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Acquisition of 24 Eurofighter Typhoons from Italy is now a reality

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BULGARIAN MILITARY

Gareth Jennings, aviation journalist published today in X: “Called it! #Italy green lights buy of 24 new Eurofighter Typhoons…”. He quotes a tweet from aviation expert Giovanni Martinelli which says: “Anticipated several times by Gareth Jennings, now comes official confirmation…Italy will purchase 24 more EF-2000s.” Martinelli cites “Act N176” which mentions the acquisition of the “F-2000” [the Italian version of the Eurofighter Typhoon].

In May of this year, it was revealed that the Italian government would be seeking approval for the acquisition of 24 additional fighters in the third quarter of the year. BAE Systems, a consortium partner, confirmed the potential sale on May 14. A senior company official mentioned that Italy aims to boost its fleet, which currently includes 96 Eurofighters, with 94 still in active service. 

“Italy is now looking for more core aircraft,” stated David Hulme, Typhoon Product Strategy Director and Director of the Eurofighter project at BAE Systems. He added, “There will be a parliamentary process in the summer to consider a further purchase.” It appears the discussions in the Italian Parliament have concluded successfully for the Italian Air Force, and approval has been secured.

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Tranche 4+

Italy is gearing up to upgrade its fleet, aiming to replace the 28 Tranche 1 aircraft, which lag behind the capabilities of their Tranche 2 and Tranche 3A counterparts. The new Eurofighters are expected to be akin to those in Tranche 4+ or even the prospective Tranche 5, as envisioned by Spain’s Halcon II program.

Tranche 4+ primarily introduces the European Common Radar System Mark 1 [ECRS Mk1/Radar 1], an active electronically scanned array [AESA] radar, while Tranche 5 adds even more sophistication with elements of the Long-Term Evolution [LTE] package.

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The LTE initiative includes several enhancements: upgrades to the Eurojet EJ200 engine, a revamped mission system architecture, advanced defensive aids, a modernized touchscreen large-area display cockpit, and new adaptive power and cooling technologies. These improvements will support the integration of cutting-edge weaponry, enhance connectivity, and bring structural changes that boost the aircraft’s aerodynamics and maneuverability.

Eurofighter 2000

The Eurofighter 2000 prototype took to the skies over two decades ago. Now popularly known as the Typhoon, this versatile multi-role combat aircraft has become a core asset for numerous air forces. It’s actively operated by Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK, Austria, and Saudi Arabia. The Italian Air Force, referring to it as the F-2000A [or TF-2000A for two-seaters], first showcased the Typhoon at RIAT in 2013 and will grace the event again in 2019.

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Photo: Eurofighter Typhoon

In terms of dimensions, the Eurofighter Typhoon has a length of approximately 15.96 meters [52.4 feet], a wingspan of 10.95 meters [35.9 feet], and a height of 5.28 meters [17.3 feet]. Its wing area is about 51.2 square meters [551 square feet], which contributes to its agility and performance in various combat scenarios.

The propulsion system of the Eurofighter Typhoon consists of two Eurojet EJ200 turbofan engines. Each engine can produce a thrust of up to 20,000 pounds-force [90 kN] with afterburners. This powerful propulsion system allows the aircraft to achieve a maximum speed of Mach 2 [approximately 1,550 mph or 2,495 km/h] and provides an excellent thrust-to-weight ratio for superior maneuverability.

Avionics and systems

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The technical characteristics of the Eurofighter Typhoon include advanced avionics, a highly aerodynamic airframe, and a sophisticated flight control system. The aircraft is constructed using a combination of composite materials and lightweight alloys, which enhances its durability and reduces its radar cross-section.

The avionics suite of the Eurofighter Typhoon is state-of-the-art, featuring the Captor-E active electronically scanned array [AESA] radar, which provides superior tracking and targeting capabilities. It also includes an advanced electronic warfare system, a helmet-mounted display, and a comprehensive suite of sensors and communication systems.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is equipped with a variety of systems to enhance its combat effectiveness. These include an advanced defensive aids subsystem [DASS] for threat detection and countermeasures, an integrated navigation system, and a mission planning system. The aircraft also features a digital fly-by-wire flight control system for precise handling.

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Weaponry

In terms of weaponry, the Eurofighter Typhoon can carry a wide range of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions. Its armament includes AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for air combat, as well as Paveway laser-guided bombs and Brimstone missiles for ground attack missions. The aircraft is also equipped with a Mauser BK-27 mm cannon for close-range engagements.

The operational range of the Eurofighter Typhoon varies depending on the mission profile and payload. With internal fuel, the aircraft has a combat radius of approximately 1,389 kilometers [863 miles] for air superiority missions. This range can be extended with the use of external fuel tanks, allowing the Typhoon to conduct long-range strike missions and extended patrols.

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