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Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

34 thoughts on “Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 3 First Flight

  1. Fedaykin

    @JH

    There isn’t a massive need for uprated engines on Typhoon, as it stands the aircraft has excess power already.

  2. WiseApe

    Look no AESA; no Meteor; no Storm Shadow; no CFTs; no up-rated engines. Quite why they bothered with this video at all is beyond me. How many of the tranche 3 upgrades will be retrofittable (have I just invented a word?) to tranche 2?

    BTW, a couple of rumours doing the rounds on t’internet: the UK is about to order 14 F35Bs; and that India are less than impressed with the “progress” on PAK-FA and have again enquired about buying F35.

  3. Think Defence Post author

    It just tickled me because there you have a racing thoroughbred showing off to the sound of a WWI biplane :)

    Retrofittable!

    You haven’t invented anything until ‘fightiness’ starts being used by the professionals, then you know you have arrived!

  4. Chris

    I’ve never really understood why the majority of modern aircraft fly with such a pronounced angle of attack – all nose-up belly-first. Even passenger jets do it. Is it that the wedge effect of air trying to squeeze under the airframe is vital to lift and thus to staying airborne? If I remember right, Concorde used the trapped air wedge effect and associated downward component of engine thrust to keep up in the air for take-off & landing, going far too slow for the elegant wings to work as aerofoils.

    Anyway. Not designing the aircraft to punch through the air on the fuselage’s axis must waste a lot of fuel and hurt performance. In my non-aero opinion. Obviously for the photoshoot the Typhoon was struggling a bit to go as slow as the camera platform, but so far I haven’t seen any evidence that the plane can fly level, not nose up…

  5. Fedaykin

    @WiseApe

    ?

    AESA in final integration, IPA5 will fly with it this year.

    METEOR in final integration. Missile fired from aircraft already.

    Storm Shadow in integration trials. Missile trialled on test aircraft planned service availability in 2015.

    CFT attachment points and plumbing on aircraft.

    Aircraft has excess power in current role no need for uprated engines as it stands.

    Retrofit to Tranche 2, always planned depending if partner nations stump up the monies!

  6. WiseApe

    @Fedaykin – I look forward to seeing the video as that video will actually have a point. And hopefully a soundtrack. Perhaps dub a Rafale?

  7. McZ

    WiseApe; as far as I’ve read, not much changes can be brought to T2. The forward structure has been thoroughly changed to accommodate a new cooling mechanism, required for AESA radars. The CFTs will also require extensive structural changes to the T2. Nothing’s being said about TVC-engines.

    In the meantime, still no proper internal targeting pod on the T3. Say what you want, this bird will never make a decent low-flying mud-mover. And as a Storm-Shadow-truck, it somehow seems to be a huge misuse of resources.

  8. wf

    @Chris: I’m hardly an aero engineer (even the Mech Eng is long in the past), but wings usually provide the optimum lift/drag with a few degrees of AoA.

  9. McZ

    Some interesting bits

    http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/report-dna-exclusive-100pct-price-escalation-on-rafale-fighter-aircraft-to-rs-1-75-lakh-crore-likely-to-dent-iaf-s-strike-capability-1957107

    http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/russia-can-t-deliver-on-fifth-generation-fighter-aircraft-iaf-114012100059_1.html

    We should be grateful, that we’ll soon have not only one, but two state-of-the-art fighters available. I re-iterate my prognosis from Dec 2012: India will finally buy F-35, with some of them being Bravos.

  10. Mark

    Aircraft passenger one fly at about 3 deg angle of incidence it provides the optimum cruise condition for the aerofoils sections chosen. This allows the aircraft wing to satisfy the many other requirements placed on in the optimal configuration.

    All options are available for retro fit to tranche 2 aircraft. The tranche is significant because it introduces next generation computers and can very easily add future technology and conformal tanks are a bolt on. Tranche 2 can accept conformal and aesa radar but would require some additional systems work. The typhoon does not aesa or engine upgrades at this time it’s more than capable the on going developments future proof the airframe. Why would you want an internal targeting pod completely pointless. Litening 3 is the most advanced targeting pod on the market and its full integrated now.

  11. WiseApe

    @McZ – Interesting indeed. Indian military procurement is certainly entertaining. I doubt the US would be willing to sell F35 to India – especially not if it involved technology transfer. Window still open for Typhoon?

  12. McZ

    @Mark
    “Tranche 2 can accept conformal and aesa radar but would require some additional systems work.”

    A german aircraft-nerd-magazine reported, that both AESA as well as CFTs require structural changes just introduced to T3. This sounds like T2 will need internal work to make it happen. Short of having CAD-models, I guess we have to believe BAE and EADS marketing…

    “Litening 3 is the most advanced targeting pod on the market and its full integrated now.”

    OK, to be more precise: what I mean is a dedicated position to carry Litening 3, not necessarily a new pod. Aft centreline is hardly where it should rest, IMO it should be carried on the forward-left AA-position.

    On LITENING being the most advanced, we can agree or disagree. Sniper seems more than competitive, featuring a 1/4 smaller diameter.

    If you really want to compete with the F-35, you better find a built-in solution. Just another dot on the “what the F-35 brings to the table OOTB”-list, otherwise to be obtained through money, on the route losing stealth, agility or both.

  13. Mark

    Mcz

    Tranche 2 has all the structural strengthening needed to accept both. They do not have the systems provision eg the final fuel routines and addition cooling systems installed at build, nor the attachment point the little lumps at the back of t3 being the giveaway. But the airframe was designed to accept both from t2 onward. It remains to be seen if all raf aircraft will be upgraded to a common standard I suspect not.

    Ok but it not really a huge problem where it is, it becomes even less of a problem if conformals are fitted.

    On that f35 dot actually the f35 is inferior to the externally carried pods and doesn’t offer the same modes of operation (things have moved on in the last decade) it is now highly likely the US will fit an external targeting pod to f35 for certain operational missions at least as an interim measure. The pirate system would the typhoons equivalent inbuilt system.

  14. John Hartley

    Does Typhoon need uprated engines? Well not if its just doing lightly loaded QRA in cold grey England. If its in the sandbox on a hot Summers day, doing a full load strike at max range & not wanting to be an easy target for another fighter/SAM, then yes it does need uprated engines. I think all that talk of more Typhoon sales to hot countries might have turned to reality had uprated engines been available.

  15. Chris

    wf, Mark – I’m moderately happy with wings having quite significant angles of attack, although I can accept it more readily for thick chorded profiles than I can for the paper-thin fast jet wings, but if the wing is always going to fly at a minimum angle, why isn’t the fuselage angled nose down compared to the wing so at least part of the aircraft pushes through the sky at minimum cross-sectional area? It seems sort of counter-productive expending vast effort designing sharp-nosed pointy flowing shapes only to have them blunder through the air belly-first.

    On the subject of… Merlin has quite a nose up attitude – several degrees – making it an awkward thing to bring into the hover quickly low over water. The tail rotor gets awful low. But I fully understand why this is how the aircraft flies – as helicopters hang like a pendulum under the centre of the rotor disk, when the aircraft goes fast the wind resistance blows the fuselage rearwards compared to the rotor. EH101 started life as a prospective executive civilian transport aircraft, and at its high speed cruise it would have flown nicely level. (Apparently its unnerving for passengers to fly in an aircraft that is significantly nose down.) Without moving the gearbox/rotor rearwards and revising the tail rotor so the two didn’t argue for space, and all the airworthiness hassle that would bring, Merlin was always going to inherit the nose-up characteristic.

  16. Brian Black

    Chris, Typhoon’s nose is slightly off the engines’ axis, it’s just not very pronounced.

    It is to do with expected most likely flight profiles afaik, and that high-speed wings won’t create the lift as you said; more lift, more drag.

    Take a look at the SU-27, which was designed for long-endurance high-altitude cruising, through thin air as an air superiority fighter, and in some images it looks positively banana shaped; but Tornado of similar era, which was designed for a low-level high-speed dash to bombing target has engines on pretty much the same axis as the fuselage.

    You can see the slightly dropped nose of Typhoon and F-16 more easily on profile drawings.

  17. Chris

    BB – ah-ha! That then will explain why jaw-dropping good looker TSR2 seemed to fly horizontal with horizontal wings of thin chord – it was like Tornado intended (I think?) for high speed low level insertion, in this case of scary-bombs.

    Agreed ref Su-27/31 – everything set on a slightly different plane to everything else (pun intended).

  18. Mark

    Chris

    The whole design is built around the cruise requirement from an aero perspective but that will be tempered buy takeoff and landing requirements and aircraft behaviour in certain conditions . Wings in general have about three different angles of incidence on them and will twist nose dwn as they head to the tips to prevent tip stall. The aerofoil section is not symmetric (lift at zero degrees for example) as this would result in fat sections which are not effective for transonic wings they have what is called supercritical aerofoil sections. Fighter aircraft wing shapes have to address a far more complicated set of requirements and flight regimes than civil ones obviously and tend to be optimised for there design point requirements..

    The nose of an aircraft is usually quite a long way from the wing, angle the fuselage dwn and when your on the ground the nose will get awfully close to the Tarmac. Though on some of the smaller aircraft you will notice fuselages tending slightly to what you suggest. You also have to consider takeoff when you need to generate lift without excessive ground speed, requiring a lot of high lift devices or having to pitch the nose up quite a lot which could lead to wing tip strike on highly swept wing aircraft. It’s all a balancing act.

  19. Mark

    Chris

    The aircraft is designed around cruise and that is were aero will have optimised is shape for, there will however be comprises for landing and takeoff and other flight characteristics.

    Wings have about three different angles of incidence on them and will twist nose dwn as they head to the tips to prevent tip stall. The aerofoil section is not symmetric as this results in fat sections and not effective for transonic wings they are what is called supercritical aerofoil sections. Fighter aircraft wing shapes have to address a far more complicated set of requirements and flight regimes than civil ones.

    The nose of an aircraft is usually quite a long way from the wing, angle the fuselage dwn and when your on the ground the nose will get awfully close to the Tarmac. Though on some of the smaller aircraft you will notice fuselages tending slightly to what you suggest. You also have to consider takeoff when you need to generate lift without excessive ground speed or requiring a lot of high lift devices.

  20. Simon

    Chris,

    Quick crash course in aero – ha, ha, see what I did there.

    Lift is proportional to the velocity squared so since Typhoon is a supersonic interceptor and trans-sonic fighter it is reasonable to assume it is optimised for about 600 knots. This means at 300 knots it needs four times the lift which it can only get from increasing the angle of attack of the wings (and get the associated increase in drag :-( ). This example sees a zero degree angle of attack giving a Cl (coefficient of lift) of about 0.3. To get four times this (1.2) you need an angle of attack of 12 degrees.

    Different aerofoils give different lift curves and the body will also give some lift.

    Obviously at some point it puts flaps out so things change.

    For sake of sanity you might like to look at this which shows the thrust line, wing root and conic nose section very much in line.

  21. Chris

    Simon, Mark – thanks for the lessons – I have determined everything I need to know, and can boil it down to the single phrase “It’s complicated.”

    So although I still have no idea why civil airliners fly nose up at cruise (which *must* burn more fuel than if they designed then to fly along the fuselage axis), I’m going to stop asking the dumb questions. For a while, anyway.

  22. Mark

    Chris

    The reverse actually its more fuel efficient, and no question is ever dumb. It is to do with maximising there lift to drag ratio at cruise. That requires speed(fuel burn) and aoa along with an aerofoil that is optimised for transonic flight. If your flying a zero aoa you need more speed (or fuel consumption) to generate the same amount lift to keep the aircraft in the air..

    This graph may help

    http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aero_12/attack_fig7.html

  23. Simon

    Chris,

    To continue the course…

    Although it looks complicate, this graph simply shows the lift coefficient Cl (just think lift) rising from zero almost linearly to 1.5 after which it demonstrates stall at about 20 degrees. It also shows the drag coefficient Cd (just think drag) going up from 0.02 on the left exponentially (actually an almost square law) up to 18 degrees.

    If you then plot Cl/Cd, which is the lift-to-drag ratio you can see a peek (L/D max) at 6 degrees. This is the wing working optimally. In other words you get more lift for your money than at any other position (the money is in the form of drag… fuel… etc).

    In this case I get my peak L/D at the same AoA (Angle of Attack) as a Cl of 0.5.

    So if I have a 20,000kg (196200 Newtons of lift force required to keep it up) aircraft cruising at 500 knots (257 meters per second velocity) at 11,000m (0.364 kg/m3 density), I’ll need a wing area of…

    L = 0.5 x density x Velocity x Velocity x Area x Cl – density is the small ‘p’ called roe.

    Solve for area and you get: 32 square meters of wing – ish.

    As Mark says, it is usually always a compromise.

  24. Chris

    Mark, Simon – stop already!! My brain’s full!

    I do sort of get the idea; I still think – independent of wing AoA surely the fuselage (civi jets) should be bolted on at an angle that makes it present minimum frontal area at cruise. Obviously I’m wrong else real aero engineers would have done it already. Oh look – they did: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/—I6INSxPHs/T8KFbUioi_I/AAAAAAAADqI/HPcjR9kudFg/s1600/Lancaster.jpg http://www.adf-gallery.com.au/gallery/albums/Victor/Handley_Page_HP_80_Victor.jpg http://richard-seaman.com/Aircraft/AirShows/YankeeAirMuseum2006/Highlights/P38Tom2006.jpg http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/RAF_Vickers_VC10_K3_Lofting-1.jpg

    Sorry – couldn’t resist…

    Anyway. Like you said, its engineering so its a compromise. It is always a compromise.

  25. Mark

    Chris

    You should,have a look at the Boeing sugar volt concepts that’s an even more interesting one of where the future maybe heading.

  26. Waylander

    The is a good article in the Feb issue of Combat Aircraft Monthly by a USMC pilot serving with the RAF comparing Typhoon with the Hornet, F-16 & F-15.

    “The Typhoon pilot’s mindset is in stark contrast to that relating to the Hornet. Where the Hornet pilot relies on minimising the elapsed time in the fight in order to achieve a quick kill, the Typhoon pilot relies upon raw performance and stamina to evade and eventually ‘bleed’ the energy of his opponent. The Typhoon BFM experience is speed, g, patience and turn rate. In Typhoon, I want my opponent to slow down and forfeit airspeed as time is now on my side. The brute strength of the Typhoon places it in a league of it’s own, just as the adverts proclaim. Though potent in the right hands, F-16s and F-15s are not comparable and most often find themselves executing defensive break turns and gun jinks when pitted against a savvy Typhoon pilot. For them, they know that allowing the fight to progress beyond the second or third merge is a waste of fuel. Moreover, pylon configuration and external fuel stores are of no consequence to the Typhoon. Selecting maximum afterburner in the Typhoon is rather disturbing for the first time. It is the Gene Simmonds of high-turn rate fighters. Forexample, when reheat is selected above 440kt, even with full aft stick control imput at 9g, the aircraft will begin rapidly to accelerate, causing it’s turn circle to steadily increase. The only way to slow down is to throttle back. In fact, one of the most emphasized skill sets Typhoon Operational Conversion Unit instructors instill in the students is managing the awesomeness. Even taxiing, the aircraft uses only idle power, as the speed can increase rapidly if not continually monitored. This ample power excess arms the Typhoon pilot with the ability to match an aggressive slow-speed fighter like the Hornet, if he plays his cards right. The Typhoon’s ability to regain airspeed, and thus energy, is nearly instant, placing even the most well-seasoned dissimilar opponent squarely in the horns of a dilemma. If a fighter pilot wants to gain tally of a Typhoon post-merge, my recommendation is first to dispense flares, then look behind the wing on the inside of your turn. He’ll be nestled there – fact!
    The Typhoon is pure thrust and turn rate. The Hornet is pure agility and turn radius. Merging with either in combat is a death wish. In the event of a Typhoon and Hornet had pilots whose experiences were evenly matched and ‘had a go’ at lower altitudes, I am of the opinion that the Hornet pilot would be able to generate the first, yet fleeting, window of opportunity to shoot. When that window slams shut, it’s ‘tea and crumpets’ for the Typhoon pilot. Assuming the same caveats at higher altitudes, I do believe it would be rather enjoyable for the Typhoon pilot”.
    Extract from article by Maj D.R. ‘Ged’ Miller

  27. Alex

    In fact, one of the most emphasized skill sets Typhoon Operational Conversion Unit instructors instill in the students is managing the awesomeness

    Oh, well done BAE and R-R, and of course MTU, Finmeccanica, Seat et al.

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