The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine multi-role canard-delta strike fighter aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of European aerospace manufacturers, Eurofighter GmbH, formed in 1983.The maiden flight of the Eurofighter prototype took place on March 27, 1994 (then just known as the Eurofighter EF 2000). Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm chief test pilot Peter Weger took the prototype on a test flight around Bavaria.
When the final production contract was signed in 1997, the revised procurement totals were as follows: UK 232, Germany 180, Italy 121, and Spain 87. Production was again allotted according to procurement: British Aerospace (37%), DASA (29%), Aeritalia (19.5%), and CASA (14%).
The project has been named and renamed a number of times since its inception, having been known as EFA (European Fighter Aircraft), Eurofighter, EF2000 (Eurofighter 2000), and most recently Typhoon.
Its combination of agility, performance, stealth features and advanced avionics make it one of the most capable fighter aircraft currently in service. Compared to its rivals, Typhoon's cockpit and man/machine interface are claimed to be significantly advanced and intuitive, resulting in a lower pilot workload, building on the early glass cockpits pioneered by aircraft like the F/A-18 and Mirage 2000, looking similar, but working in a much more intuitive and effective way, with given operations requiring fewer pilot inputs. The conventional HOTAS-concept was enhanced with a direct voice input system to allow the pilot to perform mode selection and data entry procedures.
The Typhoon's combat performance, particularly compared to the new F-22A Raptor and the upcoming F-35 fighter under development in the United States and the Dassault Rafale developed in France, has been the subject of much speculation. While making a reliable assessment is impossible with available information, there is a study by the UK's DERA comparing the Typhoon to other contemporary fighters. In it, the Typhoon was second only to the F-22A in combat performance.
In March 2005, United States Air Force Chief of Staff General John P. Jumper, then the only person to have flown both the Typhoon and the Raptor, talked to Air Force Print News about these two aircraft. He said that "the Eurofighter is both agile and sophisticated, but is still difficult to compare to the F/A-22 Raptor. They are different kinds of airplanes to start with; it's like asking us to compare a NASCAR car with a Formula 1 car. They are both exciting in different ways, but they are designed for different levels of performance".
In June 2005, Scotland on Sunday reported that, when 'attacked' by two USAF F-15E Strike Eagle strike fighter aircraft, a Eurofighter on a 'Case White' conversion training sortie was able to out-manoeuvre the attacking aircraft and "shoot them down".
The Typhoon is capable of sustained supersonic cruise without using afterburners. The F-22A is the only other current fighter with supercruise capabilities.
Length: 15.96 m (52 ft 5 in)
Wingspan: 10.95 m (35 ft 11 in)
Height: 5.28 m (17 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 50 m² (540 ft²)
Empty weight: 11 000 kg (24,250 lb)
Loaded weight: 15 550 kg (34,280 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 23 500 kg (51,809 lb)
2× Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofans, 60 kN dry, 90 kN with afterburner (13,500 lbf / 20,250 lbf) each
Maximum speed: Mach 2.0+, 2390 km/h (1,480 mph) at high altitude; Mach 1.2, 1470 km/h (915 mph) at sea level; supercruise Mach 1.3+ at altitude with typical air-to-air armament
Range: 1390 km (864 mi)
Service ceiling: 18 000 m (60,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 255 m/s (50,000 ft/min)
Wing loading: 311 kg/m² (63.7 lb/ft²)
Armament:gun: 1x 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon
air-to-air missiles: AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-132 ASRAAM, AIM-120 AMRAAM, IRIS-T, MBDA Meteor
air-to-ground missiles: AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-88 HARM, AGM Armiger, ALARMs, Storm Shadow (AKA "Scalp EG"), Brimstone, Taurus, Penguin
bombs: Paveway 2, Paveway 3, Enhanced Paveway, JDAM
Laser designator, e.g. LITENING pod
(Adapted from http://www.wikipedia.org/ )