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Eurofighter Looks To Build on Greek Sale
JOHN D. MORROCCO/BOSCOMBE DOWN, ENGLAND
The Eurofighter consortium hopes the Greek government's approval of the acquisition of 60 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft with options for another 30 will bolster its case in other fighter competitions such as Norway's.
The Greek cabinet's defense and for-
2003 for a late 2005 in-service target date. Eurofighter has provided an extensive industrial work package as part of its bid and has already placed subcontract work with Norway's Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace to manufacture structural subcomponents for-the aircraft.
CASA-built development aircraft DA6 undergoes icing tests as part of a four-month series of environmental trials at DERA's Boscombe Down facility.
eign affairs committee last week authorized the Defense Ministry to go ahead with the procurement, about a year after Greece named Eurofighter as its preferred choice (AW&STF&. 22,1999, p. 32). A contract, estimated to be worth $4.9 billion, is expected to be signed by this summer. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2004 and run through 2009.
When combined with orders from the original four partner nations, the Greek contract will bring the total number of Eurofighters ordered to 680 airctaft, plus options for another 120. Consortium member DaimlerChrysler Aerospace has already placed work with Hellenic Aerospace Industries. The Greek aerospace company is being privatized, with a 49% stake up for sale. Both DASA and BAE Systems have expressed an interest.
However, a decision in Norway's competition has been delayed. Industry officials now expect word this summer. Norway is looking for 20 fighters with options for another 10. Deliveries could begin in
The consortium faces tough opposition in the form of the Lockheed Martin F-16, however. The U.S. company's prospects received a boost with the long-awaited signing of a contract with the United Arab Emirates for 80 Block 60 F-16s. Lockheed Martin offered Norway both Block 50+ and more advanced Block 60 versions.
"With the UAE's decision to buy the Block 60 F-16, as well as pay part of the development costs, Lockheed Martin will have a formidable competitor to challenge the Eurofighter on the export market. The aircraft is the most advanced version of the F-16 ever offered to export customers, with several new technologies, including an active electronically scanned array radar.
In addition to Norway, South Korea is looking to acquire 40-60 new fighters, and Eurofighter officials say they expect to have South Korean pilots fly the aircraft before year-end. Five potential customers in all are expected to conduct flight evaluations of the aircraft this year.
The Eurofighter development program is facing a series of complex trials this year, with flight tests of initial operating capability versions of both the flight control and avionics software. The Eurofighter flight test program passed, the 1,000-hr. mark early last month.
DA6, one of seven development aircraft, is expected to conclude a series of environmental tests at the U.K. Defense Evaluation Research Agency (DERA) facility here. The tests began last November. The two-seat aircraft, built by CASA of Spain, was subjected to extreme temperatures and humidity levels at DERA's environmental hangar here, which can simulate temperatures ranging from —70C to
+70C. Engines and auxiliary power units were run during the tests, in addition to the aircraft's electrical" and electronic systems.
THE HANGAR'S SOlaR array capability also was employed to simulate the effects of direct sunlight on the upper surfaces of the aircraft, including the canopy. The first production-standard cockpit canopy was delivered to BAE Systems this month by Aerospace Composite Technologies, a subsidiary of GKN Westland Aerospace.
DERA's blower tunnel was employed for icing trials with DA6, preparatory to planned inflight icing trials. The blower is capable of airspeeds of 280 kt. with water and liquid nitrogen introduced into the airstream to simulate icing conditions. Tests were run to evaluate aircraft surfaces, including engine intakes, canards, cockpit canopy and wingtip pods.
Meanwhile, production is moving ahead with eight forward and 10.center fuselages under assembly at BAE Systems and DASA facilities. Co-bonding of wings is underway at Alenia and CASA. Final assembly of the first initial production aircraft starts in September at BAE Systems' Warton facility.
Deliveries to customers within the original four-nation program are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2002. ©