A UK-led campaign to sell 12 Typhoon combat aircraft to Oman could succeed in securing a deal before year-end, according to Eurofighter partner company BAE Systems.

"The Royal Air Force of Oman is currently reviewing the Group's commercial response for 12 Typhoon Tranche 3 aircraft, plus associated support and training facilities," the UK company said in its half-year results statement on 2 August. "Contract negotiations have commenced, with contract award possible in late 2012."

Oman issued a request for quotation for the proposed deal in January 2012, having first been mentioned as a potential Typhoon buyer in mid-2008.

BAE also named Malaysia and Saudi Arabia as presenting opportunities for additional export sales of the Typhoon, but did not mention the United Arab Emirates in its business update.

 Typhoon in Dubai - Eurofighter


BAE is also offering the Typhoon to the United Arab Emirates

Speaking before the Farnborough air show, a senior company official said BAE was still "working actively" in the UAE, which had requested a Typhoon offer after failing to progress a planned Rafale acquisition with French supplier Dassault. However, industry sources have suggested that the Gulf state could instead move to order an additional batch of Lockheed Martin F-16E/Fs.

Hopes of seeing the Typhoon equip the Indian air force have also not been abandoned. "Following the selection of Rafale as the preferred bidder in the medium multirole combat aircraft programme, the business continues to support the Indian customer and its evaluation process, and to work with its Eurofighter partners to ensure that Typhoon remains positioned as the evaluation process continues," BAE said.

Eurofighter partner companies Alenia Aermacchi, BAE and EADS handed over a combined 21 aircraft to the air forces of Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK in the first six months of this year. This advanced Tranche 2 production deliveries of the type to 144 aircraft from a contracted total of 236, BAE said.

BAE described its current activities as being performed in a "difficult but stable equipment environment" in the wake of the UK's Strategic Defence and Security Review of late 2010. The company's order backlog now stands at £40 billion ($62 billion), having grown for the first time since 2009, according to chief executive Ian King.

Source: Flight International