Typhoons For Sale as UK, Italy Try to Offload Tranche 3

 - November 20, 2008, 7:25 AM

As negotiations continue between Eurofighter and the four European partner nations over the Tranche 3 buy, reports are proliferating that Italy and the UK are trying to offload their previously planned purchases to third parties. British newspapers have reported that Oman might take 24 Typhoons and Saudi Arabia up to 48 more, adding to the 72 that the Kingdom has already purchased (the first of which flew recently and is shown above). The UK is theoretically committed to buying another 88 Typhoons in Tranche 3, for a total of 232, but the British defense procurement budget is severely strained. A senior RAF commander suggested this month that the service “might have clung to investments in fighter aircraft too long instead of airlift, helicopters and defensive systems for expeditionary use.” The UK is also reported to have explored selling some of its Tranche 1 Typhoons that are already in service, to eastern European countries that do not need multirole capability. Meanwhile, AIN has learned that Alenia tried to interest Japan in some or all of the Tranche 3 aircraft that are allocated to Italy. Within the Eurofighter consortium, Alenia is leading the sales campaign in Japan. However, Japan has now postponed its evaluation of new fighters.