German Eurofighter: Multi-Role Fighters of the Luftwaffe

German Eurofighter: Multi-Role Fighters of the Luftwaffe

German Eurofighters: Multi-Role Fighters of the Luftwaffe

The Eurofighter is a twin-engine canard-delta wing, multi-role fighter, ideally suited for a swing-role of Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface mission capabilities.

The Eurofighter is collaborative venture by Alenia Aermacchi (Italy), Airbus Group (France) and BAE Systems (UK), and is owned by a consortium of UK, Germany, Spain and Italy.

The Eurofighter’s powerful engines and agile performance make it a formidable dogfighter, while fitted with the latest technology that provides multi/swing-role flexibility.

The Eurofighter is flown by Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria and Saudi Arabia, with a current order placed by Oman and several other countries considering a purchase.

APD takes a look at the Eurofighter’s history with Germany’s Luftwaffe.

Article by Patrick Roegies

Photos by Patrick Roegies (unless noted)

Introduction

The Eurofighter – Typhoon made its first flight in 1994. Soon after, multiple prototypes were manufactured and delivered to the Royal air Force, Spanish Air Force, Italian Air Force and German Air Force. On 9 December 2002 the first Eurofighter for the German Air Force was handed over to the German Ministry of Defense and the German Air Force at Manching. The two-seater, built under construction number GT001, was flown to the Air Force’s Technical Academy 1 at Kaufbeuren in January 2003, there it was used in the training of the first ground crews. Seven additional two-seat Eurofighters were scheduled for delivery by 1 October 2003. Eventually, the initial German Eurofighter entered active service at 30 June 2003.

Eurofighter or Typhoon

In contradiction to the Royal Air Force and the other air forces operating the Eurofighter, the Luftwaffe did not adapt the nickname of the aircraft “Typhoon”. The reason for that is twofold. During World War II the Germans used both an anti-aircraft missile and an aircraft which were baptized with the name “Taifun” or Typhoon in English. Waves of “Taifun” rockets were to be launched at formations of US Army Air Force bombers on their way to their targets during the war. The weapon however never made it to an operational status and none have been deployed during the war. The system however was adapted by the US and the Soviet Union in the further development of anti-aircraft missiles.

Fighter wing conversion

By 1 April 2004 the Luftwaffe received 7 operational Eurofighters. Jagd Geschwader 73 (JG73) received the initial aircraft at 30 April 2004 during an official ceremony.  The first single seat aircraft built under construction number 039/GS001 was delivered to the air force technical school at Kaufbergen on 14 February 2005 and was used to train the technical personnel.

The German Air Force or Luftwaffe took delivery of the Eurofighter in 3 Tranches. During Tranche 1 a total of 33 aircraft were delivered between 2004 and 2008. These aircraft were mainly delivered to Ja JG73 currently renamed to Taktisches Luftwaffen Geschwader 73 (TLG73) Steinhoff based at Laage in the North of Germany. The Wing used to operate the MiG-29 received from the inheritance of the former East German state. After the MiG-29’s were sold to Poland, the squadron operated the F-4 Phantom until the initial Eurofighters arrived in 2003. Initially, the Luftwaffe would receive 15 other aircraft but these aircraft were re-assigned to the Austrian Air Force to promote export and to prevent delays in deliveries. As a result, some of the aircraft allocated to the Austrian Air Force were delivered to the Luftwaffe. Equal to the German government, the Austrian government cancelled a number of aircraft which they originally intended to purchase.

SerialTypeConstruction NumberRemarksFormer Luftwaffe Serial
7L-WAEF2000133/AS00198+40
7L-WBEF2000142/AS00298+41
7L-WCEF2000143/AS00398+42
7L-WDEF2000144/AS00498+43
7L-WEEF2000145/AS00598+44
7L-WFEF2000148/AS00698+45
7L-WGEF2000164/AS007diverted to Germany as 98+08
7L-WGEF2000120/GS02430+37
7L-WHEF2000134/GS02730+41
7L-WHEF2000171/AS008diverted to Germany as 98+09
7L-WIEF2000139/GS02830+43
7L-WIEF2000176/AS009diverted to Germany as 31+16
7L-WJEF2000178/AS010diverted to Germany as 31+17
7L-WJEF2000046/GS00330+08
7L-WKEF2000058/GS00730+13
7L-WKEF2000183/AS011diverted to Germany as 31+18
7L-WLEF2000065/GS00930+16
7L-WLEF2000187/AS012diverted to Germany as 31+19
7L-WMEF2000068/GS01030+18
7L-WMEF2000191/AS013diverted to Germany as 31+20
7L-WNEF2000194/AS014diverted to Germany as 31+21
7L-WNEF2000074/GS01130+19
7L-WOEF2000198/AS015diverted to Germany as 31+22
7L-WOEF2000078/GS01230+21
7L-WPEF2000xxx/AS016part of order which was cancelled
7L-WQEF2000xxx/AS017part of order which was cancelled
7L-WREF2000xxx/AS018part of order which was cancelled
7L-WSEF2000xxx/AS019part of order which was cancelled
7L-WTEF2000xxx/AS020part of order which was cancelled

In 2004, the German government approved the purchase of the Tranche 2 production series Eurofighters. By the end of 2007, the Luftwaffe noted their 3535th flight hour in the Eurofighter. From 2008 forward until 2014, Tranche 2 aircraft were delivered. Tranche 2 comprised 79 aircraft and were delivered to former fighter wing, Jagd Geschwader 74 (JG74), renamed to Taktisches Luftwaffen Geschwader 74 and based at Neuburg in the south of Germany in the province of Bavaria. The squadron traded their F-4 Phantoms for the brand new Eurofighters. The first Eurofighter was delivered to the Wing on 25 July 2006, which marked the end of the F-4 Phantom era. The wing received their last two pair of aircraft at 14 April 2009 and 16 April 2009 which meant the completion of the conversion of JG-74. On 24 November 2009 the 200th Eurofighter built under construction number GS036 appointed serial number 30+51 was handed over to the Luftwaffe at Manching.

The second squadron to be equipped with Tranche 2 aircraft was the “Richthofen” Wing, Taktisches Luftwaffen Gruppe TLGr71. They received their initial Eurofighters after finally withdrawing their final F-4 Phantoms from use in 2013. Deliveries took place until mid-2014 and the conversion was completed by the autumn of 2014.

Tranche 3 was split up in Trance 3a and Tranche 3b. Tranche 3a comprised the delivery of 31 and were mainly appointed to TLG31 “Boelcke” based at Nörvenich . The wing used to operate the Tornado and started their conversion on 16 December 2009 when the former Fighter Bomber Wing Jagd Bomber Geschwader 31, renamed to Taktisches Luftwaffe Geschwader, received their first four Eurofighters. In order to fulfill the fighter bomber task, the Eurofighters were equipped with GBU-48 laser guided bombs and a laser designator pod.  In total, the Wing would receive 35 aircraft. The intended second fighter Bomber unit to start the conversion to the Eurofighter was JBG33 but due to the cancellation of the final 37 Eurofighters the unit based at Buchel and currently operating the Tornado will not receive the Eurofighter and will probably be disbanded when the Tornado is withdrawn from use.

Stepping up

With the increasing operational number of active Eurofighters within the Luftwaffe, the Eurofighter commenced taking over the duties from their “older” predecessors. In January 2008, the Eurofighter from JG74 based at Neuburg took over the Quick Ready Alert tasks initially shared with the F-4 Phantom. In June 2008 the Phantoms were relieved of this task and the Eurofighter took over sole responsibility. On 16 March 2009 the Luftwaffe noted their 10,000th flying hour, which meant the flying hours were tripled in a period of 3 years.

The first deployment to Decimomannu Air Base in Sardinia took place on 5 August 2009. The purpose of this exercise was to exercise air combat maneuvering. On 31 August 2009, the Luftwaffe took their turn in the air policing roll in the Baltics operating the Eurofighters of JG74. This was the first deployment with real adversaries. Already on the  first day of the deployment, the German Eurofighters performed their first live QRA flight and intercepted a Russian Air Force An-72 transport aircraft. On 15 September, the Eurofighters intercepted a A-50 Mainstay and two Su-27 Flankers. In November 2009, the JG74 Eurofighters were relieved by JG71 still operating the Phantom.

Soon after the Luftwaffe Eurofighters participated in all major NATO exercises. In 2012, the first Luftwaffe Eurofighters participated in the exercise Frisian Flag and, later that year, the German Eurofighters of JG74 performed their introduction the Red Flag Alaska exercise.

Setbacks

  • On 15 September 2010 all Luftwaffe Eurofighters were grounded as a result of an assumed potential problem with the ejection seats after an accident in which two Spanish Air Force Eurofighters were involved.
  • One Eurofighter operated by JG74 lost two drop tanks during flight.
  • 23 June 2014 A German Eurofighter collided in mid-air with a civil aircraft. This marked the first accident in which a German Eurofighter was involved.

Serial Number Overview 

Serial Number Subtypec/n
30+01EF-2000TGT-0001/007
30+02EF-2000TGT-0002/009
30+03EF-2000TGT-0003/012
30+04EF-2000TGT-0004/018
30+05EF-2000TGT-0005/021
30+06EF-2000GS-0001/039
30+07EF-2000GS-0002/040
30+08EF-2000GS-0003/046
30+09EF-2000GS-0004/048
30+10EF-2000TGT-006/024
30+11EF-2000GS-0005/052
30+12EF-2000GS-0006/056
30+13EF-2000GS-0007/058
30+14EF-2000TGT-007/027
30+15EF-2000GS-0008/061
30+16EF-2000GS-0009/065
30+17EF-2000TGT-0008/029
30+18EF-2000GS-0010/068
30+19EF-2000GS-0011/074
30+20EF-2000TGT-0009/072
30+21EF-2000GS-0012/078
30+22EF-2000GS-0013/081
30+23EF-2000GS-0014/088
30+24EF-2000TGT-0010/084
30+25EF-2000GS-0015/090
30+26EF-2000GS-0016/095
30+27EF-2000TGT-0011/098
30+28EF-2000GS-0017/100
30+29EF-2000GS-0018/104
30+30EF-2000GS-0019/106
30+31EF-2000TGT-0012/110
30+32EF-2000GS-0020/114
30+33EF-2000GS-0021/116
30+34EF-2000GS-0022
30+35EF-2000TGT-0013/126
30+36EF-2000GS-0023
30+37EF-2000GS-0024/124
30+38EF-2000TGT-0014/136
30+39EF-2000GS-0025/123
30+40EF-2000GS-0026/130
30+41EF-2000GS-0027/134
30+42EF-2000TGT-0015/146
30+43EF-2000GS-0028/139
30+44EF-2000GS-0029/151, flies with the number 98+07
30+45EF-2000GS-0030/153
30+46EF-2000GS-0031
30+47EF-2000GS-0032/161
30+48EF-2000GS-0033
30+49EF-2000GS-0034
30+50EF-2000GS-0035
30+51EF-2000GS-0036
30+52EF-2000GS-0037
30+53EF-2000GS-0038
30+54EF-2000TGT-0016
30+55EF-2000GS-0039
30+56EF-2000GS-0040
30+57EF-2000GS-0041
30+58EF-2000GS-0042
30+59EF-2000TGT-0017
30+60EF-2000GS-0043
30+61EF-2000GS-0044
30+62EF-2000GS-0045
30+63EF-2000GS-0046
30+64EF-2000GS-0047
30+65EF-2000GS-0048
30+66EF-2000GS-0049
30+67EF-2000TGT-0018
30+68EF-2000GS-0050
30+69EF-2000GS-0051
30+70EF-2000GS-0052
30+71EF-2000TGT-0019
30+72EF-2000GS-0053
30+73EF-2000GS-0054
30+74EF-2000GS-0055
30+75EF-2000GS-0056
30+76EF-2000GS-0057
30+77EF-2000TGT-0020
30+78EF-2000GS-0058
30+79EF-2000GS-0059
30+80EF-2000GS-0060
30+81EF-2000GS-0061
30+82EF-2000GS-0062
30+83EF-2000GS-0063
30+84EF-2000TGT-0021
30+85EF-2000GS-0064
30+86EF-2000GS-0065
30+87EF-2000GS-0066
30+88EF-2000GS-0067
30+89EF-2000GS-0068
30+90EF-2000GS-0069
30+91EF-2000GS-0070
30+92EF-2000GS-0071
30+93EF-2000GS-0072
30+94EF-2000GS-0073
30+95EF-2000TGT-0022
30+96EF-2000GS-0074
30+97EF-2000GS-0075
30+98EF-2000GS-0076
30+99EF-2000TGT-0023
31+00EF-2000GS-0077
31+01EF-2000GS-0078
31+02EF-2000GS-0079
31+03EF-2000TGT-0024
31+04EF-2000GS-0080
31+05EF-2000GS-0081
31+06EF-2000GS-0082
31+07EF-2000GS-0083
31+08EF-2000GS-0084
31+09EF-2000GS-0085
31+10EF-2000GS-0086
31+11EF-2000GS-0087
31+12EF-2000GS-0088
31+13EF-2000TGT-0025
31+14EF-2000GS AS.0007/164
31+15EF-2000GS AS.0008/171
31+16EF-2000GS AS.0009/176
31+17EF-2000GS AS.0010//178
31+18EF-2000GS AS.0011/183
31+19EF-2000GS AS.0012/187
31+20EF-2000GS AS.0013/191
31+21EF-2000GS AS.0014/194
31+22EF-2000AS.0015/198

A technical guide on the Eurofighter can be found HERE (Courtesy of Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH)

Featured Image: A German Air Force single-seat Eurofighter over Lithuania as part of NATO policing of the Baltic States. The aircraft is from JG-74 from Neuburg, Germany and has IRIS-T missiles and drop tank. | Copyright Eurofighter- Photographer: Geoffrey Lee, Planefocus Ltd

 

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Patrick Roegies

Patrick Roegies is born and raised in Tilburg, the Netherlands and currently resides in Sittard in the south of the Netherlands where he lives with his wife Joyce. Patrick graduated from a technical study at the HTS in Tilburg in 1997. He currently works as a head of an equipment engineering department in the south of the Netherlands.


His passion towards aviation started at the age of 7 in 1977 when his father took him to nearby Gilze Rijen Air Force base where he witnessed his first howling F-104 Starfighters which were practicing and as a result he got addicted immediately. The F-104’s were present in order to determine a tactic to create a diversion for the “train highjack” which was going on in the Netherlands at that time. The F-104’s were meant to create a diversion by performing an overshoot, kicking in the afterburner directly over the train, creating confusion with the hijackers and enabling the police to master the hijackers. This action has actually been performed and worked.


This is when his passion towards aviation was born. He got permission from his parents to visit the airbase every free hour he had and his father showed him the way by bicycle. Patrick got his first camera in 1984 which was a Canon T50 and shot Kodachrome 64 slides of mainly military aircraft. He changed his gear in the mid-nineties to Nikon and is a Nikon user ever since.


When Patrick obtained his driver license in 1989 he started to visit airbases all over Europe and from 1997 onwards he made worldwide visits to military airbases.


In order to further professionalize his work as an aviation photographer and journalist he started to write military aviation related articles based upon his visits to various nations and their Air Forces. He managed to publish his first article in 2003 and increased the numbers of publications every year.


Patrick can be reached at: [email protected]


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