Eurofighter is the ideal candidate for India's Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) requirement, due for field trials in April this year, said Eurofighter GmbH CEO Aloysius Rauen. He was speaking on the subject 'Eurofighter Typhoon - Perspectives and Trends' at the Aero India 2009 International Seminar on 'Aerospace - Perspectives and Trends in Technologies', being held in Bangalore from 9 to 12 February.
Eurofighter is Europe's largest collaborative programme in military aerospace, involving four major technology and manufacturing partners - Alenia Aeronautica (Italy), BAE Systems (UK), EADS Germany and EADS Casa (Spain) - and 400 suppliers across Europe. It has an order book of 620 aircraft for the four partner countries, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, plus 15 for Austria and 72 for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is the largest order book of any next generation fighter aircraft in the world at present, he said.
The programme is managed in tranches, each succeeding tranche incorporating new technologies, and is expected to be Europe's frontline fighter over the next 40+ years. Pointing out that Eurofighter is extremely agile and highly maneuverable, and is a 'swing-role' fighter that has the maneuverability and weapons systems for both air-to-air and air-to-ground roles, he said it could perform the roles of as many as 11 international frontline fighters.
This created the possibility of reduction in fleet sizes owing to increase in capabilities. Calling it the 'poor man's approach', he said that a smaller number of high-performance systems was a less costly solution than larger numbers of apparently 'cheaper' systems that had less capability. He said that a single aircraft could effectively be fitted for simultaneous ground attack and air attack roles.
Rauen said that the Eurofighter was the most pilot-friendly next-generation fighter, since pilots were brought into the loop at the design stage itself. He especially pointed to its 'Sensorfusion' system, which managed the overload of information coming in through the radar, infra-red sensor systems and ESM systems fitted into the aircraft.
Pointing out that 155 Eurofighters were already in service in five European countries and Saudi Arabia, Rauen said that since the development of the aircraft was itself a joint collaborative effort, technology transfer could be more transparent and more effective for offsets, as integrating teams was Eurofighter's speciality.