Carlo Mancusi, who was appointed CEO of Eurofighter in January this year, says an evolved and advanced Eurofighter Typhoon is currently being shaped — ensuring it remains in service to 2060 and beyond.
“We have a strong programme, with a strong future and we have already secured a number of developments that will keep the weapons system at the forefront of European defence,” he says.
The key strategic elements of a 10-year plan for Eurofighter development have been agreed among the key partners, with the first five years of the plan already on contract. Carlo says this plan will also see two key programmes of work crystalize.
Firstly, the next weapons system enhancement contract, known as P4E, will have fully integrated and operational E-Scan radars, alongside many other additional capabilities. Secondly, the Eurofighter Long Term Evolution (LTE) study, which will underpin the future development of the weapon system.
“Our 10-Year Plan secures our development activities — with the first five years’ work already on contract and we are working hard to extend this for the next five years. It is important because the aircraft will be able to meet the continuously evolving operational requirements for many decades to come."
“We are making progress on P4E and looking forward to the additional capability that it brings. The LTE development study continues and we are taking direction from our core Nations about the solution that best meets their needs. The world has changed significantly in a short period of time and Nations may wish to further evolve their requirements.”
He adds that the LTE maturation phase is due to take place between 2023 and 2025 and will demonstrate in a practical way what technologies can be used in an ‘LTE Eurofighter’.
Carlo says: “It’s about improving the existing platform step-by-step, and through this, paving the way for the future and helping to mature technologies. Just how radical and ambitious the Nations are and what is practically possible needs to be worked through.”
Having taken on the CEO role in January 2022, Carlo says the programme has performed well in the last two years capturing a number of significant contracts, including the extension of the C1 and C3 support contracts.
Looking to the prospect of further orders he says: “Notwithstanding the success we have with the Qatar, Kuwait and Quadriga contracts, we are seeking further contracts to keep our production lines busy.
We are looking both to core customers and to the export market for additional buys and there are positive signals in the market. There is a growing interest with respect to mature and high-performing aircraft that can be operated with other platforms to give nations the best possible synergy. We now need to turn these opportunities into contracts.
Of course, we know that to win new contracts we need to show that we are thinking about the continuous development of the weapons system. That’s why our 10-Year Plan and LTE are so important. They demonstrate we have the contractual route in place to achieve additional capabilities.”
Carlo, who has worked on the Eurofighter programme from its inception in the 1980s, says he is proud about what it has achieved and is optimistic about the future.
“The programme brings together different skills, cultures and requirements,” he says. “We have developed a truly collaborative way of working and have built a valuable legacy. We have become accustomed to working together in an innovative environment, with teams and companies who come together to deliver strong results.
Of course, on a day-to-day basis we focus on the challenges directly in front of us, but when you take a step back and look at the big picture the programme has achieved great success."
“Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the cornerstones of European defence and the programme is the backbone of European defence. What we do is difficult, it is complex both in terms of the weapons system and the programme but we have the expertise.”
He says that Eurofighter and its partner companies — Airbus Germany and Airbus Spain, BAE Systems and Leonardo — rose to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He explains, “Despite the issues brought about by Covid we performed well. Of course, we missed the direct contact with people, with our customer, with our Nations, and with our partner companies. The success we enjoyed is down to the dedication of the people. The way they reacted was outstanding. The first thing I did when I was appointed was to congratulate the team for their dedication and commitment.
“Looking to the future it will be good to get back to some of the things we took for granted before Covid, like the opportunity to meet our customers and stakeholders face to face in normal environments such as air shows and conferences. It will be good to re-establish some of our normal habits.”