The (IPA 8), is the world’s most advanced Eurofighter, as the referred test aircraft has achieved a new fuselage construction milestone:
The IPA 8 (Instrumented Production Aircraft 8) test aircraft has achieved an important production milestone at Cassidian in Manching: with the mounting of the right wing, the connection between the cockpit, vertical tail unit and wings with the fuselage has been completed. “IPA 8 is based on the latest Eurofighter Tranche 3 construction standard and is furthermore equipped with state-of-the-art flight test instrumentation. That makes the aircraft the most advanced Eurofighter in the world,” said Berndt Wuensche, Eurofighter Programme Manager at Cassidian. “IPA 8 can make essential contributions to further developing the aircraft’s capabilities in the coming decades – for example, electronic beam scanning for radar, enhanced weapon integration and improvements to mission equipment,” he continued. After assembling the individual major structural components, the aircraft was transferred to the next production station on the final assembly line in Manching, where the test aircraft’s hydraulic, defensive aids and electrical systems and its complex special cabling are being installed. The specialists at Cassidian have equipped the modern fighter jet with more than 110 km of cable in the past few months and additionally installed pressure, flow and electrical data sensors and the test flight instrumentation and computer into the aircraft. Equipped in that way, all the relevant aircraft parameters can be communicated in real time from the air to the flight test engineers on the ground.
More importantly, Cassidian has a 10-year practical experience in the serial production of the European jet fighter, which has started in 2003:
Ten years ago, the world’s first series production Eurofighter took off on its first flight from Cassidian’s Military Air Systems Centre in Manching. The aircraft bearing the marking GT001 (GT stands for German Trainer) was delivered to the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) School of Engineering No.1 in Kaufbeuren just a few days later, where it has since been used to train ground personnel. The former Cassidian test pilot Heinz Spoelgen and his professional colleague Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hierl from the Bundeswehr Technical Centre (WTD) 61, located in Manching, described the flight at that time as a highlight of their flying careers. “After taking part in a large number of tests on Eurofighter prototypes and series production aircraft equipped with test instrumentation, it was a big challenge for us to get our hands on the first aircraft destined for the Luftwaffe,” Spoelgen emphasised. “The 41-minute flight in the two-seater aircraft completely met our expectations and proceeded without any complications,” Lt. Col. Hierl added. One day later, on 14 February 2003, the first British and Italian series production aircraft also took off on their first flights from BAE Systems in Warton and Alenia Aermacchi in Turin. The Spanish ST001 followed on 17 February from Cassidian in Getafe.
Additionally, the European subsidiary of EADS continues to support the development of the referred fighter jet, by delivering simulators and jet-fighters to its country- users:
Cassidian has delivered (15th, February 2013) a new Eurofighter flight simulator to be used by the aircrew of the 14th Wing of the Albacete Air Base, adding to the two already installed at the Morón de la Frontera Air Base in Seville. The simulator delivered is part of the ASTA advanced training system. Cassidian has been responsible for all tasks related to the installation and commissioning of this Cockpit Trainer/Interactive Pilot Station (CT/IPS-E) which, together with the Full Mission Simulator (FMS), form the ASTA. The 19 ASTA systems in service in five of the nations operating the Typhoon combat aircraft – Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom – are intended for crew training. This ranges from familiarization with the aircraft to actual missions in highly complex tactical environments, using aircraft software code tailored to the simulator to reflect the behavior of the aircraft and its embedded systems with a high degree of fidelity. The simulators currently in service at the Morón de la Frontera Air Base have to date clocked up 6,500 hours of simulation including 4,800 training missions.
Cassidian handed over the 100th Eurofighter to the German Air Force, at the Military Air Systems Centre in Manching (28 February 2013). Speaking to invited delegates who included politicians, representatives of the public authorities, the German armed forces and industry, Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Cassidian, underscored the importance of this milestone for the company: ”The program is and remains one of the essential pillars of Cassidian’s business. It is the largest European high-tech program and is the most modern multi-role combat aircraft on the market today. Together with the German Air Force, we can be proud that this program is running soundly and successfully.”
Finally, it is important for EADS and Cassidian to continue support the development of Typhoon jet, as competition in the global defense industry intensifies. Eurofighter is a practical example of a common EU defense system.