Hallbergmoos: The first Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, loaded with Tranche 2 avionics, took to the air today at BAE Systems' Warton facility. Designated as Instrumented Production Aircraft Six (IPA6) this Typhoon will be used for Tranche 2 flight tests, and its main task will be to accomplish Type Acceptance for Block 8 aircraft.
Block 8 aircraft will be the first capability standard of the Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoon and are expected to be made available in April 2008.
While IPA6 (BS031) is essentially a Tranche 1 standard aircraft, it uses the full Tranche 2 mission computer suite and avionics features. The first aircraft that represents the full Tranche 2 build standard is the IPA7 (GS029), whose first flight at the Manching site of EADS, Germany, is expected before the end of 2007.
The first Tranche 2 EJ200 engine had already flown on IPA2 in Italy on 14 September. This test aircraft, operated by Alenia, will undertake the necessary evaluation and certification work for this new EJ200 version.
Tranche 2 features focus mainly on the new mission computers, which deliver higher processing and memory capacity required for the integration of future weapons such as Meteor, Storm Shadow and Taurus. Differences in the build standard to Tranche 1 are related to changes in production technology or obsolescence.
The Eurofighter consortium will deliver 251 aircraft, 91 to the United Kingdom, 79 to Germany (including 15 aircraft originally contracted by Austria), 47 to Italy and 34 to Spain.
Deliveries of Tranche 2 Eurofighter Typhoons to all the four partner nations will begin in the summer of 2008 and are scheduled to run until 2013.
18 aircraft are already in final assembly at the partner companies Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems, EADS CASA and EADS Deutschland.