SHAH ALAM: The 500th Eurofighter Typhoon has been delivered to the Italian Air Force during a special ceremony held at Leonardo Aircraft Division’s Turin site on April 11. With 599 aircraft ordered, Eurofighter Typhoon is currently the largest collaborative industrial programme in Europe.
Eight customers have ordered the Typhoon with almost 400,000 flying hours achieved worldwide. The first Eurofighter was delivered to the UK Royal Air Force at the end of 2003. The 100th Eurofighter was delivered to the UK Royal Air Force in September 2006.
The 200th aircraft was handed over to the German Air Force in November 2009. The 300th aircraft was delivered to the Spanish Air Force in October 2011, and the 400th to the German Air Force in December 2013.
Of these 599 Aircraft going into service, a total of 451 are from the Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 production runs, so are completely identical in construction and equipment other than a few fuel and cooling pipes for the Conformal Fuel Tanks able to be mounted on the Tranche 3 fuselage.
Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 can take CAPTOR-E Radar. Note that Tranche number does not mean the Aircraft capability, it means the physical standard of the aircraft, the capability comes from the Software and Weapons / Pod Clearances and is called Phased Enhancement Programme, with Typhoon currently developed to Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) and P4E currently in process of agreement across the various Typhoon users.
Malaysia will get Tranche 3 standard with at a minimum, P3E capability, maybe P4E depending on timing. But changing from P3E to P4E is just a software load anyway.
When these big Typhoon numbers are compared to the total Rafale order book of only 204 aircraft, there will be at least double the number of identical Repairable Items (Avionics, Engines etc.) in the global supply chain for the next 30-40 years.
This creates very good “economies of scale” for through life support which will provide the RMAF with the chance of a better Operational Expenditure after the Typhoon aircraft is in service. This is particularly important for the large expensive LRI’s such as Engine and Radar. RMAF have already experienced how fast OE can disappear on engines with their Russian equipment and even the MB-339 due to having the last remaining Viper Engines in operation.
Having more than 1,200 EJ200 engines in service (not counting maybe 25-30 spares across all the countries) as compared to only 408 M88 engines should be a significant point for RMAF. Especially since it is known that EJ is extremely reliable and M88 not at all and with no future fixes.
In addition to the Repairable Items advantage, having eight nations in the team who have positioned Typhoon as the backbone of their Air Force capability, rather than a few here and there such as Egypt, means that development of the weapons and aircraft through life will be guaranteed and not just dependent on the selling country making investment. Rafale is very dependent on French investment, Typhoon does not depend on the UK only.
These numbers do not include a potential second batch of 72 aircraft to Saudi Arabia, who is becoming one of Malaysia’s key political partners. So if the Saudi’s buy more, then there will be over 670 Typhoon’s versus only 204 Rafale (3.3:1 advantage to Typhoon) – Safety in Numbers.
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