Tag Archives: Typhoon

Two pilots shocked to find German Typhoons hot on their tail

Two pilots flying what they thought was a routine flight to Germany for servicing of their Embraer Phenom executive jet had more than they bargained for when two Luftwaffe Typhoons appeared on their wing tip.

According to The Local website, the two German Eurofighters were scrambled from Norvenich airbase after British firm Hangar 8 had reported the jet stolen and had called German Police to tell them of the theft, even if it is unclear on why they went to the German Police in the first instance.

The risk of an illegal plane, being flown by unknown pilots with an unknown aim in German airspace prompted terror fears. German Police contacted NATO who in turn contacted the Luftwaffe, which launched two Eurofighters to intercept the jet and bring it down safely.

According to The Local, a Luftwaffe spokeman said: “We received the alarm via NATO at 19:48. Within six minutes two of our Eurfighters started from Norvenich” within 30 minutes the Phenom jet was on the ground at Cologne’s Cologne-Bonn airport, where Police welcomed the two bemused Austrian pilots.

The article does not say when the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) was launched: most probably it happened on Mar. 31, 2012.

The two hapless pilots both Austrians, said that they had taken off from Nigeria, refueled in Algeria and were heading for Cologne to take the jet for servicing.

The plane will remain grounded until the ownership can be established.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: Stefan Gygas / Luftwaffe

RAF's weapon of choice in Libya to be upgraded as export opportunities emerge

MBDA has announced it is to work on a successor to Brimstone the fire and forget anti-armour missile that had a starring role in the Air War over Libya. During Operation Unified Protector the RAF fired a good number of these advanced weapons and the results were startling.

Optimized for release from fast moving platforms, these small guided missiles have a range of 7.5 miles. They use a millimeter wave (mmW) radar seeker with a semi-active laser (SAL) that enables final guidance to the target by either the launching platform or another plane, and are perfect for small targets, individuals, buildings and fast-moving vehicles.

With a warhead of 9 kg, capable of destroying a vehicle with very low collateral damage risk, and an accuracy of about 1 – 2 meters, the dual-mode (radar – laser) Brimstone missile proved to be the weapons of choice of the RAF Tornados when engaging ground vehicles, attracting the interest of other coalition partners.

First fielded during 2008 after an urgent operational requirement, the weapon was used first on the RAF’s Harriers during operations over Afghanistan. It has now been integrated onto the Tornado GR4 typically in a mixed load out with a single rack of three brimstone and two Paveway IV 226kg bombs and sometimes with the Rafael Litening III reconnaissance pod.

The Brimstone is also to be integrated onto the RAF’s Typhoon which (in theory) could carry 18 of the 50kg (110-lb) weapons: the use of the advanced anti-armor, air-to-surface missile offering all-weather “fire and forget” capability on the Typhoon would enhance the Typhoon’s ground attack capability considerably.

MBDA has said it has delivered some 500 weapons to the RAF which has fired some 200 of the missiles during both operations in Afghanistan and Libya.

The enhancements brought in by Brimstone2 are said to be an improved seeker and updated explosives. MBDA also said it expects to have “improvements in range and engagement footprint” obviously lessons learned over Libya are now filtering down to the final product with these upgrades. Having changed a few manufacturing techniques building the weapon has also improved the ability to fix or repair damaged weapons.

As Brimstone is an extensive redevelopment of the AGM-114 Hellfire it can be used on fast jets, helicopters and UAV’s and MBDA says that export customers can buy either weapon.

It does look like the US Military is first in line with the French close behind.

Written with The Aviationist’s Editor David Cenciotti

Image credit: RAF/Crown Copyright

Following on India's MMRCA win, Rafale on the verge of winning UAE fighter deal?

Has Dassault won a 60 jet deal with the UAE?

French newspaper La Tribune reported on Feb. 2, 2012, that France could be on the verge of winning a long-awaited $10billion 60 jet deal with the United Arab Emerates which could be signed as soon as April.

Citing unidentified sources, the paper said on its website that President Nicolas Sarkozy would go to the UAE in March or early April when the contract is likely to be finalised.

The rumor comes only days after Dassalt virtually won the Indian MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) deal and few months after Eurofighter consortium, beaten in the “mother of all tenders”, received  an RFP (Request For Proposal) by the UAE Air Force.

The deal has been in the pipeline since 2008 but negotiations stalled when the UAE described it as “uncompetitive and unworkable.” and had asked for information about the Typhoon. Althought how the deal was unlocked remains unclear a source told La Tribune that every issue has been solved.

If confirmed, this new order will unlock the possibility of further middle east deals for Dassault and Rafale in the Gulf, where countries could benefit of inter-operability that a common platform could offer. Qatar Emiri Air Force whose Mirage 2000s have taken part to the Air War in Libya  operating side to side with the French Air Force combat planes out of Souda Bay, Crete, could buy 24 to 36 Rafale to replace its ageing Mirages. Kuwait last year said it was also considering buying Rafales.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist

Photo by Alessandro Fucito

India's MMRCA fighter jet deal: illusion and disillusion on the losers' side.

All media outlets have been reporting the various reactions to the news that India is “likely” to award the contract for its MMRCA competition to Dassault as it was the lowest cost bid.

Aviation week’s Robert Wall wrote that the news is “Not going down well in London”.

Although Wall points out that Germany led the Eurofighter campaign, he describes the disapointment amongst British politicians as “palpable”. Indeed, many are complaining under their breath that Britain gives many more times aid to India than France ever has.

British Prime Minister David Cameron had, along with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, lobbied on behalf of the Eurofighter bid and did have to admit “the decision is obviously disappointing”. In an attempt to quell increasing worries from other members of the British parliament he pointed out that “they have not yet awarded the contract”. Cameron also promised to do all he could to persuade the Indians to take another look at the Typhoon and that job losses in the UK are not expected as a result.

Job losses is also a concern for the other three partners of the Eurofighter consortium, Italy, Germany and Spain each building sections of the jet but doing little to sponsor the aircraft in the Indian contest.

Although Eurofighter was believed to have a more political clout because it was backed by four European countries, lack of a united effort from partners could have been a decisive flaw on the Typhoon side. Those countries that were supposed to unitarily support the F-2000, are the same that in times of financial crisis have been much distant one another on the strategy to save the Eurozone.

Anyway, since everybody is claiming that no contract has been signed yet and 6-8 months of (hard) negotiations lie ahead for Dassault, someone has already tried to raise the stakes.

For instance, in a statement to Reuters, Pentagon spokeswoman Leslie Hull-Ryde said there had been no U.S. offer to sell India the stealthy Lockheed Martin F-35, but Washington would provide information on the jet’s infrastructure and security requirements if India showed interest in purchasing the Joint Strike Fighter. Even if it’s hard to believe the U.S. would give the requested technology transfer on its most (costly) and troubled program,  a contract worth 10 billion USD for 126 planes (with 80 more examples on the shopping list), might spur the Department of Defense to knock on New Dehli’s door with the resolve needed to persuade India to scrap its own 5th generation fighter radar evanding plane in favor of the F-35.

In the meanwhile, boosted by the win in India, Dassault has made a new offer to Switzerland where the Rafale was beaten by the Swedish Gripen in the selection for the Swiss Air Force F-5 replacement.

Let’s see what happens.

Written with The Aviationist’s Editor David Cenciotti

Here's what the Indian MMRCA Rafale might look like

You already know by now that the Dassault Rafale has won India’s MMRCA (Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft) in what has been called the “mother of all tenders”, worth $10 billion for 126 planes.

Thanks to Al Clark‘s digital mock-up, we also know how it could look like.