The 400th Eurofighter Typhoon has been delivered. It was the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) who had the honour to receive the aircraft marked 31+06 on 4 December 2013 at the Cassidian’s Military Air Systems Center in Manching, Southern Germany.
The delivery of the very first Eurofighter to the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom took place at the end of 2003. The 100th Eurofighter was delivered also to the Royal Air Force in September 2006. The 200th aircraft was handed over in November 2009 to the German Air Force. The 300th aircraft was delivered to the Spanish Air Force in November 2011.
In the past 10 years the global Eurofighter fleet accumulated more than 210,000 flying hours. Several developments such as the Phase 1 Enhancement, the integration of the Meteor air-to-air missile, the new electronic radar (E-Scan) and additional weaponry increase the capabilities of the Eurofighter Typhoon.
At present, the Eurofighter Typhoon fleet comprises 20 operating units with locations in Europe, the South Atlantic and the Southwest Asia. Specifically there are 7 units in the UK (4 in Coningsby, 2 in Leuchars and 1 in Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands); 5 in Italy (2 in Grosseto, 2 in Gioia del Colle, 1 in Trapani); 3 in Germany (Laage, Neuburg and Nörvenich), as well as 3 in Spain (2 in Morón, 1 in Albacete) and one each in Austria (Zeltweg) and Saudi Arabia.
The Royal Air Force 121 Expeditionary Air Wing that was sent to Cyprus ahead of a possible war of Western nations and Syria has returned home on 14 November 2013, according to a statement by the RAF.
The main element consisted of Eurofighter Typhoon fighters from 11 Sqn based at RAF Coningsby. They flew 224 sorties starting 24 hours after their arrival in Cyprus on 24 August 2013, according to 121 Expeditionary Air Wing Commander Blythe Crawford. Boeing E-3D Sentry airborne early warning and control aircraft from 8 Sqn flew 10 sorties every day. Lockheed Tristar tankers from 216 Sqn at RAF Brize Norton provided the inflight ‘gas’ for all those flights.
Further more 1 Air Control Centre from RAF Scampton deployed with the Type 101 radar and Number 5 Force Protection Wing from RAF Brize Norton secured RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on the ground, 12 hours after arriving. The RAF force was supplemented by Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon, which provided a situational picture of activity in the eastern Mediterranean and boosted defence intelligence gathering in case Syrian forces would have retaliated against Western bombing by attack the 6,000 British service men on two British territories in Cyprus.
The Royal Navy warship HMS Dragon, Royal Air Force Typhoons, US Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet and US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles have put their skills and technology to the test during a recent joint exercise.
The goal was to detect, classify and monitor contacts on the sea’s surface in the challenging conditions of the Gulf. The Type 45 destroyer provides a complementary service to the highly manoeuvrable and effective Typhoon fast jet combat aircraft.
One of Dragon’s fighter controllers, Lieutenant Francis Heritage, said: “We received the help of a United States Air Force Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or JSTARS, aircraft to cue our fighters onto their targets. The JSTARS surface radar is incredibly powerful. When combined with our own organic sensors and those of the jets under our control, we can provide force protection over a massive area.”
The American surveillance jet fed information directly into Dragon’s operations room, allowing the destroyer to cue fighter jets onto their objectives. HMS Dragon is in the second half of her inaugural deployment, which is a mix of carrying out maritime security operations with the UK’s Gulf partners and contributing to the wider air defence of the region, such as when she joined forces with the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group a few weeks ago.