It surprises me to see that in some aircraft inventory listings, a rather considerable percentage of combat aircraft are "trainer" versions. E.g., the current inventory of the Spanish Air Force.

For Spain, it is claimed they have 56 Eurofighter 2000, and 12 trainers. Somewhat similar numbers apply to their F-18 variants regarding combat aircraft and trainer aircraft.

I'm curious what the difference is between these Eurofighter 2000 combat vs. trainer aircraft. In particular, how much effort is it to make a trainer EF2000 combat ready? Perhaps they actually are combat ready? Surely there are some differences though, such as having two seats? What else?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Normally, the second pilot is accommodated by removing or reducing a fuel tank. The two-seater will have the same equipment (how else should it be used for training?) but will have less range and endurance. $\endgroup$ Feb 28 '19 at 18:54

From the Wikipedia page on the Eurofighter Typhoon, under Variants:

The Eurofighter is produced in single-seat and twin-seat variants. The twin-seat variant is not used operationally, but only for training, though it is combat capable.

No source is cited for that claim, but it seems logical enough.

  • $\begingroup$ It makes perfect sense for a Trainer variant to be equally combat ready as the single seat variant, think of weapons training. $\endgroup$
    – Dohn Joe
    Mar 1 '19 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ @DohnJoe Doesn't it also make sense in the context of war? If you only have 56 aircraft, and 12 trainers, wouldn't you want the 12 trainers to also be combat capable, albeit with a slight disadvantage due to having less fuel capacity? $\endgroup$ Mar 1 '19 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ @AlphaCentauri: Especially since, if you're being invaded and need all the planes you can get, lower fuel capacity and the resultant shorter range don't matter (since you're over friendly territory and can land and refuel basically wherever and/or whenever you want and/or need to). $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Apr 13 '19 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ It seems to me that it is important to note that the Typhoon 'trainer' aircraft are more accurately referred to as "advanced trainers", i.e. they are used for type-conversion, not for actually teaching pilots to fly. For the kind of plane used for basic training, there is very little need for combat-readiness. $\endgroup$ Nov 21 '19 at 13:58

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