Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's December so Eurofighter News.

When I posted last year about Eurofighter I mentioned I could not find upgrade plans for Tranche 1&2 airframes. Rejoice for I have found such information, I think. They use Tranche 1 and then Block 1, 2, 2B, and 5 FOC. Mind you Block 5 FOC sounds like a Tranche 3 airframe since it has the bomb option. Looks like the refit facilities are going to be busy on all the Block 2B airframes so all four countries can meet their force level of necessary airframes by the end of 2007. Makes one wonder where the Saudi Arabia deal fits in the picture, along with Eurofighter GmbH pitching the Typhoon to India and its 126 airframe requirement. Probably a post 2012 delivery date.

Speaking of the Saudi Arabian deal. The UK Serious Fraud Office [SFO] was investigating bribery charges stemming from the original Al-Yamamah agreement. How serious? Well according to this report, a 32% mark-up for each BAe Tornado sold to Saudi Arabia to cover 'commisions' that are outlawed in Saudi Arabian law. Don't you just love it when someone screws up and accidentally releases documents that are detrimental? What is even more funny is the government scramble to get the documents back, can not have docuemnts in the public domain describing certain people in unflattering terms now can we? Plus shows how beholden BAe and UK are to Saudi Arabia. Still trying to figure out which Prince got busted for drugs and rates so highly he is mentioned in this document. Read the whole document, it is fascinating.

I did say the SFO was investigating correct? Yes I did. It is in the past tense because Lord Goldsmith has closed down the current investigation in lieu of taking a broader perspective. Why was the investigation shut down? Saudi Arabia told the UK government on December 1 that the investigation needs to be called off or the whole Eurofighter deal would be called off. So to save jobs and billions of dollars, Saudi Arabia is getting 72 Eurofighters while a pay-off scandle is once again swept under the rug. I have to wonder if 32% of the price of each Typhoon [$112.9 million US] is a kick-back to the Saudi officials?

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