Germany Will Purchase 20 New Eurofighter Tranche 5 Jets

A Luftwaffe Eurofighter flying formation during a training mission. (Image credit: German Air Force)

Eurofighter also announced the Phase 4 Enhancement which will include new capabilities, as well as study to extend the service life of the Typhoon.

The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced today, during the opening of the ILA Berlin Air Show 2024, that Germany will order 20 more Eurofighter Typhoon fighters by the end of 2025. The Chancellor said he is strongly committed to maintaining and expanding arms production capacity, as well as strengthening Germany’s commitment to NATO.

“We will order 20 more Eurofighters before the end of this legislative session (scheduled for autumn 2025) — in addition to the 38 aircraft currently in the pipeline,” said Scholz. He also added that the order would give certainty to Airbus and its suppliers.

Recently, Airbus has been vocal about the need for new orders to avoid a production gap, which could last up to 10 years, from the end of the Eurofighter’s production in 2030 and the start of the production of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) in 2040. The company mentioned that such gap would not only end the production of combat aircraft in Germany, but also cause the  loss of jobs, tax revenues, cutting-edge technologies and expertise.

“Today’s announcement from the German government is great news for the Eurofighter programme and our industry partners. It underlines Germany’s long-term commitment to the Eurofighter,” said Eurofighter CEO Giancarlo Mezzanatto. “Eurofighter Typhoon will be the backbone of Europe’s defence for decades to come.”

A Eurofighter mockup parked in ILA Berlin’s exhibition area was also shown with a special tail which prominently mentioned “Eurofighter Tranche 5” and a German flag, putting emphasis on the new order about to be signed by Germany.

The Phase 4 Enhancement

Eurofighter and the NATO Eurofighter & Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) have agreed to develop the next capability enhancement package for the Eurofighter Typhoon, called Phase 4 Enhancement (P4E). The announcement arrived shortly after Chancellor Scholz’s statement about the planned acquisition of further aircraft for the German Air Force.

Eurofighter says the P4E SD (System Definition) package contains a number of new developments, including an automated sensor management capability for all Typhoon radars. This will allow to exploit the capabilities of the new AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar to complete multiple simultaneous tasks, while reducing the pilot workload.

German Eurofighters escort a U.S. Air Force B-52H bomber during a recent mission of the current Bomber Task Force deployment. (Image credit: German Air Force)

The Typhoon is in fact receiving new AESA radars to replace the older mechanical radars. Called European Common Radar System (ECRS), but also known as the E-SCAN AESA radar, the new radar has three variants: ECRS Mk 0, that equips the aircraft of Kuwait and Qatar; ECRS Mk 1, that is set to equip the Typhoons from Germany and Spain; ECRS Mk2, which will also have an electronic warfare and electronic attack capacity, currently being developed for the United Kingdom.

The package is also said to include an improved cockpit interface and enhanced Radio Frequency Interoperability (RFIO), which will improve survivability and lethality. While the development of a Large Area Display for the Typhoon has been confirmed, it is unknown at this time if it will be included in the new improved cockpit interface.

In addition to the automated sensor management capability, P4E will introduce DASS (Defensive Aids Sub-System) upgrades for all customers and includes the IOC (Initial Operating Capability) for the additional German electronic warfare capability. As we reported, Germany is working on a dedicated Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) variant of the aircraft, dubbed Eurofighter EK.

The Eurofighter EK (Electronic Combat) is equipped with the Saab Arexis Electronic Warfare suite and AGM-88E AARGM anti-radiation missiles. Both were exhibited with the aircraft mockup at ILA Berlin. The Eurofighter EK is to be NATO-certified by 2030 and will then replace the Tornado in the SEAD role for the German Air Force.

Interestingly, although the press release did not mention them, the mockup was also accompanied by Airbus’ STAR (System and Teaming Advanced Research) demonstrator pod for manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) operations, MBDA’s RCM2 (Remote Carrier Multi-Domain) multi-role effector and the Rafael Spice 250 standoff precision guided glidebomb.

Furthermore, Eurofighter said the P4E SD will undertake the analysis necessary to extend the service life of the Typhoon, ensuring the aircraft is available for decades to come. In fact, it has often been mentioned that the aircraft will be used to bring FCAS technologies and operational concepts to maturity, as well as serving alongside the 6th generation aircraft once fielded.

The new Wingman

The mockup of the new “Wingman”, the new stealthy unmanned aircraft concept, was also shown near the Eurofighter mockup. In Airbus’s vision, the Wingman will be an unmanned fighter-type drone that will be controlled by a pilot in a current combat aircraft, such as the Eurofighter, and will handle high-risk missions that would be more hazardous for manned aircraft.

“Typhoon, the backbone of European air defence, will protect our skies into the 2060’s, and therefore it is vital that we continue to enhance the capabilities of the platform and ensure it is operationally effective,” said Mezzanotto. “The P4E package is central to achieving that mission – providing users with an improved cockpit, powerful sensors and enhanced electronic warfare capabilities.”

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.