It may seem a little premature to be discussing squadron service for an aircraft which is yet to be delivered. However preparations are already under way in all four consortium nations to convert to the Eurofighter when it arrives. Below are details on when, where and how Eurofighter will enter service listed by country.
In the UK the MoD and RAF have announced that the Eurofighter will replace the Tornado F.3 Air Defence Variant in operational use since the mid-80's. However the F.3 (recently upgraded to carry AMRAAM and ASRAAM) will remain in service till at least 2010 as squadrons slowly convert to the Eurofighter. This is likely to cause a number of logistical problems with both the F.3 and Eurofighter being operated from the same location. There will also be problems with maintaining enough front line pilots since increasing numbers will be converting to the Typhoon. The MoD is currently examining solutions to both these problems. In addition to the F.3 the Jaguar will also be replaced post-2010 by ground-attack roled Eurofighter's. According to the MoD there are no plans to sell, lease or store any of the Jaguar or Tornado F.3's being replaced by Eurofighter, therefore they will most likely be scrapped or sold to private collectors.
The Royal Air Force is scheduled to receive its first Eurofighter in late 2002. This will be the first hand over of a Typhoon to a consortium nations air force. This will be based at BAE Systems Warton Aerodrome which will play home to the RAF's Operational Evaluation Unit (OEU) and its 12 pilots. BAE's Warton site has played a leading role in Eurofighter development and offers all the facilities an evaluation unit may require. In 2004 the OEU will be replaced with a full Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) based at RAF Coningsby. In December 2000 the RAF announced that the OEU will be No. 17 Squadron (disbanded in 1995 flying Tornado GR.1's) while the OCU will be No. 29 Squadron (disbanded in 1998 flying Tornado F.3's). This will be the first time since 1944 that an OEU will take a squadron numberplate. At present eight experienced RAF pilots are drawing up Eurofighter tactics manuals at RAF Waddington.
At present Coningsby houses training facilities for Eurofighter conversion in the form of 8 networked JOUST simulators (4 in each of two rooms known as red and blue). It is expected that these facilities will be expanded and upgraded to cope with the greater demands of training operational squadron pilots. Currently 56(R) Squadron are housed in the building at Coningsby which will become the OCU, therefore 56(R) Squadron will be moved to RAF Leuchars. Here they will continue to fly the F.3 as an OCU, ramping down as demand for F.3 conversion dwindles.
In 2004 the first squadron pilots at RAF Coningsby will convert to flying Eurofighter. This first squadron will enter service in January 2005 and become operational later that year. After Coningsby the next base to gain Eurofighter will be RAF Leeming. Two squadrons will convert to Eurofighter here between 2006 and 2008. Currently 11 and 25 Squadrons are flying F.3's at this base. The final three squadrons will be formed at RAF Leuchars from 2008 to 2010. Leuchars is currently home to 111 and 43 Squadrons again flying Tornado F.3's. In addition the 56(R) Squadron F.3 OCU which will have moved from Coningsby.
Beyond commitments to replacing the F.3 fleet the RAF will eventually replace its Jaguar squadrons. Currently 16 Squadron based at Lossiemouth and 6, 54 and 41 Squadrons based at Coltishall operate around fifty four Jaguars in various guises. These will all be replaced by Eurofighter's to be delivered between 2010 and 2014.
In total 137 Eurofighter's will in front line active service with the RAF spread amongst seven squadrons the OCU and OEU. Each squadron will also have one reserve aircraft while the OCU will have two. The remaining aircraft will act as attrition and storage reserves.
The Luftwaffe will receieve 180 Eurofighter Typhoon's (Taifun in German) between now and 2014. All of the aircraft from Tranches 1 and 2 will be used to replace the MiG-29's (in service since the West and East German forces united) and the F-4ICE Phantom II's. After 2010 the last Tranche of Typhoon's will be in at least part used to replace a number of ground attack Tornado IDS platforms.
Germany will receive the third production model classified IPA3 due off the production lines a short time after the UK's IPA1. As with DERA's model, this IPA will serve as a final testbed and integration aircraft with the German flight test centre and EADS (DASA).
The present air combat role within the Luftwaffe is fulfilled primarily by the highly modifed F-4ICE Phantom II and a smaller number of MiG-29's. These form four squadrons; JG71 "Richthofen" flying F-4's based at Wittmundhaven, JG72 "Westfalen" also flying F-4's based at Hopsten, JG73 "Steinhoff" flying both F-4's and MiG-29's based at Laage and JG74 "Mölders" flying F-4's based at Neuburg/Donau. There is also a permanent Luftwaffe training detachment flying Tornado's and F-4's based at Holloman Air Base, New Mexico, USA. The ground attack role is filled by the Interdictor Strike (IDS) Tornado, deployed in three fighter bomber (Jagdbombergeschwader or JaboG) squadrons; JaboG 31 "Boelke" at Nörvenich, JaboG 33 at Büchel and JaboG 38. Two squadrons of specialised Tornados are also deployed in the reconnaisance and electronic warfare roles.
The planned service entry dates, locations and squadrons to recieve the Eurofighter are; January 2003 through 2005 JG73 at Laage, Late 2005 through 2007 JG74 based at Neuburg/Donau, Early 2007 through 2010 JaboG 31 at Nörvenich (as a multi-role wing), Mid 2010 through 2012 JG71 based at Wittmund and finally 2012 through 2015 JaboG 33 at Büchel (as a multi-role wing).
The Italian Airforce Areonautica Militare Italina AMI have an urgent need to replace 130 obsolete F-104S ASA Starfighter's. As a stop-gap measure the British Government leased 24 RAF Tornado F.3 (Air Defence Variant) interceptors (from storage) to the AMI on 17th November 1993. The lease, running for an initial five year period with a five year extension if required, is free. The most likely reason for this move was to ensure that Italy did not consider leasing or purchasing American systems at that time (which may have reduced their Eurofighter purchase). However a decision was made in xxxx to lease x ex-USAF F-16 fighters as an additional tide-over force in the interim period till Eurofighter becomes available.
Deliveries of the F.3 started in 1995 and will be operated by 12º Groupo, 36º Stormo at Gioaio de Colle and 18º Stormo, 37º Stormo at Trapani/Bergi. Each Tornado is usually accompanied by two Starfighter's, in effect using the F.3 as a mini-AWACs. Amongst Italy's other squadrons; 9º, 10º, 18º, 22º and 23º Groupo also operate Starfighter's all of which will be replaced with Eurofighter's.
Italy's first Typhoon (or Tifone in Italian) will be IPA2 due either late 2001 or early 2002. This first aircraft is expected to be delivered to the CSV (Centro Sperimentale Volo) 311º Grupo for evaluation and further trials. The AMI expects to have 6 air defence Eurofighter squadrons.
The Spanish Air Force, Ejercito del Aire Espanol will receive 87 Eurofighter's (to designated C16) over the coming few years. The first of these will be IPA4 delivered to Spain in 2002 which will be used for further flight trials. The stated intention of the EdA is that the Typhoon (or Tifon in Spanish) will replace all the existing F-18's currently in-service.
At present the job of air defence and ground attack is handled by around 60 F-18A's and 12 F-18B's (known locally as C.15 and CE.15), 12 RF-4C Phantom II's (classed as CR.12), 31 F-5A/F-5B/RF-5A (A.9, AE.9 and AR.9) and a number of Mirage F-1's (C.14). The EdA currently has a rolling replacement and upgrade program in place which is already taking effect. Of course the Eurofighter forms the core of this replacement program.
The F-18's currently in service are deployed amongst 7 squadrons based out of Morón de la Fontera (111 Esc), Zaragoza (151, 152 and 153 Esc), Torrejón (121 and 121 Esc) and Gando air base (462 Esc, in the Canary Islands). The Mirage F-1's are deployed in two squadrons based at Albacete Los Llanos (141 and 142 Esc). Eurofighter will replace all of these with 4 front-line squadrons plus an OCU.
The Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) is expected to form in January 2004 as the 113 Escuadron based out of Morón de la Fontera. The first operational, front-line unit is to be the 111 Escuadron (currently based at Morón where it will remain) which is set to be declared operational in 2007. This will be followed in 2010 by the 112 Escuadron. The final two units, the 141 and the 142 Escuadrons will become operational by 2015. Along with Morón, Albacete Los Llanos will form the other base for Spanish Typhoons. Each front line squadron will be equipped with 18 aircraft, the OCU taking 15 (8 single and 7 two seaters).
The webmasters would like to express their thanks to Scorpion for supplying information on the Spanish Air Force.
In 2000 Greece announced a decision to purchase 60 Typhoon's rising to a possible 90. This formed part of a larger contract of purchases which included additional and replacement F-16's and Mirage 2000-5's. Unfortunately the planned signing of contracts did not occur and instead the purchase was put on hold till after the Olympic games in 2004. Assuming all goes well and contracts are signed Greece can expect their first Typhoon's to be delivered around 2006-2008. This would typically be followed by acceptance testing in Greece before final delivery to the Hellenic Air Force.
At present the Hellenic Air Force comprises a number of types split between several squadrons. The bulk of the force is made up of F-16's (both types C and D from Blocks 30 and 50) totalling some 76 in number, 35 Mirage 2000 EGM's, a large number of F-4E's and 24 RF-4E's. Of the current F-4E's in service 36 are to be upgraded by EADS (DASA) while 24 will be left as they are. Finally there are 56 A-7E/TA-7E and 43 A-7H/TA-7H Corsair's and 24 remaining Mirage F-1's. These aircraft will soon be supplemented with 15 new order Mirage 2000-5's, 34 F-16C's and 16 Block-52+ F-16C's as well of course as the 60 Typhoon's.
No official announcement has been made as to which squadrons will gain the Typhoon neither has any timetable for conversion been released. However it is intended that Eurofighter replace an equal or larger number of aircraft currently serving as interceptors. This would include the Mirage F-1's serving with 342 "Sparta" Squadron based at Tanagra. It may also include some or all of the non-upgraded F-4E's serving with 337 "Ghost" based at Larissa and 338 "Aris" and 339 "Aeas" both based at Andravid. Additionally the Typhoon could replace some of the current F-16 Block 30 airframes which may be re-positioned in a ground attack role resulting in the retirement of a number of A-7 Corsair's. The F-16 Block 30's currently serve with 330 "Lightning" Squadron based at Aghialo and 346 "Jason" Squadron based at Larissa.
The webmasters would like to express their thanks to Georgios Martinopoulos for supplying information on the Hellenic Air Force.
 : RAF Yearbook 1999