The Eurofighter EF2000 / Typhoon is often that much grounded, that less than three quarters of the front-line fighting force is available to the countries that need them. Some aircraft marked for flying spend years without any hour in the air. Moreover, the operating costs are much higher than promised or planned.
Internal German Armed Forces technical reports leaked out to the German press in November 2013. They clearly cut out the problems for the 5th generation fighter. As the Luftwaffe officially operated more than a 100 Eurofighters in October this year, only 73 were available at a time. For comparison: the Swedish made Saab Gripen – also a 5th generation fighter – can reach 85 to 95 percent of availability.
With the Gripens it are mostly budget restrains that prevent the air forces of keeping them flying. While with the Eurofighter it are many technical failures and problems with the quality control at manufacturer EADS. Some EF2000s seem to spend years on the ground, according to the leaked reports.
Meanwhile, the operating costs for Eurofighters that do fly have gone up to an average of 80,000 euro per flying hour. That is much more than originally planned and an embarrassment compared to the 16,000 – 18,000 euro/hour for a fairly new F-16 or 18,000 – 20,000 euro/hour for the Saab JAS 39 Gripen.
© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger