Friday, 31 July 2009

RAF's Eurofighter order slashed - Army's gain?

The government's decision to slash the final order for Urofighters/Typhoons may hopefully be good news for the guys on the frontline in Afghanistan.

The UK had originally agreed to buy 88 aircraft in the third and final tranche of the overall Urofighter order but that order has now been slashed to only 40 fighters. In total the RAF will now only be getting 160 Typhoons out of the 232 it had originally been promised.

It was only two months ago that Gordon Brown seemed to confirm that the UK was going ahead with the final order as planned: "I am pleased that we are moving forward with this important programme with our partner nations. This will strengthen Britain's defence capability, and will create new jobs in advanced manufacturing that Britain needs to emerge stronger and fitter from this global downturn." Still, we've come to expect U-turns from the government these days.

The Urofighter programme began in the mid-80s and originally aimed to provide an aircraft to dogfight Soviet jets over mainland Europe. Things have obviously moved on since the Cold War days and many strategists believe that the Urofighter is no longer appropriate for the type of conflict that Britain has to face.

Maybe the MoD could be persuaded to divert some of the RAF's leftover funds to provide practical support to British troops in Afghanistan.

The Times: Britain's fighter jet fleet of Eurofighter Typhoons cut by a third