Sunday, August 2, 2009

Majority of advanced RAF Typhoons will go to Saudi Arabia

By Thomas Harding

Despite spending more than £16 billion on the project over the last two decades the British are now going to end up with less than half of Typhoons from the Tranche 3 group.The Tranche 3 aircraft are specifically designed with built-in ground-attack capabilities that would prove highly effective in conflicts like Afghanistan.

But the RAF are now only going to receive 40 of the advanced aircraft with 48 going to Saudi Arabia. The Air Force was originally to receive 88 Tranche 3 aircraft which have been described as a "generational difference" between the Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 variants.It has also been disclosed that the aircraft, which cost £90,000 to fly an hour, will be almost a decade late coming into service between 2015 and 2020.

In a deal announced in Munich it was also confirmed that the RAF will fall 72 Typhoons short of the 232 originally envisaged for the aircraft designed to counter the Soviet Cold War threat.Agreement for the deal has been held up by detailed negotiations involving the manufacturers, BAE Systems in the UK, and the Eurofighter programme's European partner governments. The Government said those talks had secured £900 million of savings. Currently the RAF are desperately trying to get the Tranche 2 Typhoons into Afghanistan but are experiencing technical difficulties converting them to the ground attack role and do not have enough pilots trained.

The Tranche 1 aircraft, designed to intercept Soviet fighters, are not even able to carry cruise missiles as their undercarriage is too weak.Four Typhoons are on 24 hour Quick Reaction Alert in Britain to intercept hostile aircraft.The Liberal Democrats attacked the deal as a "betrayal" of troops fighting in Afghanistan who needed more transport aircraft, especially helicopters.

Willie Rennie, a defence spokesman, said: "Troops will find it hard to believe that the Government is pressing ahead with ever greater numbers of Cold War jets when it is transport aircraft, especially helicopters, that are so badly needed right now."Faced with a brutal conflict in Afghanistan, it is the lives of our brave servicemen and women that must come first."Cancelling the Typhoon order would have brought substantial financial penalties and likely job losses, but the Munich deal will keep about 15,000 jobs at BAE Systems.The Government has also been criticised for announcing the deal during the Parliamentary recess.


"The Tranche 1 aircraft, designed to intercept Soviet fighters, are not even able to carry cruise missiles as their undercarriage is too weak."

That statement is nonsense from an engineering POV. All Typhoons are structurally the same, Tranche 1 AC are perfectly able to accomplish the same mission envelope, if the incremental upgrade program option is exercised.

Thats the whole point of the Tranche-system, based on the early realisation, that the developers could not have come up with the cash money all at once.

Therefore all Typhoon AC are perfectly capable of the same performance specs. Tranche 3 is only the first example of such AC coming from the assembly line fully operational in this regard.

First the Poms truncate their defense budget because of wars they cannot pay for, then they kill relevant programs and finally they seem to put the blame on system specs which they agreed to in the first place. This is just pathetic.

Para your argument is very logical and it seems that Thomas Harding may have made a mistake in this regard( but I am not absolutely sure about this issue).

Trench 1 & 2 AC will be brought up to Trench 3 standard, according to Typhoon's growth map. Hence, structurally the AC from all three Trenches should have been quite identical already.

platensimycin that’s exactly what para is saying and I agreed with his point of view because that’s sounds logical.

t has also been disclosed that the aircraft, which cost £90,000 to fly an hour,
is it true but i think this figure is totally wrong

eurofighter is second only to f-22 in capabilities, and the gap between them is very small.Best multirole aircraft outside usa.

Eurofighter's capability is unmatched, indeed, but its production and growth future has always seen uncertain. This was the stated reason for its rejections by South Korea & Singapore. Consortium's steep financial penalty for cancellation along with economic reasons caused Austria to pull back (short of canceling) its purchase.

Hope that EADS would overcome these bottlenecks in India's MMRCA and elsewhere.

Arguably, there are only a few potential geopolitical hots spots that require top-of-the-line fighters like Typhoon:

Eastern Europe, Middle East, Himalayas, Korean Peninsula and Formosa Strait.

Besides, major [western] powers are shifting their gears toward asymmetrical warfare which is perceived to be the nature of most 21st Century armed conflicts.

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