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UK to buy new batch Eurofighter Typhoon for RAF

Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft of Royal Air Force. A File Photo.

LONDON (BNS): The British government has decided to equip its Royal Air Force (RAF) with the third batch of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft and negotiations are on with its partner countries to sign the contract later this year.

After negotiating with partner nations Germany, Italy and Spain, the government will sign a contract later in the year end, according to Ministry of Defence.

The Typhoon will become the RAF's main frontline fighter jet from 2010 but has been dogged by delays and rising costs, a BBC report said Friday.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the order would strengthen the UK's defence capability and create new jobs.

Eurofighter programme was started in 1988. The four partnership countries have been in talks over sharing 112 combat jets between them in a deal worth more than £100bn. However, there have been recent reports that the UK wanted to renegotiate the contract costs.

"We are looking forward to receive an affordable bid from European industry that will allow us to proceed with a programme which will deliver advanced multi-role aircraft to the Royal Air Force and maintain high-technology skills and industrial capability across the UK and Europe,” said Defence Secretary John Hutton.

"Subject to the satisfactory outcome of these negotiations, I hope that we will be in a position to sign a contract later this year," he added.

Typhoon fighters are seen as replacements for the RAF's Tornado fleet.
The MoD said the plans would help sustain 5,000 jobs at BAE Systems, 4,000 throughout aero-engine maker Rolls Royce and its supply chain and 2,000 jobs in radar manufacturing in Edinburgh.

“Total 16,000 aerospace jobs across the UK industry will occur which would be supported by the Eurofighter programme at peak production,” a MoD spokesman said.

Last year RAF declared Typhoon fit for carrying out ground attacks in addition to its original air defence role, even as critics raised concerns that the Typhoon was outdated.

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