Saab reacted with vigor to a statement by the Norwegian government that the Gripen fighter was inferior to the Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF in most aspects of performance–and was also more expensive. Norway had been evaluating the Gripen NG (New Generation) as an alternative to the JSF, and Saab had high hopes of launching the NG version with the help of its Scandinavian neighbor.
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).
Eurofighter CEO Aloysius Rauen made a strong plea here yesterday for the four partner nations–the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain–to close the deal for 236 more Typhoon combat jets. “My highest goal is to ensure the continuity of production. That way we avoid extra cost,” he said. Rauen confirmed that the UK and Italy have requested information on what it would cost to buy fewer airplanes–or none at all.
Although India’s 126-aircraft requirement is the main prize for the world’s fighter manufacturers, major procurement decisions in Brazil and Switzerland are expected to be made long before Delhi makes its choice.
Four Rafale fighters from the French Air Force have completed a month-long deployment to the U.S., where they conducted a squadron exchange at Luke AFB and then took part in a Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB. According to Dassault, no shootdowns were scored against the Rafale during the 10-day exercise, and American observers were particularly impressed with the accuracy of the fighter’s Sagem AASM “smart” bombs.
The first seven Eurofighter Typhoons for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) are now in final assembly at the Warton, UK facility of BAE Systems. The company will say only that the first flight is planned for “later this year.” The date of the first delivery to the Kingdom is known to be June 2009. The first 24 of the 72 Typhoons that are being supplied to Saudi Arabia are being assembled at Warton.
The Yak-130 advanced jet trainer is not cavorting about the skies over Farnborough, but company executives are on hand at the Irkut stand (Hall 1 E8) to discuss its capabilities and give an update on the program.
Switzerland is in the market for about 20 new fighters to progressively replace its remaining F-5 fleet. In a preliminary evaluation, the defense ministry pre-
The technical and technology transfer bids for one of the biggest-ever fighter deals of recent times are due for delivery in 11 days time. Six prime contractors chase India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) requirement for 126 aircraft with an option for 64 more. The contenders are the Boeing F/A-18, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16, MiG-35 and Saab Gripen.
Northrop Grumman Italia is making its Singapore Air Show debut with a display covering its full range of navigation systems mostly based on fiber-optic technology already selected in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Products on display include the LISA-200 and Navex family attitude heading reference systems and LN 251/LN 270 high accuracy inertial navigation systems.