Airbus completes flight-testing aerodynamic upgrades to Eurofighter Typhoon
Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed flight-testing of aerodynamic modification kit (AMK) developed for the Eurofighter Typhoon swing-role fighter.
Developed as part of a wider Eurofighter Enhanced Manoeuvrability (EFEM) programme, the AMK package of aerodynamic upgrades is expected to further enhance the aircraft's agility and weapons-carrying ability.
Upgrades include primarily the addition of fuselage strakes and root extensions to increase the maximum lift created by the wing by 25%.
This will lead to an increased turn rate, tighter turning radius, and enhanced nose-pointing ability at low-speed, which form the critical fighter capabilities in air-to-air combat.
In addition, the AMK will provide extra growth potential, enabling easier integration of future air-to-surface configurations and flexible applications, enhancing the aircraft's mission effectiveness in the air-to-surface role.
Eurofighter Project Pilot Germany Raffaele Beltrame said: "This programme has been a tremendous success with very impressive results, in some areas even better than we expected.
"We saw angle of attack values around 45% greater than on the standard aircraft, and roll rates up to 100% higher, all leading to increased agility. The handling qualities appeared to be markedly improved, providing more manoeuvrability, agility and precision while performing tasks representative of in-service operations.
"And it is extremely interesting to consider the potential benefits in the air-to-surface configuration thanks to the increased variety and flexibility of stores that can be carried.
"It's right to say that the EFEM/AMK work has allowed us to discover a new aircraft with much higher performance and greater potential to meet the challenges of the years ahead."
So far, Eurofighter test pilots have completed 36 sorties from Manching, Germany, on the IPA7 Instrumented Production Aircraft.
Image: The IPA7 during the trials. Photo: courtesy of Andreas Zeitler, Airbus Defence and Space.