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At the beginning of 2008 the Jagdgeschwader 74 is still in the transformation phase from the F-4F Phantom II to the Eurofighter.
The number of Phantoms is constantly decreasing at the airbase , with only around 10 aircraft remaining at Neuburg, amongst them no more than 3-4 aircraft that still carry the wing's badge. The rest of the aircraft is coming from the JG71 at Wittmund, which is visible by the red 'R' on the intake.
Anyway, sine January, 1st 2008, Neuburg does not own any Phantoms anymore, as all GAF Phantoms belong formally to Wittmund for logistical reasons and are only deployed to Neuburg. This is another a clear sign of the phinal Phantom phase in Bavaria.
However 4 of the Phantoms are still permanently used for the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) – two of them providing a permanent readiness to take-off within 15 minutes after alert. The second pair is kept ready as a spare in order to fulfil this mission also in case of a quick succession o alerts or in case of technical failures of one of the other aircraft. To comply with NATO requirements only one jet is normally necessary, but in view of the Phantoms age two jets are more convenient in the point of view of JG74. On a regular basis the QRA Phantoms are taking off twice a day and reflect the main part of Phantom phlying nowadays. To keep pilot proficiency in average only one other daily local F-4F flight is performed.
The flying activity on the Eurofighter Typhoon is increasing as the Phantoms step back successively. But the flying is still restricted as the number of the aircraft actually based at Neuburg is limited due to the fact that jets are rotated between Neuburg and the manufacturer because of on-going update programms. The so-called retrofit programme R2 aims at aircraft in Blocks 1, 2 and 2B that are being upgraded to Block 5 capability to recieve a full FOC standard (Final Operational Capability). This will include a full air-air functionality and an enhanced carefree handling air-to-ground capability to drop laser guided bombs.* The most visible external difference of this upgrade is the missile approach warning sensor in form of a spike at the tail of the aircraft.
Eurofighter Typhoon Details
* by http://www.eurofighter.com/