Source: Defense News
Eurofighter Typhoon has been tested in a new configuration that significantly improves agility and weapons carrying capability.
Addition of modified fuselage strakes and wing leading edge root extensions as well as other changes are said to have improved lift, angle of attack and roll rate capabilities compared to the standard aircraft. Airbus stated that modifications have improved maximum wing lift by 25%, resulting in an increased turn rate, tighter turning radius and improved nose-pointing ability at low speed.
According to test pilot Raffaele Beltrame, angle of attack value was 45% higher than on a standard aircraft, and roll rates were up to 100% higher. Handling qualities have also improved, providing more maneuverability, agility and precision. As standard aircraft could achieve angle of attack of no more than 70 degrees, this suggests maximum angle of attack of 100 degrees in new configuration, comparable to Rafale, Gripen, F-22 and Flanker series. Roll rate improvement is most significant at high angles of attack, as in that regime control surfaces tend to lose effectiveness due to diminishing air flow unless air flow is reinforced by high-lift devices, such as LERX. Improvement has also increased air-to-ground stores flexibility.
Airbus completed 36 sorties from its Manching, Germany, facility using the IPA7 instrumented production aircraft. None of the Typhoon operators have yet signed up for improvement, which could be included on new production aircraft as well as retrofitted to already produced fighters.
Wing LERX is an aerodynamic device which improves wing lift and response to control inputs at high angles of attack by creating strong vortex flow over the wing. It is already used by F-16, F-18 and Rafale aircraft, and will also be featured on Gripen E/F fighter which is still in development. Rafale and Gripen E/F combine wing LERX with close-coupled canards which have similar effect to LERX itself.