What’s happening to the Eurofighter Typhoon? Do we need a replacement, and who’s going to build it?

In this article, What does the future hold for Eurofighter Typhoon?, Air Force Technology suggest that it’s design is old, and that the older versions are being retired; they argue that the Tempest programme is an upgrade programme and does not aim to produce a 6th generation warplane see also here. They argue that the reality is that the RAF have nor prioritised air superiority and the the mix of Typhoons and F35 Lightenings do not provide an appropriate platform for Air Defence and that the RAF crew are not trained or practised, arguably thankfully, for air combat against an advanced air force. However wikipedia believes that the BAE Tempest is to be a 6th Generation fighter. This is to be built by a British, Italian and Japanese consortium. The government commitment to the plane is reported here by Lisa West of the UK Defence Journal.

Does it need replacement, I wrote this, in my review of the 2020 white paper,

On ground attack warplanes, do we need a new one? The Jaguar lasted 32 years and its replacement,  the first eurofighter Tornado was retired in 2018 and we are now using Typhoons, first launched in 1994, so over 25 years old although the last one was delivered to the RAF in 2019. Here is an Australian’s analysis, called “Demon or Lemon”; he comes down in the middle but definitely not a Lemon in 2000, whether it’s so in 2020 is another question and it wasn’t designed as a ground attack plane.

I found a video on the Typhoon vs the F22 (a 5th Gen warplane); the Eurofighters involved were German.

The video’s TLDR summary is that in a limited number of circumstances, outside the F22’s role design, the German Eurofighters outperformed the F22 in a “dog fight” i.e. air superiority combat engagement. These exercises were undertaken in 2012.

A report by Martin Banks of Defence News, on the Warsaw Institute’s report dated 2020, states that the UK’s departure from the EU will reduce the EUs collective capability but the UK’s absence from the institutions will remove the UK’s brake on EU co-operation which it applied in favour of NATO. The news article states,

The predicted consequences of Brexit for the British army and U.K.’s defense sector are more harmful and long-lasting than those expected to be felt by the EU.

Martin Banks, Defence News, May 2020.

Here is Deloitte’s take on the issue, dated 2019. This interestingly comprehensive and focuses on mitigating the risks of leaving the single market and the EU’s funding programmes.

I started looking at this to see what the Brexit effect on jobs would be for aerospace industry as I expected the UK to be excluded from the Eurofighter consortium; it seems that it has a future although there are now two consortia building a European warplane which will jeopardise the size of the order book. The comments of UKDJ on how the economics of war production may jeopardise military collaboration may come to pass. I also note that they are not shipping any more Typhoons so the production jobs have already gone.

I also found this, 5th Gen Fighters, Stealthy & Lethal from SPS Aviation, dated 2017, which shows the US dominance in 5th gen fighters. It might be a bit ambitious to look to leapfrog them, especially when we are buy their systems anyway.

What is the difference between 5th & 6th generation, I found this on google,

Sixth Generation Fighters are the currently conceptual new generation of fighter aircraft, which are expected to be operational in the 2030-2050 timeframe, in comparison to the current Fifth Generation Fighters they will be superior in terms of speed, range, stealth and self-healing structures.


Simon Whistler, in a Mega-Projects channel video looks at the USAF NGAD program and offers a definition of the 6th Generation fighters, which includes stealth, collaborative engagement capability (drone control), AI, laser beams, unmanned operation and [much] better engines.

This video looks at the worlds warplanes by generation,

Do we have enough? Who can tell but this page documents the number of fighter planes by country, the UK is 20th. Here is a chart, an excel filled map, who knew you could do that?

Some queries I ran in making this page,

And also of interest but probably outdated, is this 1999 defence select committee report.

BAe recognises three unions including Unite and the GMB.

Obviously Ukraine is asking for F15/F16 planes to combat the Russian Su35s. This article illustrates the need, or not, for these planes.

Dave Politics , ,

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