Thursday, December 22, 2005
Merry Christmas Eurofighter
Going with the earlier news that France has sold six billion Euros worth of Rafaels [48 to 96 airframes] to Saudi Arabia to replace 93 F-5E Tiger IIs there is further news to gladden the bottom line of Eurofighter Gmbh. In an oil for fighter planes deal, the government of Saudi Arabia has agreed to give British Aerospace[BAe] money via the British Ministry of Defense[MoD] by having the MoD sell on the open market Saudi crude oil. In return for all of this oil, BAe will enter into a partnership with Saudi Arabia, including technology transfers, to build/support 48 to 72 Typhoon fighters to replace the surviving 106 Panavia/BAe Tornado ADV/IDSs flown by the RSAF. This deal maybe worth as much as $90billion US, BAe shares jumped 6% on this news on the FTSE.
AFP/Yahoo story got traction on LGF over this. But the writer it seems does not do real research. At the bottom of this article it is trotted out that Greece is committing to 60 to 90 airframes. As TODAYOnline notes, Greece has cancelled just like I said. On the last page of this article is a jaw dropper. Back in one of my comment posts I noted the price tag of Eurofighter Typhoon versus such airframes as the F-35 JSF, Rafael, and F-15K. Well my estimate on Tranche 2 airframes was $67.8 million per plane. The South Korean F-15Ks were $105million US per plane. The planes Saudi Arabia will be getting will run $112.9 million US per plane. Eurofighter Gmbh better hope Saudi Arabia buys 72 airframes because there will be no more export orders at these outrageous price tags, in fact they ought to be downright thankful the Saudis are willing to blow this much money on a 4th generation fighter.
What is even more interesting is how the official news release from Eurofighter does not even mention when these planes are supposed to be delivered. There is much talk in various articles of this providing jobs for the next ten years. I have to postulate that Saudi Arabia will receive its first Typhoon after 2012 when the consortium receives it's last Tranche 3 airframe and Austria gets its 18 airplanes. But this is only a guess based on existing production plans and assuming Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom buy all of their allocated aircraft.
And I just realized I still have not found out if Tranche 1&2 aircraft will be upgraded to Tranche 3 and for how much. More research, yay.
Update, still looking for Tranche 1&2 upgrades. Did stumble across on the official Eurofighter web-site a little visit they did with Turkey to get Turkey to buy Typhoons. Just found another telling of the event out of UPI. I will bet Turkey will toss even more money into the F-35 JSF project after this. Here Eurofighter Gmbh is telling Turkey we will let you produce some components of Typhoon and other aircraft. Well Lockheed-Martin with US blessing has let TAI in Turkey build F-16 Fighting Falcons from scratch. Methinks those Europeans just kissed a deal good-bye.
Update 2330 Central US time. The Saudis are buying 24 Tranche 2 Typhoons according to Flight International. These aircraft will be taken from the current production run of RAF Tranche 2 aircraft and replaced by an additional order of 24 Tranche 2 aircraft. This begs a question, what will this do to the delivery timeline for Tranche 3? Will it be pushed further back, rendering Typhoon an even less attractive purchase?