Eurofighter nations edge closer to Tranche 3A agreement

By Craig Hoyle

Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK will in late March resume negotiations with the Eurofighter industry consortium over Tranche 3 production of the multirole type.

The partner nations earlier this month tasked the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency with seeking "significant life cost reductions" before agreeing a delayed deal. The nations say a satisfactory outcome will enable them to sign a "Tranche 3A" contract covering the first 107 of the remaining 236 Eurofighters from their umbrella commitment for 620 aircraft.

Meanwhile, the German air force has logged its 10,000th flight hour with the Eurofighter, marking the milestone during a 16 March ceremony at its Neuburg air base near Munich (below). The type entered air force service in April 2004 with Fighter Wing 73 at Rostock-Laage air base, and this unit has accounted for around 75% of the total German fleet hours, the service says.

© Eurofighter

A recent operational highlight involved the deployment of four FW73 aircraft to the Aero India 2009 show in Bangalore to support Eurofighter's EADS-led sales campaign in the nation. Supported by a German air force Airbus A310 multirole tanker transport (below), the aircraft performed individual sorties lasting up to 8.5h.

© Marc Thoene/Eurofighter

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