The UK government has not abandoned plans to acquire a third batch of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for the Royal Air Force.

The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) - which represents the partner nations (the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain) - continues to negotiate with industry on the procurement and support costs. The number of aircraft is also to be determined.

"I hope that we will be in a position to sign a contract later this year," says UK defence secretary John Hutton. "We look forward to receiving an affordable bid from European industry that will allow us to proceed with a programme that will deliver advanced multirole aircraft to the Royal Air Force and maintain high-technology skills and industrial capability across the UK and Europe."

3 squadron RAF Eurofighter Typhoon
 © Royal Air Force

The UK Ministry of Defence will now initial a ministerial agreement that the other partner nations signed on 2 April.

In mid-March the Eurofighter partner nations outlined a plan to sign a so-called Tranche 3A contract for 107 of their remaining 236 production aircraft, on the condition that industry first commit to delivering "significant life cost reductions".

Source: Flight International