Germany has placed an order for 38 new Tranche 4 Eurofighter EF2000 Typhoon fighters for its air force. The contract was signed by Miguel Ángel Martín Pérez, general manager of the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) acting on behalf of the German government, and Eurofighter CEO Herman Claesen. The contract follows budgetary approval from the Bundestag (German parliament), which was signed off on November 5.
The Luftwaffe will receive the new Typhoons under the Quadriga project, which was outlined in 2019. Eight of them will be two-seaters. Three of the aircraft will be delivered as Instrumented Test Aircraft, suitably equipped to permit them to undertake trials in support of further Eurofighter developments. The total of 38 Tranche 4s represents the exercising of an option for five aircraft above the baseline requirement for 33.
Germany is buying the multi-role Quadriga aircraft to replace the Luftwaffe’s Tranche 1 aircraft and to make good the attrition of two aircraft. The Tranche 1 machines are only capable of air defense duties, and are not able to be updated to later equipment standards. The fleet is aging and suffering from a lack of spare parts, many of which are no longer produced. In consequence, many aircraft are grounded to act as “Christmas tree” spares sources for the remaining active machines.
Eurofighter projects a service life lasting until “well beyond 2060” for the new-build Tranche 4 aircraft. They are due to be delivered from 2024 with the active electronically scanned array (AESA) European Common Radar System (ECRS) Mk1, which has been developed by Hensoldt. This radar is also to be retrofitted to Luftwaffe Tranche 2 and 3 aircraft and also to those of Spain, with a total of around 130 Eurofighters due to be upgraded.
“Quadriga comes at a strategic moment for everyone involved,” said NETMA’s Pérez. “First of all, it will reinforce the air defense not only of the German air force but also within the NATO environment, and secondly, it underpins the possibilities of the program to succeed in further export opportunities. Finally, it will also support the European aerospace industry and it is a very important step towards building a bridge to the future fighter programs of our core nations.”
2021 is an important year for Eurofighter, with decisions expected for new fighters from Finland, Spain and Switzerland, all of which are seeking Hornet replacements. The Quadriga configuration is the same as that being offered to Switzerland. Germany has also announced that it will order more Eurofighters beyond the Quadriga buy as part of a two-type solution to its Tornado replacement requirement.