Handling the pressure of advanced combat aircraft.
Gems Sensors' pressure transducers have been selected for use
on the most advanced combat aircraft designed for the 21st century:
the Eurofighter Typhoon. The transducers are being used to measure
a variety of parameters for one of the most critical areas of control -
the engine management system.
Developed by the aircraft industries of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy
and Spain, the Typhoon has been described as a 'quantum leap' in both
performance and capability. In combat manoeuvres, impressive speeds
are achieved through optimum engine performance and the extensive use
of Carbon Fibre Composites (CFC), which make the aircraft over 30% lighter
than previous aircraft.
This allows the Typhoon to travel at speeds of over 1500mph -faster than
speeding a bullet - arid more than twice the speed of sound; the equivalent
of flying from London to Paris in eight minutes.
Two turbojet EJ200 turbofan engines provide the power behind the fighter,
which are controlled by an engine management system supplied by MTU
Aero Engines. To ensure the control system maintains optimum engine
performance at all times, it is necessary to monitor the different stages
of compression on the engine. For this purpose, a number of pressure
transducers were specified from Gems Sensors - to measure atmospheric,
inlet and compressor pressures. Four different pressures are taken, ranging
from 120KpaA up to 4000KpaA.
The atmospheric pressure effectively indicates the position of the aircraft
in terms of altitude. If the Typhoon is on the ground, for example, the
atmospheric pressure will be 1000 mbar, whilst at 3000 metres it will be
The inlet pressure is influenced by the speed of the aircraft and indicates
the pressure, at which the air is forced into the engine turbines, whilst
readings are also required within the compressor - where the engines'
thrust is created. All of these measurements are relayed to the Digital
Electronic Control Unit, which performs the necessary calculations for
effective fuel management.
The accuracy of the information, provided by the Gems transducers,
guarantees optimum fuel and performance levels for the aircraft. The
provision of a total error band of 0.4% under combat conditions is therefore
of major importance. The units also have to be in service for the life span
of the engine control system - without compromising accuracy and without
the need for maintenance. This is ensured through the use of sputtered thin
film technology, which provides long-term stability - even under the most
extreme operating conditions.
Each transducer consists of two capsules mounted on a manifold, to measure
a common pressure, and also provides an output signal proportional to
temperature. The units (types 4086, 4087, 4088 and 4089) offer a compensated temperature range of -40'C to +125'C, with excellent resistance to shock and
Due to enter service in 2003, the Eurofighter Typhoon is the one of the most
prestigious design projects within Europe and unites over 400 companies
from Italy, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom. Gems now forms part
of this high technology base, which is set to produce the worlds most cost
effective, multi-role fighter of the 21st century.
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