The UK is to cut its planned acquisition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) by up to two-thirds, switch versions and delay introduction of the aircraft.
The crash of a Spanish Air Force two-seat Eurofighter at Moron airbase on August 24 that killed a pilot from the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) has raised questions about the progress of the al-Salam agreement between the UK and Saudi governments. This $6.6 billion deal provided for the training of RSAF pilots and ground crew by the UK Royal Air Force, as well as the supply of 72 Eurofighters and various support services by BAE Systems.
Reports from Washington suggest that a new arms package being assembled for Saudi Arabia could reach record proportions, as much as $60 billion. Another 80-plus F-15 fighters could be offered, along with about 70 UH-60 Black Hawk and up to 60 AH-64 Apache helicopters.
Japan is examining the possibility of continuing production of the Mitsubishi F-2 to bolster its fighter fleet in the face of growing Chinese capability, adding some 20 aircraft to the 94 (plus four prototypes) currently procured. The Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) is looking for a new fighter and has stated a desire for the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, but U.S. export restrictions have ruled that out.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) will emerge from the current UK Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) with only two types of airlifter, two types of fighter and two types of helicopter. That much was confirmed here Tuesday when Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), spoke to journalists after delivering a presentation on Combat ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance).
A prototype of the very latest type of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar will be flying on a Eurofighter Typhoon in 2013, so that customers can take delivery in 2015. The Captor-E will feature an innovative “re-positioner” with two rotating joints so that the array can cover a wide field of regard (WFoR).
The Eurofighter Typhoon partner companies will announce here today their decision to kick-start the development of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the four-nation combat aircraft. The Indian air force competition for 126 AESA-equipped fighters is driving the move because the four European air forces that fly the Typhoon have no immediate requirement for an AESA.
Sweden is advancing its own Gripen development path alongside that of the Gripen Next Generation aircraft intended for export, which is currently awaiting the outcome of major competitions in Brazil and India. The Swedish air force is now talking openly about a JAS 39E/F version that would draw on many of the technologies being applied to the NG program.
Armed forces in Europe are bracing themselves for severe cutbacks as governments tackle budget deficit problems. The scale of the cuts is evident in a couple of proposals made public last week. Germany’s defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, has tabled a plan that saves €9.3 billion ($11.7 billion) in the long term, with current fleets and acquisition programs hit hard.
The Eurofighter consortium in May submitted a proposal for the final batch of Eurofighters to be built for the four partner nations under the original contract. Tranche 3 was to have been contracted as a single batch, but was split in half to appease budget-cut-hungry politicians. Now the fight begins for the final 124 aircraft in Tranche 3B.