01st August 2016 – 12:00by Helen Haxell in Munich
Airbus Defence and Space is optimistic that more orders for the Eurofighter Typhoon will be placed by Middle Eastern countries.
At a recent Airbus trade media briefing in Munich, Germany Alberto Gutierrez, head of combat aircraft and air services at the company, told journalists that Airbus was optimistic for further orders from Saudi Arabia.
‘It is not a surprise that we are interested to keep ongoing with our current customers, but we are still hoping to get additional orders from Saudi Arabia,’ Gutierrez said.
Currently, Saudi Arabia has received 61 out of 72 contracted aircraft.
The swing-role aircraft has the capacity to carry up to six bombs whilst simultaneously carrying six missiles, a targeting pod and cannon. Its light airframe is a result of only 15% of its surface being made from metal.
At almost 16m in length, the Eurofighter Typhoon has already proven popular in Gulf countries with its customer nations in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait.
Their combined aircraft total equals 112 orders and 61 have been delivered so far. Oman’s order sheet is 12 aircraft and Kuwait has been contracted for 28 which are still in production. Globally 478 aircraft have been delivered.
Reports first began to emerge in 2013 about the potential for a Bahrain procurement of the aircraft to replace its ageing F-5’s, although at present no official decision has been made. The Bahraini Air Force also operates a fleet of F-16C aircraft, built by US defence company Lockheed Martin.
Earlier this year UK defence OEM BAE Systems displayed a full scale replica of the Eurofighter in Bahrain at an international exhibition near the national capital Manama, in addition to a cockpit simulator for visitors to explore. A Eurofighter Typhoon also participated in the flying displays at the show, according to the Bahrain News Agency.
The UK’s Royal Air Force operates 100 Typhoons and has deployed its aircraft along with the Italian Air Force to Libya. Between the two air forces the aircraft acquired 5,000 hours during these operations.
The aircraft’s combat performance in the Middle East is demonstrative of its capabilities to withstand enduring missions in hot and high conditions, an Airbus spokesperson noted.
‘Following the successes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman, plus the aircraft’s outstanding performance in combat operations in the region, including during lengthy deployments to the region from Europe, we believe that the aircraft is well-proven in the Middle East and we are optimistic of further orders,’ the spokesperson said.
BAE Systems, which leads the Middle Eastern campaign on the behalf of the Eurofighter partners, declined to comment on any developments.
The Royal Saudi Air Force placed its original order for the Eurofighter Typhoons in 2006.
Original post @shephardmedia.com