Sunday, October 23, 2011

Speaking of Eurofighter

I mentioned the Eurofighter in the previous post because Saudi Arabia has ordered 72 of the airplanes. Well there is important news in the world of Eurofighter. The 300th airplane has been delivered to Spain and a total of 707 aircraft have been ordered/delivered.

What cracks me us is how Eurofighter is hailed as European cooperation in sharing technology and creating many long term jobs. It just took Eurofighter almost 40 years and many billions of Euros overbudget to produce 300 airplanes amidst such dramas as Germany leaving the consortium before returning while France abandoned the project to push ahead with Rafale.

But there are two markets Eurofighter just might snag in the near future to the detrimeent of US aerospace concerns. The Typhoon and Rafale are still competing in India to be the winner of that country's MRCA requirement after the other four aircraft were eliminated - including the F-16 and F-18, a winner might be announced this November. Another market within Eurofighter's grasp is Japan's F-X fighter requirements. Eurofighter is offering Japan the ability to build and customize Typhoon to meet Japan's unique requirements, this is very similar to how Japan built the F-4EJ and F-15J. Since the only American competition to the Typhoon is the F-18 Super Hornet and not the F-22 Japan wanted, I suspect Typhoon will be chosen. Amazing that just 4 years ago, neither one of these markets was within the grasp of Typhoon. Circumstances do change.

-- Corrected a name mix-up. The French jet is the Dassault Rafale and not Rafael. Thanks ORD.


Ed Rasimus said...

And interwoven through that is the impact of termination of F-22 production at a paltry 187 jets. Watch the continued erosion of the F-35 buy followed by the escalating per-unit costs for a reinforcing scenario. While the Euro-jets are not as capable as 22/35, they are significant improvements over previous generation hardware and in the numbers being produced they add up to both booming jobs and massive military potential.

Anna said...

It is frustrating seeing us repeat the same merry-go-round to oblivion we saw with the B-2 Spirit. Keep reducing the buys per year and stretching out procurement leads to a more expensive airplane. And soon no one can afford it.

The F-35A at least should be under multi-year production contract like F-16s were, get more planes for less price per plane. The F-15s and F-16s airframe life is being used up faster than planners anticipated and unless we want to revisit things like the F-100 wing spar rebuild, we need the F-35s now to save money in the long run and to keep our technological edge. Plus save pilots lives from flying worn out planes, McPeak's F-100 coming apart on him springs to mind.

Eurofighter Typhoon is turning into a good multi-role fighter, if the Europeans keep enough spares on hand. And if the Europeans can sell enough of them, the price per airframe will drop to below the price of an F-15K. Which would mean more austere markets would open up. If the F-35 is banned from these markets, what will that do to the US aerospace industry?

Assuming Obama policies do not destroy these markets. Like they did with Taiwan even as they sold F-16s to Morocco and Iraq.

wv - heoffers yeah Obama offers lots of promises.