Stewart Penney/LONDON

Eurofighter has received a new request for quotations (RFQ) for the industrial support of its aircraft. A similar proposal was rejected last year due to cost. At the same time, the Eurofighter consortium appears to have averted a crisis in the provision of aircraft synthetic training aids (ASTA).

Massimo Tarantola, Eurofighter support phase programme director, says the consortium received an RFQ from NETMA, the management agency set up by Eurofighter's four partner nations, in late May and has until November to respond. Contract signature is expected next year.

Tarantola says Eurofighter has reduced support costs by cutting the size of spares holdings and reducing the penalty clauses, payable if the suppliers fail to meet the requirements. He says: "We want the same performance as before, but at less cost."

Eurofighter has also sought agreement between the air arms of its four partner nations - Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK - to accept similar standards of repair breakdown. Previously, some customers wanted to return modules within line replaceable units (LRUs), while others wanted to swap out LRUs, which increased the size and variety of spares.

Suppliers have an incentive to provide reliable equipment as the fixed-price contract means they make more money the less the equipment is repaired. Eurofighter proposes a "hole-in-the-wall" concept where an air force hands unserviceable equipment to Eurofighter and is given a replacement while industry repairs the item.

Meanwhile, disputes over ASTA and the International Weapon Systems Support System, a systematic continual upgrade programme throughout the Eurofighter's service life, have been resolved. Originally DaimlerChrysler Aerospace and BAE Systems were named as "project authorities", taking the risk and responsibility for these crucial support elements.

This created nationalistic disputes, with the UK threatening to source simulators and other aircrew training devices separately. Eurofighter has now taken overall control, says Tarantola.

Source: Flight International