Tag Archives: Typhoon

A rare look into the Eurofighter Typhoon ASTA (Aircrew Synthetic Training Aids) simulator

On Oct. 30, thanks to the Italian Air Force and the Rivista Aeronautica (service’s official magazine), The Aviationist had the opportunity to visit the Italian Eurofighter Typhoon’s Main Operating Base at Grosseto.

Among the highlights of the tour of the planes and equipment of the local based 4° Stormo (Wing), there was a visit to the Cockpit Trainer of the ASTA (Aircrew Synthetic Training Aids) simulator.

Developed by Alenia Aeronautica and SELEX Galileo, ASTA is actually not a single simulator, but a set of two simulator and accompanying training systems. In fact, it is made of a Full Mission Simulator (FMS) and Cockpit Trainer (CT). The first simulator is an exact reproduction of the Typhoon’s cockpit, including real HUD (Head Up Display), G-seat simulating acceleration effects, full avionic and sensor suit, and it is suitable for tactical training level.

The FMS features a synthetic visualising system which projects images of the external scenario on a spherical dome where 13 high-resolution projectors and 6 target projectors assure a vision range of 360° to the pilot.

The Cockpit Trainer, the one you can see in the images below taken by The Aviationist’s Giovanni Maduli, is a sort-of simplified simulator. It lacks the g-seat and has a reduced visual system, but it can be interconnected to the FMS for networked training.

In spite of a simplified architecture, the CT is not only used for basic aircrew training, but it is also used for advanced training in the air-to-air mission and it is one of tools used by the pilots to achieve the Limited Combat Readiness.

Supporting both the CT and the FMS  are the Lesson Planner and Scenario Generator, Debriefing Station & Theatre, in addition to Database Generation System and Training Management Information System.

Image credit: The Aviationist’s Giovanni Maduli

Farnborough 2012: "Yesterday we had Raptor salad for lunch" Typhoon pilot said after dogfighting with the F-22 at Red Flag Alaska

Although a Royal Air Force Typhoon took part to the daily air display, the most interesting thing at Farnborough International Airshow 2012 was the opportunity to get some more details about the recent participation of the German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons to the Red Flag.

In fact the last Red Flag-Alaska saw the first attendance by both the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptors and German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons.

As we have already reported, the Typhoons and the Raptor had the opportunity engage each other in dissimilar air combat training but only a part of the story about the outcome of the mock engagements has been reported so far: the one about the German commander saying that the F-22’s capabilities are “overwhelming,” a statement that, according to Eurofighter sources, was taken out of context.

Indeed, Typhoon pilots at Farnborough said that, when flying without their external fuel tanks, in the WVR (Within Visual Range) arena, the Eurofighter not only held its own, but proved to be better than the Raptor.

Indeed, it looks like the F-22 tends to lose too much energy when using thrust vectoring (TV): TV can be useful to enable a rapid direction change without losing sight of the adversary but, unless the Raptor can manage to immediately get in the proper position to score a kill, the energy it loses makes the then slow moving stealth combat plane quite vulnerable.

This would be coherent by analysis made in the past according to which the TV it’s not worth the energy cost unless the fighter is in the post stall regime, especially in the era of High Off Bore Sight and Helmet Mounted Display (features that the F-22 lacks).

Obviously, U.S. fighter pilots could argue that, flying a stealthy plane they will never need to engage an enemy in WVR dogfight, proving that, as already explained several timeskills and HUD captures scored during air combat training are not particularly interesting unless the actual Rules Of Engagement (ROE) and the training scenario are known.

However, not all the modern and future scenarios envisage BVR (Beyond Visual Range) engagements and the risk of coming to close range 1 vs 1 (or 2 vs 2, 3 vs 3 etc) is still high, especially considered that the F-22 currently uses AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, whose maximum range is around 100 km (below the Meteor missile used by the Typhoon).

Moreover, at a distance of about 50 km the Typhoon IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track) system is capable to find even a stealthy plane “especially if it is large and hot, like the F-22” a Eurofighter pilot said.

Anyway, the Typhoons scored several Raptor kills during the Red Flag Alaska. On one day a German pilot, recounting a succesfull mission ironically commented: “yesterday, we have had a Raptor salad for lunch.”

Above images (credit: The Aviationist’s photographer Giovanni Maduli) show the Typhoon at Farnborough International Airshow 2012.

Photo: Eurofighter Typhoon’s kill markings. F-16, F-18 and Mirage 2000 among the shot down fighters

As already explained several times, kills scored during simulated dissimilar air combat training are not particularly interesting (other than for marketing purposes) unless the actual Rules Of Engagement (ROE) and the training scenario are known.

However, there is a lot of people who consider kill markings and HUD captures extremely seriously.

Therefore, here’s an interesting picture, showing some kill markings on an Italian Eurofighter Typhoon.

Taken at Grosseto airbase in 2010 by Dario Leone, a reader of this blog, the photograph clearly shows the aircraft downed by the F-2000s of the 4° Stormo during DACT: F-18, F-16, Mirage 2000, Tornado and AMX (with the “Tonka” and the AMX not being particularly significant because they are fighter bombers that don’t excel in the air-to-air scenario).

In 2009, an F-22 kill marking on a EA-18G Growler made the news.


Infographic: Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Flypast

On Saturday May 19, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her first 60 years as monarch. Here are the graphics that explain how the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, a flypast of over 80 aircraft (more than those taking part to the previous editions) belonging to the British air arms, will take place.

Source: Royal Air Force

Two Temporary Airspace Restrictions or RA(T)s will be in force from 09:30 to 11:30 hours (UTC) and from 09:50 to 11:50 hours (UTC) on 19 May and affect a broad corridor of airspace from the South Coast to west London, corresponding to the route the formation will fly to reach Windsor, and then to the north and northwest of Windsor to facilitate the dispersal of the aircraft.

You will notice that the Typhoon, UK’s most advanced plane (F-35B aside) is not featured in the main flypast: don’t worry, it’s not being grounded like the RAF E-3s, nor being kept on alert for the Olympic Games.

The flypast will comprise two separate aircraft formations – nine Typhoon fighter jets open the event, followed later by the large mixed formation (including two formations of Tucano and Hawk aircraft, the Red Arrows, and aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Image credit: UK Civil Aviation Authority

There's a place in London where RAF Typhoons will buzz your car during the Olympics

If you plan to visit London during the Olympic Games and you are an aviation geek, I suggest you to pay a visit to one of the best (temporary) spotting places ever.

Judging by the image below, published on May 2 by the Daily Telegraph and taken during Exercise Olympic Guardian, the viewing area is located somewhere around RAF Northolt airport, in west London.

From there you’ll almost be able to touch the armed Typhoons while landing at their deployment base at the end of their missions to enforce the No-Fly Zone above and around the capital of UK.

The role of the British Eurofighters is, along with several other assets and a few SAM (Surface to Air Missile) batteries settled on top of some residential buildings, to defend the Olympics from 9/11-type of attack.

Last month two Typhoons launched to respond to an emergency signal from a helicopter caused a sonic boom that caused panic across England.

Leave a comment or send me an email if you are able to locate or give direction to the spotting point.

Picture: Julian Simmonds/Daily Telegraph

However, since the RAF does not plan to perform CAPs from RAF Northolt, the possibility to see a scene like the one depicted above are scarce. Unless a practice QRA or an air patrol is launched from there, the base could be much busier during the preliminary exercise than in the Olympics period.