Eurofighter a shooting star in clash with US jets

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IT might be over budget and years late but the Eurofighter Typhoon has shown that it can shake off America's best fighter plane and shoot it down.

A chance encounter over the Lake District between a Eurofighter trainer and two F-15 aircraft turned into a mock dogfight, with the British plane coming off best - much to the surprise of some in the RAF. The episode was hushed up for fear of causing US blushes.

For a project 10 years late and $8bn over budget, it is a welcome piece of good news.

The 'clash' took place last year over Windermere when the two-seater RAF Eurofighter was 'bounced' from behind by the two F-15E fighters.

The US pilots intended to pursue the supposedly hapless 'Limey' for several miles and lock their radars on to it for long enough so that if it had been a real dogfight the British jet would have been shot down.

But much to the Americans' surprise, the Eurofighter shook them off, outmanoeuvred them and moved into shooting positions on their tails.

The British pilots themselves were almost as surprised at winning an encounter with an aircraft widely regarded as the best fighter in the world.