Thursday, November 19, 2009

Luftwaffe To Cut Eurofighter Tranche 3B Order, Seek Exports


BERLIN - Germany's coalition government has confirmed that the Luftwaffe will not receive its final batch of Eurofighters. To date, Germany has firmly committed to 143 aircraft; now Tranche 3B, covering the final 37 jets originally planned for the Luftwaffe, will instead be made available for export.

Faced with penalties for non-acceptance of the 37 remaining aircraft, the German government has decided to put these Eurofighters up for sale, under an agreement issued by the new coalition government. The decision may appease Eurofighter officials, since there will be no reduction in the original 180-aircraft German order.

Industry, however, will not be able to benefit from any additional work that would have been created by a new export order. The Luftwaffe, long committed to its planned 180 Eurofighters, is yet to comment.

Finding a customer for the Tranche 3B aircraft may not be easy. EADS is competing to sell Eurofighters in India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft competition. Switzerland is also examining the Eurofighter to meet its requirement for an F-5E Tiger II replacement.

Greece, which has already selected the Eurofighter once before, prior to canceling its options, may be seen as an outside chance when it reopens its fighter competition.

The 15 Eurofighters already diverted from the Luftwaffe to Austria could also be factored into total numbers, meaning that Germany would need to offload just 22 Tranche 3B jets. A similar offset arrangement was adopted by the United Kingdom when it diverted 24 RAF Typhoons to Saudi Arabia, and later took these aircraft out of its full 232-aircraft commitment.

The implications for the Luftwaffe are unclear. Plans called for the establishment of five Eurofighter wings, two of which (including a training unit) are now flying the jet. With Tranche 3A deliveries yet to begin, the air arm has some time to decide whether to ax one of the planned wings, as some politicians have campaigned for.


The Austrian jets cannot be included in Tranche 3B-reductions, since they have already been accounted for with Tranche 2-deliveries to Germany.

If the Indians sign up for Typhoon, then Tranche 3B will be gone for the Luftwaffe. If they dont, there is a good chance that we can keep them.

Eurofighter tranche 3 is best in mmrca deal india should select it.

Hope that some JSF customers would jump ship.

[If it were up to me,] i would prefer Eurofighter T3 to JSF anytime.

In any case, that's prudent (ie fiscal discipline) on German/Luftwaffe's part.

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