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Navalised Eurofighter Typhoon for India
by IKE 10-Feb-2011 07:54

The Eurofighter consortium, one of the six companies chasing the 126-fighter aircraft sale of India’s medium multi role combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition presented a proposal for an upgraded and navalised version of the Typhoon. It was revealed as a concept on the Aero India exhibition and it features a lot of interesting details.---

The scale model shown in the pictures (from livefist.blogspot.com, republished under permission by Shiv Aroor) incorporates all the external updates. The most obvious change is the stronger landing gear and the modified arrestor hook. These changes are necessary for aircraft carrier operations and the fuselage must be locally strengthen in order to withstand the increased loads. The most important modification is the integration of vector nozzles to the Eurojet EJ200 engines. Thrust vectoring is something that Eurofighter and Eurojet have mentioned even years ago and some preliminary work is already done. They claim that the system can be incorporated with minimum hardware modifications. Apart from the obvious flight control enhancement the thrust vectoring is used here to decrease the angle of incidence needed in the approach in order to give the pilot better visibility. As one can see from the photos the nozzles are pointing downwards providing additional lift.

Other upgrades include the conformal tanks (a useful update even for existing users), AESA radar (necessary requirement for most competitions nowadays), smart helmet display system and also the incorporation of SAAB systems RBS15 anti-ship missle.

Eurofighter claims that a navalised version of the Typhoon has been examined for UK use and that if it wins the MMRCA competition the naval version will be develop with/or by India. SAAB, another participant in the competition had also offer a navalised version of the Gripen NG. Both companies share the fact that their proposed naval fighters aren’t operational and not even in order by any other country (or their country/ies of origin). The modifications and the operating procedures necessary for a land-based aircraft to become operational in an aircraft carrier are substantial. Apart from the relatively easy hardware changes the flight control system must be revised and the flight control software and code must be rewritten. Additionally, many test and evaluations will be needed in order to incorporate successfully and take advantage the thrust vectoring nozzles, especially in such demanding missions.

However India has a very ambitious plan for its aerospace industry. There is the Tejas fighter, the joint venture with Russia on PAK/FA and even plans for an indigenous 5th generation medium combat aircraft. The technology transfer and the experience to be gained from developing a specialized version of the Typhoon (or Gripen) may offset the potential risk.

(model photos from livefist.blogspot.com, republished under permission by Shiv Aroor
artistic impression from Eurofighter. )

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