Police and emergency services helicopters have undergone a dramatic metamorphosis since the mid-1980s, evolving from the equivalent of the Sopwith Camel to a worthy contemporary of the Eurofighter Typhoon, according to McAlpine Helicopters commercial director Dick Richardson. McAlpine, a Eurocopter distributor, outfits public-service helicopters in the UK.
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.
In our final edition at the recent Paris Air Show we revealed that Saudi Arabia had already concluded a contract for 72 Eurofighter Typhoons with the UK government worth $16 billion for the airframes alone.
Saudi Arabia and the UK have already concluded the huge contract for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets that has been in negotiation for 18 months, informed sources told Aviation International News yesterday. The deal will be worth about $16 billion for the airframes alone.
Eurofighter’s first export sale–to Austria–has not been a happy experience, although the company has met all its schedule and performance commitments to date. The first of 18 aircraft is already flying, the second will fly soon, there are four more in final assembly and parts for the other 12 are already in production. The first Austrian pilots have been trained on the aircraft in Germany.
Eurofighter GmbH has finally been empowered to write real subcontracts with penalty clauses for Typhoon production with the four partner airframe companies (Alenia, BAE Systems, EADS-Germany and EADS-Spain) that are also its shareholders. “It’s a revolution! We’re becoming a normal type of business now,” Aloysius Rauen, the CEO of Eurofighter, told Aviation International News here yesterday.
South Africa’s Denel Optronics has been awarded a multi-million dollar production order for optical helmet tracker systems (HTS) to equip the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter. The deal represents the latest South African investment by BAE Systems through its Defense Industrial Participation program, which arose from South Africa’s decision to modernize and right-size its air force with 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainers and 28 Gripen fighters.
MBDA, the missile manufacturer owned by BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica, has appointed Antoine Bouvier as its new chief executive. He replaces Marwan Lahoud. Bouvier was most recently chief executive officer of EADS Astrium Satellites, a post he took up in 2002, and before that he held senior positions at ATR culminating in his becoming chief executive in 1998.
In the fighter aircraft business, there’s no substitute for combat experience, if you want to impress potential customers. The Dassault Rafale has now dropped bombs in anger as part of NATO’s stabilization effort in Afghanistan.
As the Paris Air Show opens, UK-based BAE Systems, amidst ongoing allegations of corruption regarding its dealings with Saudi Arabia, has taken steps to open itself to investigation by an independent committee while in the U.S. Congressional committees recently lifted blocks on some arms transfer requests by BAE North America.