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Performance parts on the limit

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a shining example of co-operation between four European countries, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Production is based on work-share according to the number of aircraft each has ordered and is carried out by EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems.

St Albans, Hertfordshire-based specialist deep hole drilling, gun drilling and honing company Premier has been involved with the Eurofighter Typhoon since the aircraft project first started. Today, the company carries out all the drilling on the flap hinges of the moving wing parts machining a total of 12 different component part numbers, which equates to 24 parts per aircraft.

Machined from airframe grade aluminium, the hinges are prismatic parts that are supplied in various lengths between 150 mm and 300 issue and supplied as blocks. Premier's managing director, Stuart Grant, says: "We precision drill a through hole before the part is machined by our customer. The hole is used as the datum point to machine a series of square serrations – castellations - so that it can be assembled together much like a large piano hinge."

The Eurofighter Typhoon is built using one of the most advanced lean manufacturing processes employed anywhere in the world. Gardner Aerospace has Eurofighter DLF (Direct Line Feed) approval and stocks the hinges in part bins onsite at BAE Systems' Samlesbury assembly line, operating on a sophisticated Kanban system.

Producing these particular parts required Premier's engineers to develop fixturing that would not crush the aluminium once the hole has been generated, which would alter the form of the hole and affect the performance of the hinge. The hole in the various parts is comparatively small, ranging from 2.8 mm up to 3.2 mm diameter.

The Typhoon's wing is a multi-spar construction with integral fuel tanks. There are full span inboard and outboard flaperons and leading edge slats, with wing tips housing the advanced defensive aid sub-system. The main undercarriage attachment is located on each wing.

Skins and spars are Carbon Fibre Composite (CFC), with the spars co-bonded to the lower skin. The ribs are carbon fibre reinforced with metallic hardpoints. Titanium is used for the wing/fuselage attachments and outboard flaperons. Eurofighter Typhoon has a foreplane/delta wing configuration that is aerodynamically unstable in the subsonic range. The 'delta canard' design shape of the aircraft provides agility, exceptional acceleration and reduced drag. Stealth technology is incorporated in the basic design, with features such as low frontal Radar Cross Section, passive sensors and super-cruise capability. The airframe is constructed mainly from CFC, lightweight alloys, titanium and Glass Reinforced Plastics (GRP).

Eurofighter Typhoon is now the aircraft of choice for six nations' Air Forces - Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Austria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and will fulfil Air Force requirements well into the 21st Century. Aircraft production is ongoing, with 707 aircraft under contract to the six Nations. Stuart Grant concludes: "The capability of the Eurofighter Typhoon is such that it is a prestigious programme to be part of, and with a strong future."

Press release issued by Premier Deep Hole Drilling Ltd on May 1, 2009


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Premier Deep Hole Drilling Ltd Drilling Equipment, Boring & Drilling Services, Mechanical Actuators


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Eurofighter Typhoon


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