The four Eurofighter consortium partners have reached an internal agreement on dividing up areas of responsibility for worldwide marketing and sales of the EF2000 combat aircraft.

According to senior sources within the consortium, the agreement was approved in May by member companies Alenia, British Aerospace, Casa and Daimler-Benz Aerospace (Dasa). Negotiations are understood to have been under way since the start of the year.

The agreement covers marketing the EF2000 to a total of 18 different countries considered to be potential future buyers of the twin-engined fighter. Each of the four companies has been allocated prime responsibility for selling the aircraft to those with which it has the strongest industrial, political or cultural links.

Alenia's target nations include Brazil, expected to begin addressing its requirement for a new fighter in 1998 leading to a procurement decision in 2000. The aircraft is needed to replace Brazil's Dassault Mirage IIIBR fighters. Alenia has a history of co-operation with Brazil, having partnered with Embraer to develop the AMX attack aircraft.

BAe has been give prime responsibility for Australia, the Middle East and secondary support in South Korea. The United Arab Emirates is expected to make a long-awaited decision shortly on an order for up to 80 new fighters. The Royal Australian Air Force has a longer-term requirement for a fifth-generation successor to its General Dynamics F-111C/Gs and McDonnell Douglas F-18A/Bs.

CASA is charged with marketing the EF2000 to Chile, South Korea and Turkey. The fighter is viewed as a strong contender to fill the Republic of Korea Air Force's F-X requirement for an aircraft to replace McDonnell Douglas F-4D/Es. The country plans to buy up to 120 aircraft in two batches from 2002 onwards. CASA has already sold its CN-235 transport to South Korea and had earlier been negotiating to join the Samsung KTX-II advanced trainer/light combat aircraft programme.

Dasa, meanwhile, will lead Eurofighter's efforts in Norway, which has shortlisted the EF2000 and a proposed Block 60 Lockheed Martin F-16 to meet its KFA-96 fighter requirement.

Source: Flight International