The UK Labour Party's shadow secretary of state for defence, David Clark, has written to German defence minister Volker Rühe committing the UK to procuring at least 232 Eurofighter EF2000 combat aircraft, and urging that Germany push ahead as quickly as possible with the programme.

Clark, who is likely to take over from Michael Portillo as defence minister following the May general election, wrote to Ruhe in mid-March. Rühe is battling with Theo Waigel, Germany's finance minister, to secure production-investment (PI) funding for the four-nation EF2000.

The Labour Party has always supported the Eurofighter project vocally, but has shied away from committing to numbers. Some Bonn politicians had hoped that the election of a UK Labour Government, and the ensuing review of defence commitments, would allow it to defer a PI funding decision for at least a further six months.

Clark has effectively ruled this out, with some political sources indicating that Labour would like to secure the PI phase on the EF2000 in May or June.

Along with trying to resolve German funding issues, Eurofighter management has also had to handle Spanish discomfort over workshare. Under a government-to-government memorandum of understanding (MoU), Spain will receive 13% of the overall work.

Spanish attendees at a Eurofighter board meeting in Munich, Germany, in March, raised fears that the country will not receive its guaranteed share.


Source: Flight International