Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 3A Contract Worth €9 Billion Signed
Last Eurofighter Deal?
12:18 GMT, July 31, 2009 defpro.com | The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), representing the programme nations Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, today signed a long awaited contract with EUROJET Turbo GmbH and Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH on behalf of the partner companies Alenia Finmeccanica, BAE Systems, EADS CASA and EADS Deutschland for the first part of third tranche of the Eurofighter Typhoon programme consisting of 112 aircraft and 241 engines worth €9.1 billion (US$12.86 billion) including €1.4 billion for the engines.
As originally intended, the third tranche included 236 aircraft. However, earlier this year the nations agreed to split this tranche into two batches due to severe pressures on defence budgets. Before signing the 3A deal in Manching near Munich, Germany today, the nations, nevertheless, achieved that industry concedes to cut the costs for the entire maintenance of the fighter aircraft over their 30 year life span by 50 per cent.
With this contract which includes 40 aircraft for the UK, 30 for Germany and 21 each for Italy and Spain, Eurofighter has secured 559 units for production, including 15 for Austria and 72 for Saudi Arabia.
The new CEO of Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH,Enzo Casolini, commented: “This is a major achievement in the Eurofighter programme and serves to reaffirm the importance and the independence of the defence sector of the European industry.”
A total of 178 Eurofighters had been delivered by June 30, including 24 tranche two units.
The Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft has been ordered by six nations (Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Austria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). With 559 aircraft under production contract, it is Europe’s largest military collaborative programme.
No Tranche 3B?
However, Tranche 3A – which is less than half of the 236 aircraft originally anticipated – may be the last Eurofighter deal of the programme nations for the time being. UK defence procurement minister Quentin Davies today said that Britain has no current plans to buy any more Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets after this deal. "This is really tranche three. I don't exclude the possibility that we will buy more aircraft in the future, but there is no present intent, nor any expectation from our partners nor any obligation," he said.
Besides the United Kingdom, the other partner nations have as well declared the wish to scale back their purchases. In June the head of the German parliamentary defence committee said the country could not afford its full complement of 180 Eurofighters, although the defence ministry declared to remain committed to the quota.
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