U.K MOVES AHEAD TO PROCURE TRANCHE 3 TYPHOON
14 May 09. The Prime Minister has today confirmed that the UK will move ahead with its international partners with the final stages of procuring a third batch of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for the Royal Air Force.
The NATO Eurofighter Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) will continue negotiations with industry with a view to getting the best possible deal for the Partner Nations (UK, Germany, Italy and Spain). Negotiations will address both procurement and support costs.
The Prime Minister said: “I am pleased that we are moving forward with this important programme with our partner nations. This will strengthen Britain’s defence capability, and will create new jobs in advanced manufacturing that Britain needs to emerge stronger and fitter from this global downturn.
The Defence Secretary John Hutton said: “We look forward to receiving an affordable bid from European industry that will allow us to proceed with a programme that will deliver advanced multi-role aircraft to the Royal Air Force and maintain high-technology skills and industrial capability across the UK and Europe.
“Subject to the satisfactory outcome of these negotiations, I hope that we will be in a position to sign a contract later this year.”
The MoD will now initial the ministerial agreement which the other partner nations (Germany, Italy and Spain) signed on 2 April 2009. This agreement contains a statement of principles, including the need to achieve significant through-life savings, which will underpin the next stage of negotiations between NETMA which acts as the contracting agent on behalf of the partner nations and industry.
The contract for the third tranche of Typhoon aircraft will be signed once there is a satisfactory conclusion to these negotiations, and each Partner Nation’s Approving Authority has accepted the terms of agreement.
BATTLESPACE Comment: Sense has prevailed over Gordon Brown’s brinkmanship over another defence contract. The combination of the disastrous unemployment figures which urged Lord Mandelson to intervene to bring some sanity to this situation and the legal implications and huge cost of cancellation has led to this announcement. Expect more orders from Saudi Arabia at favourable prices. However, if Typhoon is to sell well in world markets it must have an AESA radar and a missile that is European, not American. The AESA programme is ready to go, but to enable Meteor on the aircraft there requires to be changes to the software to allow control of the missile. That software is closed architecture and thus the cost of changing to Meteor is estimated to be around £200 million. Without Meteor, the Europeans are at the mercy of Raytheon which supplies the current AMRAAM missile. In other news, sources suggest that the aircraft may be facing stability problems when pulling through ’G’ forces on a certain turn angle.