The Eurofighter 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 Eurofighter 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 Eurofighter 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.
All four of the Eurofighter programme's partner nations have test aircraft available, which they are using to test new capabilities on the basis of their development focuses. Cassidian is responsible primarily for the Eurofighter's flight control system, its flight behaviour, radar and fire control systems and infrared sensor.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is the latest and most capable multi-role combat aircraft presently available on the global market. Currently, seven nations (Austria, Germany, Italy, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the UK) have procured the Eurofighter. To date, the Eurofighter fleet has completed more than 170,000 flight hours world-wide, thus making the aircraft the safest and one of the most reliable combat aircraft in operation. With 719 aircraft under contract, 571 orders and over 355 deliveries, the Eurofighter is currently the largest military procurement programme in Europe and, thanks to its advanced technology, strengthens the European aviation industry's position in international competition. The programme also safeguards more than 100,000 jobs at 400 companies and is managed by Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH on behalf of the Eurofighter partner companies Alenia Aermacchi/Finmeccanica, BAE Systems and Cassidian in Germany and Spain.