The Eurofighter Typhoon benefits from a number of advances in technology and engineering. The aircraft makes extensive use of composites in the airframe with only 15% of the surface comprising metal. The newly developed EJ200 powerplants combined with the aircraft's aerodynamics allow it to cruise supersonically without the use of reheat for extended periods of time even with a normal weapons load. The advanced flight control system and pitch unstable design impart great manoeuvrability at high and low speeds. These, combined with; cutting edge automated defences, advanced active and passive sensors, leading cockpit ergonomics and a reduced RCS instil Eurofighter with more than an even chance of success against most competing aircraft.
Beyond present and near-future threats a key feature of Eurofighter development has been a committment to future enhancement of all its systems, the so called Capability Enhancement Programme. Most of the aircrafts systems are specifically designed to be easily swapped out and replaced in future years. This should enable the Typhoon to remain competitive as improvements in technology and reductions in cost allow the fitting of more advanced equipment. Many of these potential system upgrades are covered on this site.
The Eurofighter project has been subject to several operational evaluations. These have been carried out, independently from the Eurofighter consortium, primarily by Britain's DERA, the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (now split into QinetiQ and DSTL). Unlike many previous theoretical operational capability studies, the Eurofighter analysis utilised a true simulation approach. This was achieved through a number of networked battle simulation computers, termed JOUST, each of which can be flown by human pilots.
This system was used to comprehensively evaluate the BVR (Beyond Visual Range) performance of the Eurofighter and other aircraft against an upgraded Su-27 Flanker (comparable to an Su-35 Super Flanker and its equivalents). The studies investigated all aspect best performances from the major systems on each aircraft; avionics, structure (including RCS data), engine performance (including fuel usage), defences and man-machine interfaces. In these tests the French Rafale utilised the Matra-BAe MICA air to air missile (which is the primary AA weapon of the French airforce) while the other aircraft used the Raytheon-Hughes AMRAAM.
These simulations concluded that Eurofighter has a win rating of 82% (100% equals always win, 0% equals always lose, 50% equals parity) against the target aircraft. A more typical way to present this data is as a combat exchange ratio, for the Typhoon this equals 4.5:1. In other words statistically one Eurofighter would be lost for every 4.5 Su-35 fighters shot down. This compares extremely favourably to the other aircraft (see also the BVR Combat Rating table); F-16C Falcon (0.3:1), F-15C Eagle (0.8:1), F-18C Hornet (0.3:1), F-18+ (0.4:1, NB this is not the current F-18E/F which is apparently a downgraded version of the F-18+ used in the studies) and Dassault Rafale (1:1). Only the LM/Boeing F-22 Raptor bettered the Eurofighter's performance with a combat exchange ratio of 10.1:1.
In addition to these overall combat performance results a number of individual comparisons have been made available. Of enormous importance for BVR combat is acceleration at medium altitudes and here the Eurofighter's acceleration at Mach 0.9 and 22,000ft equals that of the F-22. At supersonic velocities (Mach 1.6 and 36,000ft) the sustained turn rate of the Eurofighter betters all but the F-22, while its instantaneous turn rate is superior to the F-22. At low altitudes, Eurofighter can accelerate from 200kts to Mach 1.0 in under 30 seconds. In a similar vain to its supersonic performance, the sustained and instantaneous subsonic turn rates of the Eurofighter are bettered only by the F-22. Only the Rafale comes close to the matching the Eurofighter's capabilities in these comparisons.
An important point to keep in mind when examining this data is that full details on the simulations have not been released. Without this information it is not possible to determine whether Eurofighter optimal profiles were examined at the expense of more varied combat missions. However these studies do give some indication as to the potential of the Typhoon.
When selecting a fighter aircraft national airforces have to compare and contrast numerous criteria; technological, operational and political. This section gives you some idea of how changing the basic requirements of a fighter can effect the selection process. Of course in practice a fighter is chosen on more than some simple estimation of performance of a few key indicators. The recent South Korean process is a good example of how other factors can override any decision based purely on technical and compatibility grounds.
Please note the method of defining each aircrafts capability for a given criteria is purely empirical, being manually estimated from available data, reports and other factors. We bear no responsbility should a national airforce use this application to select their fighter aircraft!
As you can see, even a simple analysis can result in some significant differences in the selection depending on which criteria are important in a given situation. This also shows that while the Typhoon does not typically dominate in any one area it does compare well when looking at swing role operations, i.e. combinations of both air to air and air to ground operations. This is particularly true when cost is also considered.
The following tables detail some basic performance data. It should however be remembered that all of these figures are drawn from anticipated/expected performances as required by contractual obligations. At this time much of this data has been verified or indeed surpassed. The range data in particular though should be considered approximate rather than final.
 : BAE Systems, Warton, UK