Austrian and Eurofighter Reach Compromise over Typhoon Order
Eurofighter reached an agreement with Austria over the disputed contract for 18 Typhoons, as predicted by AIN at Paris. The compromise involved trimming the $2.7 billion agreement by three aircraft and $500 million in cost. Eurofighter said that savings would be achieved through limiting the Austrian Typhoons to air surveillance only. But that was always Austria's intention, and no long-range air-to-air missiles or air-surface weapons were in the original contract. On July 12, the first aircraft was duly delivered to Zeltweg airbase. That's the good news for Eurofighter. The bad news is that the UK's commitment to a further 90 jets within Tranche 3 is looking shakier than ever. The purchase is no longer specified in the Ministry of Defence's Equipment Plan for the next ten years, according to a briefing chart seen by AIN. This columnist recently asked Sir Glenn Torpy, Royal Air Force Chief of the Air Staff, how he would justify the extra Typhoons. "It's not pure numbers...it's new capabilities that we seek, including an AESA [active electronically scanned array] radar, and also enhanced support arrangements," he said. We examined progress towards an AESA radar for the Typhoon here.