The first deliveries of air-to-surface weapons in the history of the Eurofighter
program were carried out by EADS CASA Military Air Systems (MAS) on the 4th and
5th of May.
For the first drop EADS CASA test pilot Alfonso de Castro took off on the 4th of
May from Moron AFB. The Eurofighter, accompanied by an F-18 chase aircraft of
the Spanish Air Force, made several approaches to the planned impact point in
order to check the release procedures and the video cameras for the flight-test
documentation. In the hot run, a GBU-16 was jettisoned from the centre pylon of
the starboard wing. The following day, company test pilot Carlos Pinilla dropped
another GBU-16 from the inboard pylon of the starboard wing.
The GBU-16 is a 1,000 lbs. Paveway II-class NATO-standard air-to-surface
laser-guided precision bomb to be implemented by the four Eurofighter core
nations Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The weapon will enter
into service with the first Eurofighter Typhoon Block 5 aircraft.
Both jettison tests were completely successful and met all flight test
objectives. The most prominent ones were to verify the safe separation of the
stores from their pylons and the overall aircraft behavior during and after the
jettison trials. Of extreme importance was also the evaluation of the armament
control system, the flight control system and the overall avionics performance
during the weapon jettison sequences. To reach the final GBU-16 clearance, the
program foresees four more test sorties, to be performed by EADS CASA within the
next two months.
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