Why fighter pilots wear a Typhoon Grin

The new Eurofighter, or Typhoon, may be coming into service later than it should have, is far more expensive than previously thought and has had a few technical glitches, but it will be the world's best fighter aircraft. It can soar to 12,000 feet in 4 seconds. And Britain will have more of them than any other country - around 232 of them. They are being built by Britain's BAE Systems (formerly British Aerospace), Europe's largest defence company.

Why fighter pilots wear a Typhoon Grin

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 01/04/2006)

To say that the RAF's new fighter accelerates faster than a Formula 1 car is to sell it very short indeed.

For the first 700ft of take-off, the comparison seems apt, but then 40,000lb of rear thrust put the aircraft into a vertical ascent that feels like being in the Space Shuttle and we soar from Earth to 12,000ft in four seconds flat.

Thomas Harding soared to 12,000ft in four seconds

It might be coming into service late and have cost massively more than it was meant to, but the much maligned Eurofighter - the Typhoon -has certainly arrived.

For manoeuvrability there is no aircraft in the world quite like it, as I discovered when I became the first journalist to fly in an operational Typhoon from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire.

The scepticism within military circles and beyond about the Typhoon runs deep. Designed during the Cold War to fight off hordes of Soviet fighters, it has, say many observers, no relevance in today's warfare against small bands of terrorists holed up in mountains or deserts.

That perception began to change yesterday when No 3 Squadron became the first operational unit to be equipped with the Typhoon, although problems surfaced again when a display to mark its introduction was delayed after the aircraft developed a fault with its air-conditioning.

"In terms of capability, Typhoon is a quantum leap over anything we have ever had," said Wg Cdr Al Mackay, who commands 29 Squadron in charge of training the fighter pilots.

"It's in a different league to anything we have ever had before." The Typhoon can travel at more than twice the speed of sound, it can fly at 65,000ft and it accelerates very, very fast.

But its major strength is its manoeuvrability - it can twist, turn and evade like nothing else on the market.

Perhaps that is why pilots who step out of the BAe Systems plane for the first time emerge with the "Typhoon Grin".

From next month, Wg Cdr Lol Bennett will start training a very eager and excitable batch of 16 pilots in No 3 Squadron, which he leads.

By early next year, any rogue airliner that has failed to keep radio contact or whose transponder fails - as happens about once a month over Britain - will very quickly have a Typhoon for company when it joins the Quick Reaction Alert team for home defence.

"I think it's a fabulous airplane, something we can be hugely proud of as a nation," said Wg Cdr Bennett.

"It has been seen as a bit of a white elephant and Cold War relic but we have never had an aircraft that has performed like this. Best thing since the Spitfire."

By early 2008, the unit will develop its air defence capability that will mean it can go anywhere in the world.

With British troops expected still to be deployed in Afghanistan at that time, it is likely the Typhoon will see its first action in the country's mountains and valleys.

Wg Cdr Bennett's unit will be the first of five large Typhoon squadrons who will share between them Britain's order of 232 aircraft.

The criticisms that the Typhoon is outdated even before it enters service will disappear as it is adapted to become a multi-role aircraft.

It will be able to carry heavy bomb loads of two 2,000lb smart bombs, Stormshadow cruise missiles, Brimstone anti-tank weapons, reconnaissance equipment and an array of air-to-air missiles.

The heavy payload will not affect performance, the pilots say, and its ground-attack capability will come into effect at the end of this decade.

If there is one complaint, it is that cost-cutting measures have meant not enough spares - from nuts and bolts to computers - leading to a number of Typhoons being grounded.

Flying the Typhoon is relatively simple. With more than a dozen computers on board, all that the pilot needs to control is the throttle, joystick and undercarriage handle.

Wg Cdr Mackay describes the rudder pedals as "foot rests, unless you are in combat".

One computer has a female voice that cajoles pilots and warns them of dangers.

"If you fly too close to the ground she urgently says 'low, low, low' in an agitated Margaret Thatcher voice and you half expect a handbag coming over the back of the seat to knock your head."

With digital terrain mapping entered into the system, the plane provides life-saving technology telling pilots to "pull up, pull up" if they are heading into a mountain.

At 24,000ft, I find out for myself what it feels like to fly when Wg Cdr Mackay asks me to take the controls. "If you pull back the sheep get smaller, push forwards and sheep get bigger," he says.

Concentrating hard on the "heads up" display, showing our altitude, speed and horizon, I gingerly tilt the joystick. The response is immediate as the plane dips and tilts.

It is extraordinarily easy to fly, even at the hands of a novice. The point is, it frees the pilot for combat and other tasks.

We drop down for a low-level pass over RAF Leeming (which has only Tornados and Jaguars) before screaming along the Hawes Valley in North Yorkshire, telling traffic control we will become invisible to radar. Everything seems to go in slow motion - the traffic on the A1, then a pleasant looking river drifts by. Until that is, Wg Cdr Bennett demonstrates the immense flexibility by turning 180 degrees within a 1,000ft radius at 500mph, 250ft above the ground.

"Look - we're back to where we started at the turn," he said.

As the G-forces dragged my stomach towards my feet and eyes out of their sockets, I muttered an "Oh, really" before concentrating hard on keeping down lunch.

Blackleaf - WOW thanks for that article

What a beautiful craft - can you imagine the thrill???

Beyond human it is.

The crews who are chosen are very lucky to share in its history and no doubt it is going to have one heck of a history.

We're gonna see Juan journeying over there so hitch a ride if he can talk his way into it!!! :P
Here are the performance numbers on the new Euro fighter.

It will not climb to 12,000 feet in four seconds. It's performance will be slightly less than the newest F-18.

The numbers:

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EF2000 DA2 mini picture

Eurofighter EF2000 (Typhoon)
Air superiority fighter with multi-role capabilities (Jagdflugzeug mit Fähigkeiten in der Luft-Boden-Rolle)

Country (Land)
Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain (Deutschland, Großbritannien, Italien und Spanien)

Manufacturer (Hersteller)
Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH
Am Söldnermoos 17
D-85339 Hallbergmoos

Phone: 0049-811/80-0
Fax: 0049-811/80-1557

Principal partners (Partnerfirmen): Alenia, BAE Systems, EADS (formerly CASA and Dasa)

General (Allgemeine Angaben)
Crew (Besatzung): 1 (2 in trainer variant)

Weapons (Bewaffnung): There is a built-in 27-mm Mauser gun. On its 13 external load stations (five under the fuselage), Eurofighter can use a wide variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, including a maximum of

* 6 x AIM-120 AMRAAM or the Matra BAe Dynamics Meteor now under development
* 6 x AIM-9 Sidewinder or Matra BAe Dynamics ASRAAM or BGT IRIS-T
* 4 x ALARM anti-radiation missile
* 4 x Penguin or Boeing Harpoon anti-ship missiles
* 18 x Brimstone anti-tank missiles
* 2 x Matra BAe Dynamics Storm Shadow or LFK Taurus stand-off weapons
* 4 x Paveway GBU-10/16 laser-guided bombs with designator pod
* 6 x BL 755 cluster bombs
* 12 x 500 to 2000 lbs conventional bombs
* 4 x Bristol Aerospace CRV-7 rocket pods
* 3 x external fuel tanks

Of course, these loads cannot be carried simultaneously, so typical configurations mentioned are

* 3 x AMRAAM, 2 x AIM-9, 1 laser-designator pod and 4 GBU12 bombs, 3 tanks
* 4 x AMRAAM, 2 x AIM-9, 1 tank, 6 x Penguin ASMs
* 4 x AMRAAM, 2 x AIM-9, 1 x 1000 l tank, 2 x 1500 l tank, 4 x Penguin ASMs
* 4 x AMRAAM, 2 x AIM-9, 1 tank, 5 x 450 kg bombs
* 4 x AMRAAM, 2 x ASRAAM, 2 x 1500 l tank, 1 x 1000 l tank, 2 x Alarm, 2 x Storm Shadow
* 4 x AMRAAM, 2 x ASRAAM, 1 x 1000 l tank, 18 x Brimstone
* 4 x AMRAAM, 2 x ASRAAM, 1 x 1000 l tank, 6x Alarm
* 6 x AMRAAM, 2 AIM-9L, 2 Paveways, 2 x underwing tanks
* 4 x AMRAAM, 2 x ASRAAM, 2 x Alarm, 4 x Paveway, 1 tank under fuselage

Power plant (Antrieb): 2 x Eurojet EJ200 two-spool turbofan with reheat
Thrust (Schub): 2 x 60 kN (13490 lbs) maximum dry thrust, 2 x 90 kN (20250 lbs) with reheat (mit Nachbrenner)

Dimensions (Abmessungen)
Length (Länge): 15,96 m
Heigth (Höhe): 5,28 m
Span (Spannweite): 10,95 m over ECM pods
Wing area (Flügelfläche): 50 sq m
Wing aspect ratio (Flügelstreckung): 2,205

Weights (Massen)
Empty weight (Leermasse): 10995 kg
Fuel capacity (Kraftstoff): 4000 kg
External stores load (Außenlast): 6500 - 8000 kg
Max. take-off weigth (Max. Startmasse): 23000 kg

Performance (Flugleistungen)
Max. speed (max. Fluggeschwindigkeit): Mach 2.0+
Max speed at low altitude (max. Geschw. in Bodennähe): 1390 km/h (750 KEAS)
Minimum speed (Minimalgeschwindigkeit): 203 km/h (110 KEAS)
Service ceiling (Dienstgipfelhöhe): 16765 m (55000 ft)
Time to 35000 ft/Mach 1.5 (Zeit auf 10600 m): 2,5 min
Take-off field length (Startstrecke): < 700 m
Landing field length (Landestrecke): < 700 m
Ferry range (Überführungsreichweite): 3700 km (2000 NM)
Radius of action (Aktionsradius):
- Intercept with 10 min on Patrol (Abfangjagd): > 750 NM (1390 km)
- Air patrol with 3 hrs on station (Luftraumpatrouille): > 100 NM (185 km)
- Ground attack, hi-lo-hi flight profile (Bodenangriff): > 750 NM (1390 km)
- Ground attack, lo-lo flight profile (Bodenangriff im Tiefflug): > 350 NM (650 km)
Ferry range (Überführungsreichweite): > 2000 NM (3700 km)
g-limit (g-Limit): +9/-3
Maintenance man-hours per flight hour (Wartungsaufwand pro Flugstunde): 9 h
Juan lol

Took you less than 15 minutes to find that marvellous piece of flying machine!!! hahaha.

And you had all the credentials for it as well.. you pilots talk a whole nuther language.

Ahem...when are you leaving for the U.K.???

The Euro fighter is an impressive aircraft. It's strength is not it's speed , but it's multi-role capabilities It can use a relatively short runway for take-off and landing, it has a very tight turn radius and It can utilise a wide variety of weapons. Very nice.

So - when are you going over there to hitch a flybye????

I wonder if some of them lose consciousness at those altitudes...

Aw...I'm such a darn sissy I always think of the icky things...

That short landing and take off will be an advantage too eh?

OMG - I just looked at the G limit! Talk about a stretched face!!!
We are going to GB in September W.C.

We got a great deal on the air fare. Damn near half price. In September we can pretty much count on rain in Britain so we won't be disappointed. If we happen to have sunshine it waill be a bonus.

I some how don't think I will be getting a ride in the Typhoon though. For one thing,I don't think they're built yet, but I'm sure there are other reasons.. :P

Lots to see over there anyway - pubs and museums and brrrrrrrrr the Tower of London hahaha....

Are you going into the countryside or staying in London or ?

There should be an airshow or two around that time no? Maybe they are all held in the summer months -

Blackleaf will know!

Sounds like a lovely trip - September would be a nice month too....
Is Juan an Aviation fan? If so Juan let me know and I will give you the address of a great forum for people interested in anything Aviation Related. It's called Pprune, it has every topic you can imagine.
My wife is heavily into geneology.

so part of the trip will be checking in on dead relatives in England, Ireland, and Scotland. We will get a about two weeks "on the continent". We'll rent a car in France and drive where we want, when we want. I'm pushing for anywhere on the Mediterranean.

That sounds wonderful! I would love to visit a real Irish Pub - a couple of my nephews went over to Ireland to work when they finished college and one fell madly in love...he stayed for over a year...but finally returned home....

Checking grave markers and church records or town records? That would be like an adventure as Sherlocke Holmes... my girlfriend and her husband went last summer to all of the U.K. she loved Scotland best...but they did the commercial "tour of London"...and saw the lane where Jack the Ripper killed all those women....and the Tower of London...and rode the busses....she was speechless (for a change).... which gave her husband a great time too !!

I can see your camera(s) are gonna get a workout....

Juan is an ex pilot for the Canadian Air Force....

Blackleaf is always teasing us with his aircraft information....air shows....retiring old aircraft fighters.....
Thank WC, that explains it. My husband is a retired Military Pilot also.
Johnny Utah

I have read that even today the Avro Arrow could still hold it's own against other military jets, would that be true as it's said the Avro Arrow was ahead of it's time when it was built.

I think I saw you writing about your hubby being a 'copter pilot now too???


The Avro sweptwing is classy and sexy!
This is my favorite baby ..

Becoming an old workhorse...
That looks like a CF-18, and it's being refueled.

Good picture..

I had a look at Sassy's site. That is some forum.

www.pprune.org/forums/ (external - login to view)
Yep it's clean and informative. I love Jet Blast the Brits and the Aussie are hilarious.

Agony Aunt Forum....

"I got my girlfriend pregnant "

"I am lonely"

This looks like a hoot of a place to hang out in.... thanks Sassy

Juan - yep

It's a beauty having its lunch and picture taken too !!
Oh my god WC I read that today too and his birth control methods well left a little to be desired. It's a great place to hang and read up on the Aviation Industry World Wide. If you want an ugly un-moderated aviation site check out Justhelicopters view recent threads, Holy Hell it gives pilots a bad name.
Quote: Originally Posted by Wednesday's Child


Lots to see over there anyway - pubs and museums and brrrrrrrrr the Tower of London hahaha....

Are you going into the countryside or staying in London or ?

There should be an airshow or two around that time no? Maybe they are all held in the summer months -

Blackleaf will know!

Sounds like a lovely trip - September would be a nice month too....

There's the Farnborough Airshow, which I think is the biggest, that is held for about a week in July.
Quote: Originally Posted by Wednesday's Child


Juan is an ex pilot for the Canadian Air Force....

Blackleaf is always teasing us with his aircraft information....air shows....retiring old aircraft fighters.....

I don't know much about aircraft.

I'm an ex-Royal Navy Operator Mechanic.
Talking about the Royal Navy, here's a piece of kit about to be launched by the RN -

The Sunday Times April 02, 2006

Stealth sub to give navy's SAS a hidden edge
Michael Smith

The BAE Systems Talisman mini-submarine.

A NEW remote-controlled unmanned British submarine could transform the way in which the Royal Navy’s Special Boat Service spies out beaches and landing zones.

The Talisman mini-submarine can be pre-programmed or operated by remote control to collect imagery, signals or sonar intelligence and then go on to destroy the targets it has identified.

It can also be fitted with missiles and with other much smaller unmanned mini-submarines which it can send out to collect intelligence or to search out and destroy the targets.

BAE Systems, which has developed the Talisman, said the mini-submarine would be ideal for special operations. It could also be deployed to protect coastlines and installations such as oil rigs.

“If you look at the likely missions, they are more likely to be clandestine,” said Andy Tonge, the Talisman project manager. “The likelihood of anyone detecting it is very, very low.”

Details of the previously highly classified Talisman “autonomous underwater vehicle” (AUV) emerged last week at a special operations conference in Jordan attended by representatives from the world’s leading special forces.

The BAE Systems Talisman mini-submarine, which was produced from a concept to a working system in less than a year, uses stealth technology developed for military aircraft to ensure that it cannot be easily detected.

Its 14ft hull and its internal compartments, which house the electronics suites and payload, are made of carbon-fibre composite, giving it its stealth and easy manoeuvrability.

It uses satellite communications or underwater acoustics communications to link up with its controller and weighs just under two tons.

Powered by batteries, it can remain on operations for about 24 hours but this could be dramatically extended if diesel generators were fitted to re-charge the batteries.

Talisman could be launched up to 50 miles off shore by a destroyer or a military transport aircraft such as the C130 Hercules. But the ideal covert launch vehicle would be a larger submarine.

BAE Systems is building the new Astute-class attack submarine for the Royal Navy which would provide an ideal launch vehicle. The Royal Navy is expected to turn Astute into a multi-purpose submarine. The “all-singing, all-dancing” Astute would be capable of firing Trident nuclear missiles and TLAM cruise missiles, carrying out extensive intelligence gathering and launching special forces operations.

Talisman could not replace the SBS swimmer delivery vehicle, which is used to insert troops, but it could reduce the level of risk by improving intelligence gathering and removing obstacles such as mines. The commanding officer of the SBS, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard van der Horst, died a year ago after he ran out of oxygen while trying to get out of a four-man swimmer delivery vehicle.

Talisman has carried out secret trials around the UK’s coastline, all of which have been successful, BAE Systems said last week.

I hope it's in better shape than the ones Canada bought from England.
Blackleaf wrote:

There's the Farnborough Airshow, which I think is the biggest, that is held for about a week in July.

I would love to see Farnborough again and the Paris show as well. Unfortunately we are coming over in Sept. and will miss it. Farnborough is a grear flying show. The Paris show is mainly a military hardware sale.

No matter if you miss one thing - there will be lots of other things to see.

For some reason I would love to see the huge oil drilling platforms off the coast of Scotland. I saw a short film once on the construction of those huge pieces of equipment and it stuck in my head for some reason. I don't even remember who drilled or who owns them but I think they were off the coast of Aberdeen. Just the fact they are stable in those violent north coast waters is amazing.

Juan...you gonna get a (ahem) kilt to wear for possible travel into Scotland ??? hehehe
I probably will buy a kilt.

Not buying one would be like going to the Calgary stampede and not getting a white Stetson. I doubt if I'll be wearing it there---I don't have any knee socks with gaters and garters... :P and my joggers would probably clash with the family tartan(if I had a family tartan... )

The ocean oil rigs are impressive. I've only seen them on the tube but it must be a different life when just about everything revolves around the by-weekly helicopter.
WC and Sassy will expect pictures Juan of you in your kilt. My husband flew the Pumas off shore NFL, he called the job a glorified cab driver. Very boring and tedius but the Hibernia Platform is a work of art.

If you have family members there, you probably have some heraldic items too - such as a family crest or tartan.

It is worth investigating to add to your collection (or your wife's collection) of family memorabilia.

My husband was thrilled when my sister sent him a family crest in a frame when she went to the U.K. on a trip. (He thought his family originated in Kentucky hahaha)....

He ended up having one made for each of his kids too. It's kind of a neat thing to own. He started something though because then his dad wanted one and one for his aunt....he ended up making good friends with the guy in Edinburgh where he purchased the additional ones.

If and when you don your tartan kilt....let's have a photo of you !!
Hehe Sassy

We women think alike - both posting with our request for a "Kilt Showing" from Juan :P

About the platforms - they are gorgeous at night with the lights playing. I have heard it's a great job to get over smoking and drinking with the long shifts on the rigs....

I would probably get sea sick and be no good to anyone.

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