Has the Eurofighter Typhoon really unseated Dassault’s Rafale as the UAE Air Force’s fighter-of-choice for a 60-plane order?
French hopes of an early order for Rafale fighters from the United Arab Emirates Air Force may have been dashed. A British source with knowledge of the requirement has told AIN that the Emiratis will now hold a formal competition, and had just issued a request for proposals (RfP) to the UK government for the Eurofighter Typhoon.
British commanders are counting the cost of a major and successful contribution to NATO’s Operation Unified Protector. The UK and France were the biggest contributors to the campaign, after the first week when U.S. forces provided an initial boost. British aircraft and helicopters flew more than 3,000 sorties, including more than 2,100 strike missions. They successfully attacked about 640 targets with more than 1,400 precision-guided munitions.
Ongoing major requirements and a growing defense budget in the Republic of Korea prompted a big showing by major aerospace companies from Europe and Israel, as well as the U.S., at the Seoul Air Show in mid-October. Show organizers claimed that nearly two-thirds of the 313 exhibitors were from 30 foreign countries.
A slowing of the production rate of the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft is partly responsible for new job losses in the UK and Italy. BAE Systems is trimming 1,500 workers from its employment rolls at Warton and Samlesbury in the UK. Alenia is cutting 1,200 jobs in Italy. Both companies blame squeezed defense budgets for the cuts.
South Korea is pushing ahead with the third phase of its fighter recapitalization program, and the short-listed candidates include the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fifth-generation fighter. It was nominated alongside the Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle for the FX-III requirement, which seeks 60 multirole fighters for around $7.86 billion.
Eurofighter confirmed in Paris yesterday that an AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar would enter service on the Typhoon in 2015, and announced the start of flight trials with the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM (beyond-visual-range, air-to-air missile).
Following developmental issues with the Joint Strike Fighter’s helmet display that were raised earlier this year, the F-35 Joint Program Office is faced with making a decision this summer on whether to procure an interim helmet/display to use with standard night-vision goggles.
NATO’s Operation Unified Protector has given the Eurofighter Typhoon the opportunity to finally make its combat debut, with both the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and Italian air force aircraft involved in the operation. RAF operations over Libya have been mounted by a six-aircraft detachment at Gioia del Colle in southern Italy, from where they are operating alongside 12 Panavia Tornado GR.Mk 4s.
In late May the final assembly line at BAE Systems’ Military Air & Information plant at Warton delivered its 100th Typhoon (BS074), becoming the first of the partner companies to achieve this milestone. Over 260 aircraft have now been delivered by the four assembly lines.