Yesterday we saw the success of a unique AMRAAM firing trial at Moron Air base in Southern Spain. The trial was the result of close cooperation between the Spanish and British Flight Test Centres of EADS CASA and BAE Systems, under guidance of Eurofighter GmbH, using Eurofighter Typhoons IPA4 and IPA5 - Spanish and British aircraft respectively.
The objective of the testing was to fire the AMRAAM missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon whilst its radar was in passive mode and thus “invisible” for Electronic Support Measures (ESM) Systems. The necessary target data for the missile was acquired by the radar of a second Eurofighter Typhoon and transmitted using the Multi Functional Information Distribution System (MIDS). Both aircraft were separated by quite a distance in range.
This scenario is especially relevant for Eurofighter Typhoon’s Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air combat capability against high level threats, including Low Observable aircraft.
Spain’s IPA4 led the trial as the “firer”, while IPA5 as the “cooperator” illuminated the target with its radar active. This trial is the first known testing of its kind and is the first missile firing that Spain has participated in as part of the Eurofighter Typhoon programme, building on their previous flight test work which includes Meteor environmental testing and air-to-ground weapon trials.
The complex test was meticulously planned over several months and involved a large team of experts from across all partner nations as well as the US, who provided support for the exercise. The trial took place at a closed range in Southern Spain using a Mirach drone.
IPA5, the supporting British aircraft flew over from Warton in Lancashire on Thursday 12th March to assist in the trials and recorded a flight of two hours and four minutes non-stop, covering over 1000 miles to reach Moron air base on only two external fuel tanks and without Air Refuelling. IPA4 will now begin an 11 month Lay-up in order to bring the aircraft up to Tranche 2 functionality.
Eurofighter Typhoon is the world's most advanced new generation multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft available on the market and has been ordered by six nations (Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Austria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). With 707 aircraft under contract, it is Europe’s largest military collaborative programme and delivers leading-edge technology, strengthening Europe’s aerospace industry in the global competition. More than 100,000 jobs in 400 companies are secured by the programme. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH manages the programme on behalf of the Eurofighter Partner Companies Alenia Finmeccanica, BAE Systems, EADS CASA and EADS Deutschland, Europe’s foremost aerospace companies with a total turnover of approx. €88 billion (2008).