Upgraded Eurofighter offered to Indian Air Force

January 4th, 2010 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS  

F-16 New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) European aerospace conglomerate EADS, the manufacturer of the Eurofighter Typhoon, has aggressively pushed for an Indian Air Force (IAF) order for 126 combat jets by offering the plane with a thrust vector upgrade that will considerably improve its operational capabilities.
The upgrade will pay for itself through life cycle cost reductions, an EADS statement said Monday.

Equipping the twin-engine Typhoon’s EJ200s with thrust vectoring nozzles (TVNs) could reduce fuel burn on a typical mission by up to 5 percent while increasing available thrust in supersonic cruise mode by up to 7 percent, the statement added.

Thrust vectoring would “improve agility, survivability, manoeuvrability and the aircraft’s ability to carry an asymmetric weapons load. It also reduces trim drag and

therefore, fuel consumption”, the statement pointed out.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the six jets in contention for the IAF order, which could eventually rise to some 200 planes. The flight trials of the six aircraft are currently underway in India and are set to conclude later this month after which, another set of trials will be conducted in the country of manufacture.

Thereafter, the IAF will shortlist two or three aircraft before homing in on the final choice.

The first 18 aircraft will be bought in a flyaway condition and the remaining will be manufactured in India through the transfer of technology route by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Lockheed Martin F-16I Super Viper (both from the US), the French Rafale, the Swedish Gripen and the Russian MiG-35 are the other aircraft in the fray.

According to the EADS statement, the biggest operational benefit of thrust vectoring “is the speed that it gives in super cruise mode, because obviously the pilots are very keen on low observability at high speed”.

“Seven to eight percent more thrust in super cruise mode is quite a remarkable achievement and it adds to the operators’ delight. This would give the aircraft an edge over its rivals in combat as well as in getaway situations,” the statement added.

It also pointed out that while thrust vectoring promises operational advantages, “one has to look at life cycle costs as well. The importance is that the manufacturers should bring about both thrust increase and low life cycle costs”.

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