Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon, the Royal Air Force's Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), says that he is growing increasingly concerned over the potential impact of delays to two of the service's key projects, the Eurofighter EF2000, and the RAF's need for more airlift capacity.

Continuing delays to clearing production investment (PI) for the EF2000 concern the soon-to-retire Graydon, who says in an exclusive interview with Flight International this week that"-my concern is that the export opportunity is being put at risk". Germany is struggling to find the funding to finance its part of the PI .

Graydon is also concerned about transport aircraft, saying that he does not want to see the RAF put in a position where it has "-to run the [Lockheed Martin] C-130Hs long past their sell-by date, as it will cost us money".

The prospects of one candidate for this requirement, the Airbus Industrie-run Future Large Aircraft (FLA), received a setback on 11 March when the UK and Germany blocked the release of the request for proposals (RFP). France, Italy, and Turkey were prepared to proceed. Andrew Lewis, FLA commercial director, is "disappointed" in the failure to clear this crucial step. Airbus had offered to finance the response to the RFP.

The UK Ministry of Defence says that: "The UK does not want to encourage industry to invest considerable sums in developing firm proposals unless all the nations are able to demonstrate their commitment."

The two-seat DA4, the last of seven Eurofighter EF2000 prototypes, was flown for the first time on 14 Marcho


Source: Flight International