One of the world’s most advanced multi-role jet fighters hit a new milestone this Spring ‘flying’ further than any aircraft of its type has done before. And all of this was done without a wheel ever leaving the ground.
Typhoon has completed 11,000 hours in a special BAE Systems test-rig. The test-rig, tailor-made for the aircraft, is located in Brough in the North East of England. It can simulate the most demanding conditions Typhoon is ever likely to encounter.
Using the test facility is a vital part of securing flight-clearances for the aircraft as it notches up thousands of hours in service in the air.
The vital ground-testing ensures the airframe is safe and retains its full performance capability even though it has many missions behind it.
Engineers at BAE Systems have developed the test-rig to monitor the stresses and strains put on the aircraft as special hydraulic rams apply loads to the Typhoon across more than 100 pressure-points. The reactions to these stresses are then measured over thousands of special monitoring channels to assess exactly how the plane is reacting over time.
Within the next few weeks the aircraft in the test-rig will have completed 12,000 hours of ‘flying’ which will mean Typhoons in service will gain clearance for 4,000 hours in the air.
The aircraft’s production specification dictates a ratio of three to one for ground-based tested versus air-based flying.
The testing is expect to run for a full three years by which time the Typhoon that never turns a wheel will have ‘flown’ for 18,000 hours clearing the way for hundreds of Typhoon aircraft around the world to be certified for 6,000 hours of flying.