An Eurofighter 2000 Project overview - Italian related activities                                                  home page

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Since the beginning a member of the original Eurofighter consortium, Italy followed step by step the development of the project. The Eurofighter definition phase started in 1985, but later - following the end of the Warsaw Pact - the whole project had to be re-defined.  After some tecnical modifications, in fact, the project was re-designated Eurofighter 2000 (EF 2000). Later in 1999 the project got again the name of Eurofighter. The four NATO European governments, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain, decided to establish in Munich (RFG) an International Agency (initially NEFMA and now NETMA) to manage the day to day relationships with the Industrial consortium.

Since the beginning of the 1980s, Italy needed to find a new fighter. The Italian requirement was initially fixed in 165 aircraft, but later, with the definition of reduced defence budgets and a downsized air force, the number was lowered to 130, then reduced to the probable final number of 121, plus nine options.

In the Eurofighter consortium, the Italian EPC (Eurofighter Partner Company) for Italy is Alenia, which at the beginning was given a participation work share of 21%, then reduced to 19.5%. In the production phase, Alenia manufactures the port wing and the rear fuselage, the latter in collaboration with the Spanish CASA.

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In the development phase, Alenia was given the responsibility to assemble two of the seven Eurofighter prototypes. The first (DA3 - military test serial number M.M. X-602) was the very first to fly with the EJ.200 engines, and was assigned to the integration of the definitive power plant and to armament tests, both gun fire and external stores release. The second Italian prototype (DA7 - M.M. X-603), was assigned to armament integration and performances verification tests.

Alenia had also the System Design Responsibility for the Armament and Navigation sub-systems, for the Secondary Power System and for the Utility Control System.

Other industries involved in the program are (names at the time of the Development contract):

*  Aerea (contributing with the Advanced Heavy/Light Duty Ejector Release Unit, the Missile Ejector Launcher, the Rail Beam for Integrated Tip Stub Pylon Launcher, the Tank Ejector unit, and the Multi Function Rail Launcher),

*  Aermacchi (with wing-fuselage fillets; engine cowlings; tip camera pod; inboard, center, stub and outboard pylons; twin store carrier; and twin missile carrier), SICAMB (of the Aermacchi Group, participating with the licence production of the Martin-Baker Mk.16A ejection seat),

*  Elettronica (with a share of 42% in the whole design of the Defensive Aids Sub-System - including ECM/ESM, MAW),

*  Elettronica Aster (with Chaff & Flares),

*  Marconi Genova (Microwave Landing System and future Multi Mode Receiver),

*  Elmer (with the Crash Survivable Memory Unit),

*  MID (with the IFF and MIDS Interface Unit)

*  FIAR (with the power emitter of the ECR-90 radar and prime-contractor of the Pirate Infra-Red Search and Track equipment),

*  Marelli Avio (with the APU Generator, Ignition Unit, Main Electric Generator, and Emergency Electric Generator),

*  Litton Italia (with the Inertial Laser Navigation System LN93EF, the Inertial Reference Unit for Flight Automatic Control and GPS-Upgradeable LRI),

*  Magnaghi (prime contractor for the Hydraulic Accumulators and Tanks, and actuators of the air intake), and

*  Microtecnica (different minor components).

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In the Eurojet consortium, destined to design and build the new EJ.200 turbofan reheated engine for the aircraft, the Italian prime contractor is FIAT Avio (having the same 19.5% share), which is responsible for the gearbox, the oil pumps, the low pressure turbine, the low pressure turbine shaft and all the afterburner. In the development phase, FIAT has also produced the Turbine Exit Casing.

In Italy, the Eurofighter program secured about 2,000 highly qualified jobs in the sole development phase; this figure should rise about 5 to 10 times in the full production phase. 


Flight activities

First flight of an Italian Eurofighter occurred at Turin-Caselle on June 4th, 1995, while the second prototype followed on January 27, 1997, being the fifth Eurofighter to get airborne.

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These two aircraft have been committed with several tests activity, from the home Alenia facility at Turin-Caselle, and from the Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, to take advantage of the near Perdasdefogu instrumentated range, for weapons and external loads delivery. Since the beginning, the flying tests have been carried out by Alenia test pilots as well as Italian Air Force test pilots, of the 311‹ Gruppo, Reparto Sperimentale Volo, which have been following all the project since the design phase, working in team with the industry, and with the other air forces test units.



On September 3rd, 1998 the Eurofighter received its official name for the export market: Typhoon.

In the 1998-1999 period, the Production Investments and Production contracts have been finalised, and the order of the first Eurofighter Tranche was placed. They will be 148 aircraft into 2 Batches, divided into: 55 to the United Kingdom, 44 to Germany, 29 to Italy and 20 to Spain.

The total Eurofighter 2000 Italian production order, probably 121 aircraft (plus options), should be delivered in a period of 15 years.

First delivery has occurred to all participating Nations, and subsequent aircraft should be delivered in first Tranche (as described above), second Tranche and third Tranche, to be completed around 2020 (estimate).

The first five aircraft were the IPAs (Instrumented Production Aircraft), series samples equipped with test instruments.



Even if the Eurofighter should be finally capable to perform as a multi-role fighter, currently the main interest for Italy is the air superiority role, as the new aircraft will replace only the F-104S ASA and Tornado ADV F.3 interceptor fighters.  

The first service arrived at Grossetofs 4‹Stormo wing. The Eurofighter will probably equip six squadrons in three wings, Grosseto, Gioia del Colle and Trapani.  



Of course, export marketing of the Typhoon is under way, and serious contacts are already in progress with several governments interested in the aircraft. An export company have been settled, called gEurofighter Internationalh. 



The Eurofighter Programme is one of the biggest development, PI and production programme that  Europe ever faced, also compared to the civil investments. Of course, as all the programmes, it suffers of a number of problems, but they are constantly under the control of the technical, programme and senior boards.

Some delays were introduced as a result of political and economic reasons, mainly derived by the end of the Cold War and by the need to re-affirm the aircraft as being appropriate for todayfs operational scenarios.  

The delivery of the IPAs and of the first service aircraft  in 2003 mark an event and will take our Nations into the third millennium operating with a new generation fighter.


Personal consideration 

In my opinion the real differences between the other contemporary aircraft and the Eurofighter are:

*  The MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System), that will provide to the pilot a complete set of synthetic information indicating identification, position, velocity and other data of each platform belonging to the allied and enemy forces. This will ease a lot the pilot life, allowing him to better concentrate on his main mission target;

*  The agility and its sensor/weapons fusion concept. Eurofighter was the first one. Only the F22 and the Eurofighter have integrated the MIDS in the avionics system since the beginning of the design, and this will make the difference with respect to other aircraft that use the MIDS as a stand alone equipment.

*  The European Radar and FLIR and the integration of a full European  medium and short range A/A missiles (Meteor & Iris-T) and a fairly good set of A/G weapons.

For these main reasons, I personally consider that the Eurofighter will be a competitive aircraft for our future joint, allied and European activities. 



T.Col. G.A.r.n. Pennarola Ing. Maurizio


Il T.Col. G.A.r.n. Pennarola Ing. Maurizio ef nato a Taranto il 31 maggio 1962.  

Arruolato in qualitaf di Allievo Ufficiale dellf Aeronautica Militare Italiana nel 1980 (Corso Zodiaco 3‹) , si ef laureato in Ingegneria presso il Politecnico di Napoli ed in Scienze Politiche presso lfUniversitaf di Trieste.


Esperienza tecnico-logistica:

·         Assegnato nel 1987 al 53‹ Stormo Caccia "G. Chiarini" di Cameri (Novara), 1‹ Reparto Manutenzione Velivoli Tornado, ricopre inizialmente gli incarichi di Ufficiale addetto alla Manutenzione Meccanica della Direzione Lavori Meccanica e Capo Sezione SILI (Sistema Informativo Logistico Integrato).

·         Consegue tanto la qualifica di Supervisore alla Manutenzione Meccanica quanto la qualifica di Supervisore alla Manutenzione Avionica del velivolo Tornado.

·         Cura lfimplementazione delle modifiche Avioniche al Tornado gLocustah durante la Guerra del Golfo, in qualitaf di Capo Sezione Tecnica Avionica della Direzione Tecnica.

·         Successivamente propone ed implementa, in qualitaf di Capo Ufficio Programmazione della Direzione Tecnica, modifiche ordinative ed organiche alla struttura del Reparto allo scopo di migliorarne lfefficienza.

·         Implementa nel settore della gestione delle Scorte e dei Materiali Critici nuovi programmi informatici sviluppati localmente, capaci di automatizzare attivitaf onerose in precedenza svolte manualmente.

·         Collabora alla stesura della pianificazione decennale di aggiornamento configurativo della flotta considerando tra gli obiettivi primari il riallineamento dello scalamento della flotta stessa.

Prima esperienza internazionale:

·         Assegnato alla NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) di Monaco di Baviera nel 1996, ricopre lfincarico di responsabile, per conto delle quattro Nazioni partecipanti al programma, del sottosistema di Navigazione dellf EF2000.

·         Riveste, inoltre, lfincarico di responsabile per la produzione del MIDS, apparato di comunicazioni bordo terra di ultima generazione sviluppato e prodotto nellfambito di un programma di cooperazione internazionale. In tali vesti egli è il primo Ufficiale Ingegnere dello Zodiaco*** a lavorare sull' EF2000 presso la NETMA.   

Esperienza tecnico-amministrativa:

·        Ef stato trasferito nel 2000 alla Direzione Generale delle Telecomunicazioni (TELEDIFE) con sede a Roma, ove ha seguito quale Capo Sezione Ricerca e Sviluppo i programmi di sviluppo internazionali dei sistemi di comunicazione, MIDS e Link 16 e di identificazione, New Generation IFF nei quali lfItalia ef leader tecnologico mondiale.

·        Dal 2002 è stato nominato Capo Sezione Comando e Controllo, seguendo circa 60 contratti di sviluppo delle tre Forze Armate e progetti internazionali.

Seconda esperienza internazionale:

·         Assegnato alla NATO MEADS Management Agency (NAMEADSMA) di Huntsville, Alabama, Stati Uniti, nel 2004, ricopre lfincarico di responsabile, per conto delle tre Nazioni partecipanti al programma, del Controllo di Configurazione del Sistema MEdium range Air Defence System (MEADS), proponendo ed implementando innovative procedure internazionali.

·         Ricopre dal 2006 lfincarico di responsabile del Multi Functional Fire Control Radar, la componente a sviluppo tecnologico piuf complessa e costosa degli elementi del Sistema, ed unico Major End Item del MEADS sviluppato in Italia.


·        Nel 2001, nel grado di Tenente Colonnello, ha frequentato il Primo Corso Comando presso la SGA di Firenze, classificandosi primo del corso.

·        Nel 2002  ha frequentato lfISSMI presso il CASD di Roma, classificandosi in prima fascia.


Sposato con la signora Franca, ha due figli, Federica nata nel 1992, ed Alessandro, nato nel 2005.