The Eurofighter is offering India the opportunity to acquire a new version of its Typhoon for use from a future indigenous aircraft carrier, with the first firm details of the proposal having emerged at the show.
One of six contenders battling for the Indian air force's 126-aircraft medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal, Eurofighter is here touting the potential of a navalised development which has already been studied in detail in the UK.
"If Typhoon wins MMRCA then India will have the indigenous skills to develop a navalised version," says Paul Hopkins, BAE Systems' vice-president business development (air) India. "This is a perfect opportunity for the nation to add aircraft with both land and sea capabilities."
Being shown in model form for the first time this week, the European type would receive several new features to support its proposed life at sea. These include a new, stronger landing gear, a modified arrestor hook and thrust-vectoring control nozzles for its two Eurojet EJ200 turbofan engines. The latter would enable the fighter to approach the vessel at a reduced speed without restricting pilot vision by requiring an increased angle of attack.
Eurofighter says only localised strengthening would be required on some fuselage sections near the landing gear, and to the EJ200. Conformal fuel tanks could also be integrated with the airframe to extend the strike aircraft's range.
Video footage being shown in the Eurofighter and BAE exhibit areas includes recent simulation-based imagery of tests made using adapted flight control software and new engine modelling. Sporting Indian navy markings, the navalised Typhoon is depicted taking off from a deck space similar to that aboard the ex-Russian navy aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, which is now being modified for Indian use.