Eurofighter’s Future: Tranche 3, and Beyond
February 17/17: After four years of investigation, Austria has filed a lawsuit against Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium over alleged deception and fraud linked to the 2003 purchase of Eurofighter jets. The investigation into the $2.1 billion deal by the Defense Ministry found that the defense groups gave misleading information on the purchase price, deliverability, and equipment of the jets, and are seeking damages that could amount to $1.17 billion. Vienna’s purchase of 15 fighters has faced scrutiny since the outset of the deal, with allegations that money was pocketed by politicians, civil servants, and others via brokers for side deals accompanying the purchase.
The multi-national Eurofighter Typhoon has been described as the aerodynamic apotheosis of lessons learned from the twin engine “teen series” fighters that began with the F-14 and F-15, continued with the emergence of the F/A-18 Hornet, and extended through to the most recent F/A-18 Super Hornet variants. Aerodynamically, it’s a half generation ahead of all of these examples, and planned evolutions will place the Eurofighter near or beyond parity in electronic systems and weapons.
The 1998 production agreement among its 4 member countries involved 620 aircraft, built with progressively improved capabilities over 3 contract “tranches”. By the end of Tranche 2, however, welfare state programs and debt burdens had made it difficult to afford the 236 fighters remaining in the 4-nation Eurofighter agreement. A 2009 compromise was found in the EUR 9 billion “Tranche 3A” buy, and the program has renewed its efforts to secure serious export sales. Their success will affect the platform’s production line in the near term, and its modernization plans beyond that.
Eurofighter: Design & Evolution
Eurofighter: What’s Next?
A Weak Core
Typhoon at Sea?
Eurofighter: Industrial Structure & Orders
Contracts & Key Events
2014 – 2017
2009 – 2010
News & Views
Other Eurofighter Contracts
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