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Gadgets

See the Eurofighter being built in behind the scenes video

Jerome gets to grips with the ultimate gadget -- the Eurofighter Typhoon -- at its factory and test facility in Lancashire.

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What do the Internet, nuclear power and the jet engine have in common? They're all technologies that were invented by the military that have gone on to transform civilian life. From Roman roads -- built to enable the fast movement of troops -- to robots, our desire to blow the bejeezus out of each other in ever more innovative ways has always been one of the main drivers of new technologies.

So when I was invited to take an exclusive look at the Eurofighter Typhoon assembly plant in Lancashire, I couldn't refuse. The Typhoon is probably the most advanced fighter plane on the planet. It's got a top speed of 1,550 miles per hour, but it can turn on a dime and do tricks that would cause other planes to fall out of the sky. Hit play on the video to see what it's capable of.

Developed in conjunction with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, the Eurofighter Typhoon has caused its fair share of controversy. Detractors such as Lewis Page of The Register have criticised the "cripplingly expensive, marginally useful fighter" and supplier BAE Systems recently lost out on deals to supply the jets to Japan and India. Projected to cost £7bn in 1988, the Eurofighter project will set the UK back an estimated £37bn.

But what's beyond dispute is that this plane is packing some pretty impressive tech. There's a speech recognition command system that would put Apple's Siri to shame. There's an augmented-reality helmet display which projects all your in-flight information directly on to your visor, developed before Google's AR sunglasses had made it off the drawing board.

There are 170 computers continually adjusting the pilot's life support systems so he can pull 9G without passing out. There's even an artificially intelligent autopilot that takes over when you try to do something stupid. 

In short, it's probably the most effective combination of man and machine I've seen since Robocop. Hit play on the video for the lowdown on the ultimate gadget.

How do you feel about your favourite gadgets being developed by the war machine? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page