Support for Eurofighter Typhoon Criticized in UK Reports
Two semi-official reports have criticized support arrangements for the UK Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fleet. The UK National Audit Office (NAO) said that the four-nation collaborative contracts were complicated, and had resulted in “shortages of spares and long timescales for equipment repair.” The Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) referred to “a very complex supply chain that stretches all over Europe.”
Eurofighter holds fixed-price contracts for spares, component repair and technical support to the four partner nations (Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK). But detailed support arrangements for the four-nation jet vary by country. In the UK, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce have signed availability contracts that, the NAO conceded, are meeting their targets. The PAC revealed that these contracts are worth $720 million over five years to BAE, and $1.385 billion over 10 years to R-R. The UK Ministry of Defence told the PAC, “The UK is working the aircraft more efficiently and cheaply than our European partners.”
Meanwhile, Eurofighter reported progress toward multi-role capability for the Typhoon. Trials aircraft have released both of the dual-mode precision-guided bombs that the four nations are integrating, to work with Litening 3 designator pods. Germany, Italy and Spain have chosen the EGBU-16, while the UK has chosen the Paveway IV. UK Royal Air Force Typhoons already have an interim precision strike capability using Enhanced Paveway II bombs, which were dropped on Libyan targets earlier this month.