This is fifth and the last installment of the “Grab of Åland islands scenario”. And the scenario explores the use of Eurofighter Typhoons as the HX fighter. video is of Eurofighter Typhoons performance in Seinäjoki 2017.
Typhoon’s CAPTOR E radar may be the most power full of the HX-class and the platform itself is the premiere Air to Air fighter of the bunch. It has excellent loitering times and range. Also the underside of the fighter might be best described as “roomy” considering hopw cramped the undersides of other HX candidates might be in full load. This is not merely and aesthetic consideration, but practical as well: All stores need minimum clearance to be used, and these differ from store to store. This means that you cannot place certain missiles side by side, as the safety marginals would be too narrow. Typhoon has big wings (51,2 m²) and thus low wing loading that transfers into maneuverability. The EJ 2000 turbofan engines are extremely powerful giving dry thrust of 60 kN each (90 kN with afterburner) This power gives Typhoon supercruise speed of 1,5 mach. The configuration is not specified, so I think the plane needs to be cleanish for that. (Like 4 AMRAAMs in fuselage or so)
Aforementioned CAPTOR E is Leonardo’s AESA radar for Eurofighter. It is believed to have T/R modulecount of over 1000, which would mean a very powerful radar indeed. The disk is not in fixed position, so Typhoon gets 200 degree field of view to front with high probability of intercept in whole field of regard. Typhoon boasts that this I-band radar (8-10 GHz) is more capable than Rafale’s RBE2 and has invariably picked up targets before the RBE2 has been able to do so. But to be fair RBE2 is a PESA radar, but state of the art one. (But being phased out in French service right now)
Because Typhoons are heading for CAP mission in buildup for war times they are loaded in Maritime strike configuration.
Each fighter of the fourship carries following armaments:
- 2x IRIS T in outer wing pylon (180kg)
- 2x METEOR in mid wing pylon (380kg)
- 2x NSM in mid wing pylon (820kg)
- 4x METEOR missile in outer fuselage pylons (760kg)
- 1000l fuel pod in centerline (1000kg)
So a bit over 1300 kg of AA missiles and about 800 kg of AS missiles, all together about 3140 kg of ordnance. This is about 30% of maximum load of the craft. Load is not greatly hampering for the fighters although missiles will create parasitic drag as four Meteorss are semi recessed into the fuselage the parasitic drag is much lower than with most of the competition.
CAPTOR radar is extremely capable and has approximately 1100 T/R modules. As each and every module transmit in more or less same power, is every radar’s power highly dependent on number of transmitter/receiver modules available. As an AESA radar it has “low probability of intercept” meaning the wave forms and frequencies can be adapted and changed in fly, which makes it difficult for enemy to pick up the CAPTOR when it is transmitting. This also makes it more difficult to jam effectively.
Typhoons secondary sensor is the Infra red search and track (IRST) In block Typhoons this is PIRATE IRST system. it operates in low IR and middle IR in 3 to 5 and 8 to 11 micrometers range. IRST has real problems with moisture in the air in the low end of spectrum. so mid IR helps to negate that problem. IRST is also totally passive system so it cannot be detected as active systems can. These primary sensors data is fused with EW and missile warning data to make the “data fusion” ie collected and coherent view of the battlespace.
Russian Suhoi SU-35 fighters have some edge in speed and in altitude, but their IRBIS-E PESA radars might have trouble to pick up the Typhoons’s 1m² RCS in heavy EW environment. So Russians may need to rely on their OLS-35 system to pick the Eurofighters up from background, this will be difficult in extreme ranges against surface. Russians’ big Saturn engines on the other hand give nice visible heat bloom against cold space and are thus quite early picked up by PIRATE. Also CAPTOR E will have no trouble of picking up the SU-35’s RCS of about 5 m² in distances around 150km.
All Russian fighters are coming toward Finnish mainland from S to SW orientation, with other Russian fighters beyond border making moves so that DCA fighters to the east will not be able to help out in Archipelago sea. Finns try to maneuver into position to get launches toward transports, and thus spread their formation to more loose one. Russians on the other hand will try to screen their transports so that para drop can be successfully accomplished. The aerial battle will be over under 10 minutes. Typhoons superb sensors and missiles are more to par considering (METEOR’s about 200km range, and “official” 60km No-Escape zone at altitude vs 110 km range for R-77-1). The self protection capabilities of Typhoons are top notch with PRETORIAN DASS, towed decoys and AESA radar.
Typhoon’s are able to see the SU-35s at 11.21 pretty much as soon as they get airborne from Pirkkala AFB, at about 150 km, at that range and against ground clutter Suhois should not be able to pick up the four ship because their EW systems deteriorating IRBIS radar performance. Finns launch first salvo of 8 missiles. Suhois IRBIS radar should be able to pick Typhoons at or about 130 km. This will happen a minute later. The Finns split into two pairs, with another heading due west and the other due south. Russians pick up the pair in south, and get to launch. As the Russian are preparing to lauch they are hit by first salvo of Meteors. Four Suhois are destroyed. Suhois fire a salvo of 5 missiles at the Finns. Finns turn away and do evasive maneuvers, and avoid the Amraamskis. The western pair continues to west and prepares to jump the SU-35s.
At 11:23 after southern pair has evaded the missiles they turn west and shoot two Meteors each at the nearest four-ship of Suhois. Suhois fire another salvo of five at the same time. AS the Finns got a jump on SU-35s and SU-35 have to start maneuvering to avoid the Meteors, R-77 loose guidance from the launching vehicle and are ineffective. Even though Suhois try to avoid the Meteors four of those are just about enough to waste 3 SU-35s. (with Metors’ kill probability of around 75%, 1 missile per plane takes their chances of survival quite low) Some SU-35s drop into forests between Kaarina and Kemiönsaari.
The western pair of Typhoons also get to shoot a bit. Lead of the pair shoots three missiles at the transports and one at the fighters, and the other shoots salvo of five at the four-ship of Suhois in vicinity of Kustavi. The leader takes control three of his missiles and one of the number two’s missiles. Suhois now get to fire at 100km, but again Meteors give Finns the jump as they get to launch a bit earlier. Three of the fighters are destroyed immediately, and all the transports splash within minute of launch. Last of the fighters is severely damaged and tries to limp away to Kaliningrad.
at 11:24 The SU-35 have a problem: Half of their number is lost, and western most four-ship has just now gotten into range to shoot at westernmost pair. Four-ship over Turku decides to launch salvo of six. Both Finnish pairs launch salvo of six at the nearest four-ships. Westernmost pair has no trouble with Suhois and they splash all four SU-35s and avoid the R-77s with maneuvering and EW and decoys.
The other pair is not so lucky: R-77s get into their terminal guidance phase and with their extremely good maneuvering splash another of the pair. But as Meteors are also in the terminal phase right now, all Suhois are killed and drop to fields between Turku and Lieto.
The transports are destroyed before they start dropping the paratroops, but Typhoons are seriously behind turn on the afterburners to get a chance on the troop transports at sea, and before they all get to Åland mainland. Typhoons also get some height and Captors start to pick the fast targets on the surface. Last three Typhoons launch their NSMs at the three hovercraft, and manage to destroy two of them Last gets into the safety of archipelago.