Europe’s Premier Fighter Jet: Eurofighter Typhoon

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a European twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed originally as an air superiority fighter. The aircraft’s development effectively began in 1983 with the Future European Fighter Aircraft programme, a multinational collaboration among the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

The Typhoon entered operational service in 2003 and is now in service with the air forces of Austria, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Kuwait and Qatar have also ordered the aircraft, bringing the procurement total to 623 aircraft as of 2019.

Presenting itself as an alternative to 5th generation fighters, the Eurofighter typhoon is arguably the second most capable air superiority fighter in service second only to the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. Primarily, the Typhoon was designed to be an Air Superiority Fighter to counter newer, more advanced fighters, like the MiG-29 or the Su-27 of the Warsaw Pact, but with the end of the Cold War it modified into a multirole fighter. The aircraft is constructed of carbon-fibre composites, glass-reinforced plastic, aluminium lithium, titanium and aluminium casting. Stealth technology features include low frontal radar cross-section, passive sensors and supercruise ability. The foreplane/delta configuration is intentionally aerodynamically unstable which provides a high level of agility (particularly at supersonic speeds), low drag and enhanced lift. The pilot controls the aircraft through a computerised digital fly-by-wire system which provides artificial stabilisation and gust elevation to give good control characteristics throughout the flight envelope.

Jeroen Oude Wolbers

The Eurofighter is equipped with two Eurojet EJ200 engines, each delivering thrust of 90kN in full reheat and 60kN in dry power mode. Single-stage turbines drive the three-stage fan and five-stage HP compressor. The EJ200 engine has been developed by Eurojet, in Munich.

The Eurofighter typhoon can be considered the paragon of 4th generation jet fighter design philosophy. A very potent aircraft, it has nevertheless received much criticism, for its high cost, and the dubious logic of introducing a legacy generation fighter as a mainstay aircraft.

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