BAE Systems is conducting high-speed wind tunnel testing of the proposed conformal fuel tank (CFT) configuration of the Typhoon fighter jet at its facility in Warton, Lancashire, UK.

Carried out using a geometrically perfect 1/12th scale model of Typhoon, the testing aims to assess the aerodynamic characteristics of the Tranche 3 Typhoon when fitted with two fuselage-mounted CFTs.

Created using 3D printing or additive layer manufacturing (ALM) techniques, the new fuel tanks are expected to boost the future operational range and flexibility of the aircraft due to increased fuel capacity.

Specifically, the CFTs, which are scheduled to be mounted on all Tranche 3 Typhoons, would free up under-wing pylons that are frequently used to carry external fuel tanks, as reported earlier by Flightglobal.

The third and latest version of Typhoon, Tranche 3 standard, includes a number of changes that effectively improves the aircraft’s performance, and also allow for future upgrades, including integration of E-scan radar and high-speed data network systems.

"The testing aims to assess the aerodynamic characteristics of the Tranche 3 Typhoon when fitted with two fuselage-mounted CFTs."

A total of 112 Typhoons have been ordered for the four Eurofighter partner nations of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, under the Tranche 3A contract signed in 2009, 40 of which would be delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF).

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Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter manufactured by a consortium of EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE for deployment during air operations, including air policing, peace support and high-intensity conflict missions across the globe.

Apart from Austria, Italy, Germany, Spain and the UK, the swing role combat aircraft has also been ordered by Oman and Saudi Arabian air forces.

Image: The 1/12th scale model of Typhoon with attached CFTs undergoing wind tunnel testing at BAE’s Warton facility in UK. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.

Defence Technology