice of weapons package to the pilot.” The aircraft flies with an internally mounted 27mm Mauser canon. The 13 external stores stations can carry five missiles under fuselage and four under each wing. The aircraft can carry four Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missiles (BVRAAM). The aircraft carries a mix of BVRAAM and Short-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (SRAAM) externally. The other air top surface weaponry of the aircraft has laser guided bombs, advanced anti- armour weapons and the conventionally armed stand-off missiles.

Eurofighter-september.jpg


Eurofighter’s Flight Control System (FCS) enables the pilot to aggressively fly the aircraft. Eurofighter claims that the highly sophisticated FCS allows the pilot to adopt the optimum flight profile for the combat environment. Hamilton says, “This makes the aircraft extremely safe and a delight to fly.” The company claims that the aircraft is highly reliable as in the 20,000 hours of flying that the Eurofighter fleet has completed till date, it has met with only one minor accident. The aircraft has some unique aero frame design features. The latest low-weight, high strength materials have been crafted to provide a strong and robust airframe for the aircraft. Two Eurojet EJ200 engines provide an excellent combat thrust-to-weight ratio in excess of 1.2:1 power to the aircraft. The Eurofighter is claimed to possess a supercruise capability. “The pilots can cruise to speeds above Mach 1 on afterburner, retard the throttles, and continue at speeds above the speed of sound without it also,” says Hamilton. “This saves the fuel and also reduces the thermal signature of the aircraft”, he adds.

The recent exercise Indradhanush between the IAF and the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom gave a very good exposure of the aircraft to Indian pilots. “The IAF pilots could see the immense capabilities of the aircraft and were impressed with the aircraft,” according to a Eurofighter official.

The sensor package of the aircrfat is also impressive. It includes an infra red search and track radar (IRST) to detect and track enemy aircraft, a forward looking infra red (FLIR) system for all night sorties and a range of electronic warfare sensors. The aircraft at present does not fly with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, which is being offered to the IAF by all other competitors. In response to this Eurofighter sources say: “As far as we know, the AESA would be one of the requirements in the RFP. The Eurofighter does not fly with it at present but it would be there on the Tranche III Eurofighter that we are offering to India.”

Commenting on the huge price tag attached with the aircraft, Eurofighter officials agree that the cost of the aircraft is a bit on the high end but say, “if you take into account the life cycle costs of the aircraft, which would be one of the key requirements of the RFP, the Eurofighter would prove to be most efficient because of the low maintenance costs and operations.” The company says that the low risks involved in the operation of the fleet make it a safe aircraft and thus reduces the life cycle costs further with not much fear of losing the aircraft in accidents.

EADS has started developing its business facilities here in India already. “The company would be setting up a technical centre with an investment of over USD 1 billion in Bangalore near the new airport there,” says an EADS official. Talking about the offsets obligations that have to be fulfilled after the award of the deal, the official says, “We are comfortable with the offsets in the Defence Procurement Procedure and we would be happy to work with Indian industry.” Talking about the strength of Indian industry, he says, “We have worked with them earlier and we respect their strength especially in the field of IT and electronics.”

Eurofighter believes that with the diverse expertise of EADS in a wide range of activities, it would be relatively easier for it to fulfill the offsets. “We have a strong presence in aerospace and a lot of other activities also. We would put them to good use when we are required to fulfill the offset obligations,” EAS points out.

Would the Indo-US nuclear deal have any impact on the M-MRCA contract? Replies an EADS official: “We don’t think that the Indo-US nuclear agreement will have any impact on the outcome of the 126 M-MRCA deal. We think that New Delhi will go for the aircraft which suits its requirement and is the best option for its air force.” The official says that it is not only the US which has had strong defence relations with India in the recent past. He adds: “Germany, the leading partner of the Eurofighter programme, has also signed a defence cooperation agreement pact with India last year. And most importantly, the chairmanship of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) would also be held by Germany when the Indo-US nuclear deals comes for discussion to the NSG.”
 
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