The first flight of the prototype Eurofighter 2000 took place on March 27, 1994, when Messerchmitt-Bülkow-Blohm (MBB) chief test pilot Peter Weger took the prototype on a test flight around Bavaria. The basic configuration is reminiscent of the British Aerospace (BAe) EAP agile combat aircraft demonstrator, which flew back in August, 1986. In fact, the EAP was used to test many Eurofighter systems before final configuration of the latter plane was decided. (The relationship is similar to the F-17 and F/A-18, where the basic planform is the same but many design changes were made.)
The EF2000 is built by a consortium made up of BAe (UK), MBB and Dornier (Germany), Aeritalia (Italy), and CASA (Spain). It was initially designed for air-superiority and air defense roles, but a changing world situation has also resulted in an emphasis on excellent air-to-surface capabilities as well.
The STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) aircraft has a fundamentally unstable aerodynamic design; while this requires computer assistance for stable flight, gives the EF2000 superior agility. Two Eurojet EJ200 advanced technology turbofans each provide 20,250 pounds of afterburning thrust; with a maximum take-off weight of 37,480 pounds fully loaded, this means the EF2000 has power to spare. Although it's not actually a stealth aircraft, careful shaping and use of composites and low-detectability technologies (the airframe surface is only 15 % metal) means the EF2000 is extremely light and has a much smaller radar profile than 1980s-era fighters.
The fly-by-wire control system ensures the pilot can't stall or overstress the plane, and there's even a button that will automatically return the plane to a wing-level, nose-up attitude if the pilot becomes disoriented after a high-G maneuver. All important switches are mounted on the throttle or stick, giving the EF2000 true HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick) control. Three panel-mounted MFDs are supplemented by a HUD and a helmet-mounted sight for aiming ASRAAM missiles.
Initial deliveries to the RAF are set, appropriately enough, for the year 2000. Analysts generally agree that the only fighter with a demonstrable superiority to the EF2000 is the American F-22, which costs twice as much and doesn't have the EF2000's air-to-surface capability.
The EF-2000 is the product of a consortium of British Aerospace, Deutsche Aerospace (Germany), Alenia (Italy), and CASA (Spain), with the United Kingdom and Germany providing technological leadership. Under full-scale development since 1988, the EF-2000 is a 46,000 lb, single-seat, twin-engine short takeoff and landing (STOL) multirole fighter, optimized for air superiority with both beyond-visual-range (BVR) missile capability and close-in combat agility, but also featuring air-to-ground capabilities. Computer simulations (focusing on BVR air-to-air combat) conducted by European contractors and government agencies suggest that the EF-2000 is superior to all U.S., Russian, and European fighters examined, with the exception of the F-22. While it is impossible to assess the validity of these findings, they do indicate that the developers of the Eurofighter are aiming for highly impressive capabilities.
The EF2000 is a canard equipped delta aircraft optimized for the
air-superiority role but able to be used for ground attack. Extensive use of
high technology materials has been made including carbon composites, glass
reinforced plastics, titanium, and aluminum lithium, in 80% of the airframe.
Like the Gripen and Rafale the EF2000 uses canards and a broad delta wing to get
the best combination of agility, lift, and speed.
Maximum speed: Mach 2.0 (2060 kmh, 1280 mph) Service ceiling 18,290m (60,000 ft) Runway length: 500m (1,640 ft) Max range with max internal fuel 600 n miles, (1112 k, 690 miles) Power plants: Twin EJ2000 reheated turbofans. Max thrust: 90kN (20,000 lbst) each Wing span: 10.5m (34 ft 5.5 in) Wing aspect ratio: 2:205 Length: 14.5 m (47 ft 7 in) Height: 6.4 m (21 ft) Gross wing area: 50.0 sq. m (538 sq. ft) Basic mass empty: 9,750 kg (21,495 lb.) Max take-off mass: 21,000 kg (46,218 lb.) Max external stores: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb.)
The Eurofighter carries NATO's best weapons. It has a high load Capacity with
flexible missile configurations. It has thirteen carriage points, three of which
are capable of holding external fuel tanks. The maximum fuel or weapons payload
is 6,500 kg (14,330 lb.).
* S-225 long range (radar guided) * AIM 120 medium range(radar guided) * ASRAAM short range infra-red * AIM 9M short range infra-red * 27mm Mauser cannon
* AGM 65 Maverick * ALARM anti-radar missile * Sea Eagle anti-ship missile * Paveway laser guided bombs * CR-V7 unguided rockets * BL755 cluster bombs.v * Durandal, other free fall bombs.
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