The very first tranche 3 Typhoon next-generation fighter jet has been weighed-in to confirm that it meets rigorous design standards and has a clearly identified centre of gravity before flight testing.
The aircraft, which is assembled at BAE Systems’ Warton site, had its measurements recorded using a sophisticated set of hydraulic scales.
Tagged aircraft number BS116, the plane tipped the scales at 23,500 kg.
The weighing system for Typhoon consists of load cells which are placed between hydraulic jacks and three lifting points of the aircraft, with the jet then being gradually taken off the ground. Based on the readings from a series of these simple three point lifts and using basic arithmetic, BAE Systems engineers can calculate the total aircraft weight and the centre of gravity positions to a high degree of accuracy.
Follow this link to see a video of the weighing process
The tranche 3 aircraft is required to meet strict weight restrictions – a challenge when aircraft weight can be affected by fluctuations in components such as paint, wiring and sealant. This means that regular weigh-ins are necessary for both military and civil jets during production to determine the correct centre of gravity pre-flight.
As Typhoon is naturally an ‘unstable’ aircraft, accurate pointing of the centre of gravity is critical.
The mass, centre of gravity and inertia properties are calculated in real time by flight control computers. These measurements are then added to information on the fuel and stores from the on-board armament control and utilities control systems, in order to give a complete picture of the total load.
The tranche 3 Typhoon will be a multirole fighter – capable of shifting between air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks without having to stop to reconfigure its weapons. Visibility will also be enhanced with Escan radar – which uses over 1,000 transponders and allows pilots to steer the monitoring beam at the speed of light – and man-machine cohesion will become more seamless than ever before.