Whilst it's practically been a done deal for a while now it's good to see the contracts officially signed and sealed. Thankfully the Serious Fraud Office brouhaha didn't derail the whole affair. Now all we have to do is hope that the Typhoon consortium has similar luck in the Japanese and Indian trials as they start to look at replacements for some of their fleets. And you know what the best bit is? Apparently for the Japan deal it's rumoured that the French Rafale has already been ruled out and that the Eurofighter is the current favourite against its two US rivals so we could be looking at going two for two. Wouldn't that put a few noses out of joint.
UK officials said 24 of the Typhoons would be supplied from aircraft previously scheduled for delivery to the RAF. The 24 would come from the second of three tranches of the air forces order for Typhoons. The 24 RAF aircraft would be delivered later and, as a result, the RAFs existing Tornados would have to be kept in service for longer.
Negotiations for a third tranche a further 88 warplanes on top of the 144 already ordered were not scheduled to be completed for 18 months, MoD officials said. There is speculation that the third tranche order might be curtailed, with the UK defence budget under pressure and the UK already involved in the US-led Joint Strike Fighter project.
So whilst it looks like we've at least managed to dispose of a number of surplus planes the RAF was going to have overall, still getting screwed in the process by having to keep the Tornados operational as a temporary stop gap.
This deal is bad news for the RAF as it'll delay delivery of much needed aircraft and, probably more significantly, divert logistics support. The same thing happened with the Tornado deal in that Saudi was given the highest priority for spares, especially for the F3, and RAF serviceability was gradually eroded.