The four Eurofighter partner nations (Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK), reached an agreement early this month on a course of action concerning the third tranche of Eurofighter production. Tranche 3 covers the final 236 aircraft of the 620-aircraft umbrella contract.
According to the German Federal Ministry of Defence, further talks between the partner nations have been postponed until the end of this month. In the meantime, NETMA (NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency–the organization in charge of the program) has been tasked to negotiate significant reductions in life-cycle costs. Based on the outcome of those discussions, a decision will be taken on the procurement of 107 aircraft (Tranche 3A) of the total of 236.
With Tranche 2 production already well advanced, Eurofighter GmbH had signalled that a delay in ordering Tranche 3 aircraft after the first quarter of this year would incur extra costs associated with a break in production. Splitting the Tranche 3 buy allows production to continue without such a penalty, in turn buying time for the customers to wrangle over the remaining aircraft from the contract. Italy and the UK are seeking to reduce their Tranche 3 numbers.