Typhoon’s supersonic agility is reportedly unbeatable, but its current angle-of-attack (AoA) limits at lower speeds are less impressive; a Cassidian (Airbus Defence & Space) -led effort is testing an aerodynamic modification kit for Typhoon that would remedy this. The ‘Aerodynamic Mod Kit’ (AMK) will include new re-shaped strakes,leading-edge root extensions (which have already been tested), and extended trailing-edge flaperons. The AMK aims to deliver increases to the maximum wing lift, the AoA limit and the roll rates at high AoA. The strakes will generate vortices that will maintain a controlled airflow over the wing surface even at high angles-of-attack. According to Airbus Defence and Space Test Pilot Chris Worning: “The first stage was to proof the concept. Do some measurements to see if the strakes did what we thought they would do … we will fly the Aerodynamic Modification Kit next. We have a mod kit and we’re hopefully going to fly it here (Manching) this summer. This is basically what you could put on a series production aeroplane.” Flying at high angles-of-attack can be helpful in close-in combat, allowing a fighter to point its nose quickly and accurately (this is one of the reasons why the F/A-18 remains such a nasty opponent in the WVR arena). The Typhoon’s current AoA limit is slightly more than 24°, approximately the same as the Lockheed Martin F-16 (which is around 25°). The new changes are expected to increase the limit to at least 34°. Worning was keen to point out that flying at high AoA in combat must be performed with due consideration. “You have to remember when you have a very high AoA there is also a disadvantage: you’re creating an awful lot of drag.” Worning admitted that, currently, the Dassault Rafale has a slightly higher maximum AoA (29° in the air-to-air mode) than the Typhoon but is confident that the new kit will at least equal, and probably surpass, the higher figure of the French rival. The flight testing of AMK is expected this year and will be a verification of the computer modelling. Once tested, Airbus Defence & Space will be able to develop the flight control software for a strake on an operational aircraft. The strake is designed to improve agility at subsonic speeds; it will not affect the aircraft in the supersonic regime but, as Worning confi dently added, “there’s not much you can improve there, to be honest”. There’s rarely a ‘free lunch’ in aerodynamics but the strake (which will weigh only few kilos) seems to come close.