It seems from recent British statements that Oman and Saudi Arabia are seeking Tranche 3 versions of the Eurofighter Typhoon, with greater weapons integration.
Recent statements from the British government and BAE Systems have clarified the status of negotiations to sell Eurofighter Typhoons to Oman and Saudi Arabia. Oman has now issued a formal RFP. Having taken delivery of 24 aircraft from BAE’s Warton assembly line, the Saudis are still negotiating the price and configuration of 48 more, as well as assembly and maintenance arrangements.
Two years ago, the Omani deal seemed to have been agreed. Then-British prime minister Gordon Brown suggested as much in public, and an aircraft in final assembly at Warton was allocated to Oman. But a British industry source told AIN that Oman would not buy the Typhoons sans an AESA radar. Oman has since requested a second batch of F-16s from the U.S., although the sale has not yet been confirmed. The British government said last week that the RFP represents an important step toward a contract, and that a sale of Typhoons would “bring wider economic, training and education benefits to Oman.”
Earlier this month, BAE Systems acknowledged that the hiatus in the Al Salam sale to Saudi Arabia would reduce the company’s 2011 earnings from previous predictions. But it said it had made “good progress” in recent discussions “on all items except the price escalation.” Meanwhile, as AIN has previously reported, Typhoon subassemblies allocated to Saudi Arabia have gone into storage at Warton.
It seems that both Oman and Saudi Arabia are holding out for Tranche 3 standard Typhoons, with more extensive weapons integration as well as the AESA radar. India has been offered such enhancements to meet its 126-aircraft MMRCA requirement. That country’s long-awaited choice between the four-nation jet and the all-French Rafale could be announced next week.
Source: AIN Chris Pocock
Gravity always wins!
The government of Oman has requested that BAE Systems submit a formal bid for the supply of Typhoon fighter aircraft. The move clarifies the Middle East nation’s continuing commitment to the program following delays in completing negotiations.
A spokeswoman for the U.K.-based defense company said it expected to complete negotiations by the end of the year, with deliveries of the first aircraft taking place 36 months later.The request for proposals involves a squadron’s worth of Tranche 3 standard aircraft — about 12 airframes — a support package and training for the Omani air force.Last month, Oman ordered a second batch of 12 F-16 Block 50’s from Lockheed Martin in a $600 million dealThe Omanis formally stated their intention to purchase the Eurofighter Typhoon in early 2010, and company executives said at the time that the deal could be ready for signing within months.In a statement, BAE said it welcomed the release of the request for proposals, adding that the news underpins its long-standing defense and security relationship with the sultanate as a major equipment supplier.The most recent major equipment sale was signed in 2007 to deliver three corvettes to the Omani navy in a deal valued at 400 million pounds.The warships remain undelivered for technical reasons.The first of the Khareef-class vessels should have been handed over in 2010 but have been delayed following the discovery of technical problems during sea trials.The spokeswoman denied that the signing of the fighter deal between the two sides is dependent on the agreement of a get-well package for three corvettes.The spokeswoman said the first of the corvettes is now scheduled to be handed over at the end of the second quarter.The Omanis’ commitment to Typhoon follows recent competition losses for the fighter in Japan and Switzerland.A decision by India on whether to select the Eurofighter aircraft or its French rival, Dassault Rafale, is imminent.Earlier this month, BAE announced that talks with the Middle East’s first Typhoon customer, Saudi Arabia, over amendments to a deal to supply 72 fighters, were dragging on and would likely affect its 2011 earnings.The original deal called for the first 24 aircraft to be delivered from the BAE production line in the U.K., with subsequent assembly in Saudi Arabia.BAE and the Saudis announced a change of plan last February over where the final 42 aircraft would be built but are still haggling over the details.Typhoon is a four-nation program involving the Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. So far, it has exported the aircraft to Austria and Saudi ArabiaSource: By Andrew Chuter, 23 January 2012 - DefenceNews (www.defensenews.com) and www.xairforces.netPhoto: BAE Systems Typhoon (Photo by saregroup.com)