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European Fighter Aircraft

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 21 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when firm orders will be placed for Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft; in what respects their capabilities will differ from Tranche 1 aircraft; and if he will make a statement. (248632)

The contract for Typhoon Tranche 2 was signed in December 2004 and the first deliveries of aircraft from that tranche commenced in October 2008.

Tranche 1 aircraft are optimised for air-to-air combat; an air-to-surface capability has also been integrated and was declared combat ready by the RAF in July 2008. In common with the Tranche 1 specification, Tranche 2 aircraft have air-to-air capability, and an enhanced air-to-surface capability is scheduled to be integrated on Tranche 2 aircraft from 2012. Negotiations with partner nations and industry are continuing on the Typhoon Tranche 3 contract and decisions will be taken once these negotiations are complete.