Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NOTE TO WORLD NAVIES - CANCEL F-35, BUY NAVAL TYPHOON. NOTE TO MODEL MAKERS - HERE’S A GREAT KIT-BASH OPPORTUNITY


SMN report
Eurofighter has released details of its proposed navalised Typhoon jet, and a glance at the details makes it seem the answer to a defence planner’s budget problems. The basic aircraft is already in service and proven, the development cost would be far less than a clean-sheet design, and best of all, there’s enough power from the two EJ200 engines to allow carrier takeoffs using a ski-jump - no catapult equipment needed.

Typhoon-N to replace the F-35?
For the UK’s Royal Navy, the Typhoon-N looks particularly interesting. The lift-fan F-35 has been cancelled already, to be replaced by the standard catapult-launched version. So here’s a way to cut out the F-35 completely, and keep the cost of new aircraft carriers down as well, for ski-jump installation and operations are far cheaper than using catapults. Commonality between Typhoon and Typhoon-N has another benefit too - maintenance ought to work out cheaper, from flight and technical training to the supply and cost of spares.



A Typhoon for kit-bashers
For model makers the Typhoon-N looks a very interesting project indeed, and a not too difficult job either. The main changes are longer undercarriage legs to soak up the shock of heavy deck landings, an arrester hook, and nozzle extensions to replicate the proposed thrust-vectoring EJ200 exhausts. Eurofighter’s pictures also show conformal fuel tanks either side of the upper fuselage, so they will add visual appeal to the model. 


Possible markings
On paint schemes, it’s your choice as the Typhoon-N is a paper plane at the moment. India is a target customer, and the top picture shows the aircraft in Indian Navy markings. Britain’s cash-strapped Royal Navy is a possible customer, for EFA’s proposal looks a no-brainer, at least for serious consideration. The Aeronavale (French Navy) flies the Dassault Rafale-M, but might be interested in the cost savings of a future ski-jump carrier. The Spanish Navy flies Harrier V/STOL aircraft from the Principe de Asturias, so could be a future Typhoon-N customer. The US Navy and Marine Corps are unlikely buyers, but a  Typhoon-N display model would look great dressed in the stars and stripes!

There are plenty of kits out there - we showed the Revell 1:32 scale offering recently, and here it is again, though finished in non-naval Luftwaffe markings. The detail pic shows the existing main gear, which needs lengthening to allow for the extra extension necessary for high rate-of-descent carrier landings.  



More details and a hi-res pdf download of the cutaway at Eurofighter here.

SMN article on Revell Typhoons here.

Typhoon kits are available here