Membership scheme could allow future customers more industry involvement in fighter

Europe's four-nation Eurofighter consortium could establish a "club membership" scheme to enable future export customers to secure an increased level of industry involvement in the multirole strike aircraft, the company says. Discussions are ongoing within the recently reorganised Eurofighter programme office near Munich, Germany.

"In a golf club you can have different levels of club membership, and this is something that could be offered to partners," company chief executive Aloysius Rauen tells Flight International.

Previously the head of EADS Military Aircraft, Rauen assumed his post at the new Eurofighter organisation on 1 May.

"It depends first and foremost on whether an export customer is willing to become a partner and is accepted by the core nations [Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK]," Rauen says. "If you are offered a kind of membership then you are in the club and you take over certain responsibilities in the programme."

Future Eurofighter Typhoon buyers will have the option to request a traditional offset package, says Rauen, differentiating the programme from the USA's Lockheed Martin-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project.

Eurofighter is attempting to sell the Typhoon to Singapore, which is also considering Boeing's F-15T - a variant of the F-15E - and Dassault's Rafale. Two Royal Air Force Typhoon two-seaters returned to the UK late last month after completing an evaluation in Singapore by the country's Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), which is expected to recommend a winner next year.

The DSTA could also eliminate one bidder from the contest over the coming months before entering final negotiations ahead of an aircraft selection, according to industry sources.

Eurofighter has been selected for a Greek air force requirement, although Athens is now thought likely to launch a revived competition later this year. A team formed of top-level ministers from the four Eurofighter launch nations will visit October's Defendory show in the Greek capital to support the Typhoon bid, having also attended last February's Asian Aerospace exhibition in Singapore in support of that campaign.

Norway is also viewed as a potential future buyer, with its national industry yet to secure significant work levels on the JSF programme, in which the country holds Level 3 partnership status.


Source: Flight International