A Eurofighter flight test campaign dedicated to the configuration chosen by Kuwait, with E-SCAN radar and other important enhancements, is certainly demanding and complex. Mario Mutti, Head of Project Test Pilot Fighters and Standardization of Leonardo’s Aircraft Division, tells us how it is proceeding. Leonardo ISPA 6 (Instrumented Series Production Aircraft) is the most advanced Eurofighter Typhoon test aircraft with E-SCAN radar and it recently joined the other EF Typhoon test aircraft after the successful completion of an important lay-up in November last year.
This challenging programme was completed as planned notwithstanding the difficulties created by the pandemic conditions under which the teams were operating; all flight test points were tested and all the required evidences obtained to provide final clearance on Kuwait’s Typhoon. The tactical advantage given by the radar’s Antenna Repositioner – allows a field of regard 50 per cent wider than conventional E-SCAN fixed plate systems – was clearly evident since the early stages of development. With the above flights, ISPA6 has completed the overall P3Eb Flight Test campaign, which represent a significant step forward to allow the delivery of the Eurofighter to the Kuwait Air Force.
ISPA 6 is one of the three EF Typhoon test aircraft equipped with the Electronic Scan Radar made by the EuroRadar Consortium, led by Leonardo UK in Edinburgh, and it’s currently allocated to the EF/NETMA P3Eb (Eurofighter Consortium/NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency – Phase 3 Enhancements Package b) development programme to perform E-SCAN Entry Into Service flight tests and provide final clearance to the Kuwait customer. After its first flight in the current configuration, at the end of last year, on the 3rd of March ISPA 6 started the so-called “E-SCAN XCR#1” flight test campaign and performed several sorties successfully concluded on the 27th of March.
The first sorties were performed in cooperation with Leonardo’s IPA2 (Instrumented Production Aircraft) test aircraft and the last ones were conducted in cooperation with Eurofighter Typhoons of the Italian Air Force. Recently ISPA 6 has flown to refine ECCM (Electronic Counter-Countermeasures) Radar capabilities, while in the next months will perform final E-SCAN software release certification flights; then will progress flying to test further E-SCAN software capabilities by the end of the year.