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Even pilots think superplastic is fantastic

Typhoon foreplanes need to be able to take a lot of strain, and thanks to our knowledge of superplastic forming they do.

One of the reasons it is so agile is due to the design of and the role played by the foreplanes.

Typhoon test pilot Steve Long

Process enhancing performance

Produced through the superplastic forming and diffusion bonding process, the foreplanes are central to the aircraft’s performance and agility.
Foreplanes diagram Foreplanes diagram

There are two foreplanes located to the front of the Typhoon aircraft, either side of the cockpit. Manufactured in titanium, the all-moving foreplanes are lightweight, incredibly strong and feature an optimised aerodynamic profile.
 

Putting it through its paces

Typhoon test pilot Steve Long regularly puts the aircraft through its paces.
Typhoon test pilot Steve Long Typhoon test pilot Steve Long

Steve says: "The Typhoon is a naturally unstable platform which is what gives it a real performance edge. One of the reasons it is so agile is due to the design of and the role played by the foreplanes.  When I’m twisting and turning through the sky, the aircraft is doing a lot of the work and allowing me to turn sharply and maintain a high degree of agility. Computer systems on board make rapid fine tuning adjustments to the foreplanes which can be adjusted up to 50 times a second while in flight. My brain could never think that quickly!"

This leaves Steve able to focus on flying the mission, whilst the aircraft takes care of the flying. The foreplanes also act as air-brakes, helping to reduce the aircraft's landing roll.