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.
A new “smart” bomb employing three guidance modes is entering service with the UK Royal Air Force. The Raytheon Paveway IV is a 500-pound laser-guided weapon that can alternately be guided by GPS, with backup from an INS system if GPS is not available for any reason (such as jamming).
Litening III targeting pods supplied by Ultra Electronics to the RAF have successfully completed their first year of service in Iraq. Mounted on Tornado GR4 combat aircraft, the pods are fitted with a ROVER III-compatible video datalink supplied by Ultra, which also manufactured Litening III under license from Rafael.
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.
As the British subsidiary of a leading American defense contractor majoring in sensitive communications and intelligence technologies, General Dynamics UK (Chalet A34) treads an interesting but complex path. On the one hand, the company is a portal for the import and adaptation of U.S. systems that help the British armed forces achieve connectivity and interoperability.
The UK took a step toward airborne network-centric warfare this month when it confirmed that the Tactical Information Exchange Capability (TIEC) would be added to Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 and Harrier GR9 combat aircraft. General Dynamics UK is the key provider of TIEC, which allows ground troops to transmit the coordinates of targets that they have identified into the cockpits of RAF Harrier GR9 and Tornado GR4 aircraft.
Negotiations continue between the UK and Saudi Arabian governments over the details of Project Salam, the agreement to supply 72 Eurofighter Typhoons to Saudi Arabia. Major decisions still have to be taken on the avionics and weapons configurations, and on the arrangements to produce and support the aircraft in Saudi Arabia. Final assembly of the first 24 aircraft, and training of the first Royal Saudi Air Force crews, will be done in the UK.
Boeing’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Alsalam Aircraft Company of Saudi Arabia will be formally recognized on Tuesday, when senior managers from the two companies meet to reveal expansion plans. Alsalam grew out of an offset agreement with Boeing, but until last year the American company owned only 50 percent of the Riyadh-based MRO.
AIN reported this morning (Saudi Typhoons in Final Assembly; Tornados Being Upgraded) that an announcement about Saudi Arabia’s agreement to buy 72 Eurofighter Typhoons could come soon…and it did. In fact, it came sooner than even we expected.
AIN has learned that the first two Eurofighter Typhoons for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) are now on the final assembly line at BAE Systems’ Warton, UK factory, although the potential $40 billion deal to supply and support 72 Typhoons has not yet been formally announced.