BAE Systems has been awarded a £1.3bn order to support the production of 38 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for the German Air Force.

Work will commence in 2021 at BAE Systems’ sites in Lancashire, maintaining continuity of Typhoon production through to the mid-2020s and sustaining high-value engineering roles in the North of England say the firm.

“These critical jobs are a key element of securing the UK’s sovereign skills and capabilities which are central to realising the Government’s future combat air ambitions.”

Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive BAE Systems, was quoted as saying:

“Germany’s decision to purchase additional Typhoons reinforces the aircraft’s position as one of the world’s most successful combat military aircraft. The Typhoon programme makes a significant contribution to the UK economy, generating billions of pounds through exports and supporting more than 15,000 jobs across the UK including thousands of highly skilled roles in the North of England.”

More than 5,000 BAE Systems employees directly support the Typhoon programme in the UK, supporting a further 10,000 jobs in the UK economy as a whole.

“The Eurofighter Typhoon is the most advanced multi-role combat aircraft in operation, supporting European security and defence objectives. BAE Systems will deliver more than a third of the components for each of the new Typhoons ordered by the German Air Force including the aircraft’s front fuselage and tail. Final assembly will be undertaken by Airbus in Manching, Germany. The new aircraft will join the existing German Air Force Typhoon fleet from the mid-2020s and will be equipped with the latest technology, including an advanced electronically-scanning radar.”

BAE Systems also say that the combat air sector delivers £6 billion of revenue to the UK every year and is responsible for 87% of the nation’s defence exports, a significant proportion of which comes from Typhoon.

“Few areas of Government spending deliver such impactful economic returns – export sales of Typhoon have already returned more than double the UK Government’s £12 billion investment in the programme to the UK economy.”

The Typhoon programme will also help to drive innovation as the Company develops the technology required to deliver the next generation of combat air capabilities. For example, BAE Systems engineers are now producing 3D printed components for Typhoon, including the Environmental Cooling System which will be used to cool the next generation radar.

The order was awarded to BAE Systems by Eurofighter, the consortium which represents the core nations’ industrial partners comprising Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo.

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maurice10

This is a massive boost for the UK economy and a vital lifeline for Typhoon production. I believe it is essential fighter manufacturing is maintained as log as it is feasible, in order to secure logistic supply until its replacement is a ‘live wire’ curtinty, and not budget fodder.

Peter S.

Agreed. I hope UK will order additional Typhoons perhaps at the expense of some of the planned F35. I suspect the carriers will never be used in anger but air defence of the UK needs strengthening.

Dern

Aaaaand your Logic behind this is…?

George Royce

For once I agree with you Dern. Invest in Tempest and the carrier group. No more typhoons needed.

ETH

No more Typhoons needed, provided we maintain and retain the ones we have already. Specifically fitting Tranche 3 jets with the AESA radar in development.

George Royce

Indeed. We should upgrade all our typhoons to the latest tech and versions. Use many of the tiffies as a testbed for future tech which could be incorporated into Tempest.

Graham

The 67 Tranche 2 and the 40 Tranche 3.

Dern

XD hopefully not just this once.
To be fair I wasn’t disagreeing with him yet, I wanted to hear his logic before I officially disagreed 😛

George Royce

Indeed, hopefully not the last time :).
I think 4++ jets are in their twighlight years. One could even argue that 5th generation jets are in their middle-aged years. The first 5th gen was the F22 and that’s pretty much 15-20 years old. The F-35 is really, really, late to the party. After so many delays, overcost runs and nations arguing about types and weapons system etc. We should focus on 6th gen jet. And make more ships for the carriers and buy at least 100 F-35Bs.

No need to buy more Tiffies, just upgrade the ones we have.

Meirion X

I would say the Typhoon fleet is using up a lot of airframe hours, especially the tranche 1s. T 1s won’t last til 2030!
Then the pressure of airframe hours will be on the 107 remaining Typhoons.
I would say another buy of about 40 from 2025!

Robert Blay

If we buy more fighters, it will be F35’s.

Andy

I personally don’t think makes much sense to leave our mobile air bases unable to surge to full war fighting capacity in return to pay for yes, brilliant fighters that are only gen 4/4.5 depending who u ask and in 20 years the design will be looking a little long in tooth.

Andy

Also the last carriers we had went into a war that everyone said wouldn’t happen blah blah…. times have changed…. will only fight with NATO and usa. Last 5years show we can’t rely on anyone and have to be able to stand alone

David Barry

No many grown ups will accept your point because that would mean the grown ups have been wearing the Emperor’s clothes…

Should this Government be so determined to stand alone ad nauseam, Defence should be funded correctly.

Sean Crowley

The Typhoon is a F-16/18 contemporary and what i am going to tell this forum is to please consult anyone who has flown both and allowed to talk as they will just confirm the F-35 has changed EVERYTHING . I cannot convey in a succinct manor what intelligent battle management really is , but i can say the best analogy given to me would be the difference between Ediacaran and Cambrian life forms .

Alan Reid

Sean, You perhaps over-state the case a little. The F-16/F-18 is not a contemporary of the Typhoon – these are earlier designs. Like you, I’ve also spoken to serving RAF pilots, and they tell me that the performance of the Typhoon makes the F-16 feel like a trainer! I think you’re on safer ground about the F-35 – Situation Awareness (SA) is the key to air-combat success, and reports suggest the aircraft provides a revolution in some capabilities. However, to strike a note of caution: It won’t be the first time if claims from US industry subsequently prove to be… Read more »

Sean Crowley

While agreeing with you on sovereign capabilities and American exaggeration ( a better example would have been first gulf war and the Patriot Scud fiasco ) Alan please dig further into F-35 , as a greater void between it and the Typhoon than the Gladiator Spitfire disparity .It is simply so much more capable , if there is anyone who is allowed to enunciate Qualification of having flown both it is imperative , no it is absolutely your duty to enlighten this forum categorically to the fact that national security is far better served acquiring the Joint strike fighter .

Alan Reid

Hi Sean, I don’t disagree with the thrust of your comments. From history, I think we both understand the disproportionate impact new technology/superior SA can have on air-combat. At the moment, there have been rumours about the F-35 … and people like us are eagerly awaiting to hear more about it! I’m glad we’ve bought it and have some input to its production (although I think Uncle Sam keeps the juicy bits in his own factories!). But I think it’s important to get a Typhoon replacement up and running at Warton – and I worry about how a full buy… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the line’s future already secure in the Omani, Qatari and Saudi orders coming down the pipeline? Obviously the German order is fantastic news but I wasn’t aware the Typhoon line was in jeopardy

Alan Reid

Hi Levi, The Omani delivery has already been completed.
Outstanding orders are from Kuwait (production is Italian-led) and Qatar (UK leading). If the Saudis can behave themselves in the Yemen, and address UK and German concerns – there is a further order for 48 units pending.
One would like to see the UK government order more for the Royal Air Force, but that now seems unlikely.
Prior to this significant German order – production at Warton was looking worryingly threadbare.

Paul T

Another RSAF Order would be Great obviously but i think they Assembled the majority of their previous 72 Locally.

Graham

No, all Saudi Typhoons were built in UK there was no Saudi assembly.

Daveyb

Saudi have been given licence to manufacture parts for the Typhoon. These will be relatively small things like brackets etc.

Paul T

Ive looked further into this ,yes you are correct that the original Order was built at Warton despite the Expectation that 48 of the 72 were to be Built/Assembled locally ( from Kits ).A suitable Facility was found for this but there seemed to be some Issues in Sharing it with Boeing who were Supporting the RSAF F15’s.

expat

Agree, After the Qatari Typhoons are complete the final assembly line will shut unless there’s more orders.

We’ll supply part to other lines like those in Germany but UK will no longer be making a fast jet.

Saudi’s may now be looking at the UAE and trying to secure their own F35 order themselves imo. Even if they don’t spending 2 years to years trying to secure an F35 deal would be bad for UK fast jet production.

Alan Reid

Great news for the UK aircraft industry.
And despite all the carping about our German friends and allies one can sometimes read on this forum, it’s maybe worth highlighting that they’ve now ordered more Typhoons than the UK government.

Robert Blay

But they are not buying F35. We will have both, and our Typhoon’s will still be more capable.

Alan Reid

Yes, Robert – but having developed Typhoon since the late-1970s (see P96, P110, ACA, EAP), it is pathetic that this investment only resulted in an order for 160 of this world-beating design – enough to equip a mere seven front-line RAF squadrons.
Ironic, after all the bitching over work-share, that Germany will now order more units than the UK Government!

Robert Blay

They are to replace tranche 1, so will still have less in service then us. and 160 and 7 frontline sqns is far from pathetic. And as i said, ours are more capable. Project centurion cost £425 million alone.

Alan Reid

Robert, You maybe misunderstand me – I know the RAF today is a better equipped and battle-hardened air-force in comparison with the Luftwaffe. That’s not the point I was perhaps inarticulately making …. Although, on the subject of the RAF inventory: It will take a long-time for the F-35B to fully work-up (ie the UK could only deploy five aircraft on last month’s much heralded CBG, and it will only be sending eight on next year’s South Seas sojourn). Essentially, for the moment, the front-line fast-jet strength of the RAF is those seven Typhoon squadrons. And it’s not 160 aircraft… Read more »

John Clark

Absolutely Alan, the Typhoon was once envisioned as a multi roll aircraft, at a single standard for the RAF.
Unfortunately, development moved at a snails pace and we have ended up with the predictable fleets within fleets, it will only get worse with the introduction of E scan on trache 3 machines .

At the very least, all the trache 2 and 3 machines should be upgraded to the same standard….

Robert Blay

Project Centurion brings all tranche 2 & 3 aircraft to a common standard. Truly multi role, and still tones of development to come. Striker 2 DHMS & Mk2 E scan will be game changers.

Robert Blay

Well, thats economics I’m afraid, the Typhoon project cost a fortune, and we have lots of other equipment we need to buy and maintain. Same for the F22, big cost overruns, and they only got 187.

Alan Reid

Hi Robert, Effectively, the UK now spends less than 2% of its GDP on defence. That is argued by many on this forum as a significant under-spend in view of UK responsibilities. The MoD has previously tried to match RAF squadrons to UK commitments. It came up with a requirement for 13 front-line combat-jet units, not the current inadequate number – somewhere between 7 – 9. Until recently, even a single commitment like QRA required five squadrons – but that was mysteriously dropped to a need for only three units! In 2010, the new UK coalition government switched significant funding… Read more »

Robert Blay

Hi Alan. Yes, but with our economy considerably smaller, and a huge amount of debt racking up as we fight COVID-19, it will very much be about economics. And extra money spent on combat aircraft will go towards more F35B’s. todays Typhoon force is coping very well with it’s commitments, which are many. But expanding the F35 force beyond the first 48 will be the priority now, along with further Typhoon development.

Robert Blay

Well, thats economics I’m afraid, the Typhoon project cost a fortune, and we have lots of other equipment we need to buy and maintain. Same for the F22, big cost overruns, and they only got 187. On the plus side, RAF Typhoons are the most capable, and will get the most development over the next 10 + years, and we continue to have the highest availability rates, despite the high use. Airframe life isn’t an issue, and will easily last till 2040 and beyond. The advantage of Typhoon is that it was designed for a tough life, and can still… Read more »

Alan Reid

Robert, Thanks for telling me that Typhoon is, “designed for a tough life, and can still pull 9g ..” lol
Let’s just call this one a day – we’re not connecting. I’m sure that’s my fault ….. Best regards, Alan.

Robert Blay

Hi Alan. I mentioned the 9g part, because older aircraft like Tornado ended up with G restrictions to help with airframe fatigue. I was simply pointing out that Typhoon was designed to be max performed and not exceed it’s airframe limits, so G limits will not be required even 30 + years into it’s career. Thanks for being polite anyway Alan 👍. Rob.

Meirion X

Explain how airframe life is Not an issue?

As far I can remember, airframe life has always been an issue, especially with fast jets!

Robert Blay

Because alot of the profiles the aircraft fly, don’t always put a huge amount of load on the aircraft, and unlike Tornado, Typhoon is designed and built so it can’t be overstressed, the flight control system won’t allow it. Tornado was limited to about 5g. Typhoon won’t have to worry about such limits as it gets further into it’s life.

Meirion X

You are correct on the airframe life issue Alan! When all the remaining tranche 1’s are scraped, the airframe hours will all be spent on the remaining tranche 2s and 3s reducing their life spans.

Graham

The Quadriga order is only the first part of a much larger order which is eventually planned to total 93 Typhoons to replace Tornado along with F-18.

Mark

Given the Spanish have also made plans for more Typhoon’s to replace some of their F18’s I imagine the line is going to be fine for most of the 2020’s

Daniel

Pretty sure the Spanish assemble their own Typhoons, but there will of course be British components.

expat

These orders do nothing to secure UK fast jet production Germany and Spain assemble their own Typhoons we supply parts.

Mark

I was thinking more the actual Typhoon line as a whole not just the UK’s section of it, but I take your point.

Paul T

A relevant Video of this News https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DKbjICkTvY

Blue Fuzz

Finland and Switzerland are considering Typhoon purchases. In addition to the 38 just ordered, Germany may aquire 55 more…

https://www.airrecognition.com/index.php/news/defense-aviation-news/2020/november/6663-germany-approves-the-purchase-of-new-fighter-jets-eurofighter-and-f-18s.html

Paul T

For Finland and Switzerland its looking likely that they will go to Uncle Sam for their next Generation Fighters.

Blue Fuzz

I agree Paul. If they go down the F35 route at least that has 15% UK content.

Alan Reid

Hi Blue Fuzz, But there is a degree of the “emperor’s new clothes” about that 15% content.
Be in no doubt that the United States keeps the high-value design and manufacturing work in it’s own homeland factories – and not offshored to Blighty.

Mark

I doubt Switzerland will go for the 35 tbh.

Dern

Switzerland probably will buy more F/A-18s if it needs more aviation. The types already in service and seems to suit their needs quite well.

Paul T

I agree,the F35A sits at the Higher End of what the Swiss AF is looking for,but like Finland the preservation of their Neutrality comes at a High price.Also with their Referendum Based Political System it might be hard to get the Purchase past the Voting Public.

Alan Reid

Hi Paul, You’re probably right – although I do wonder why supposedly neutral countries like Finland and Switzerland require the advanced strike capabilities of the F-35? They are very unlikely to join the USAF on the first-night of offensive air operations against a sophisticated integrated air-defence network. Indeed, anymore than Belgium would – who also recently joined the F-35 club! Going back to the 1960s, with the F-104 debacle, there does seem to be a history of some air-forces procuring unsuitable aircraft for fashionable rather than practical needs! Through the blogging of the redoubtable Corporal Frisk, however, I’m still somewhat… Read more »

Meirion X

You are wrong on Belgium not needing F-35A’s, Alan!
Belgium has got US tactical Nuclear bombs on its soil to be delivered by it’s own Airforce.

Alan Reid

Hi Meirion

That’s OK – the man who has never made a mistake, has never posted on UKDJ! lol

But doesn’t Belgium store US nuclear weapons on its soil on behalf of NATO – but has no declared sovereign capability to deliver them? It’s all a bit murky!

Challenger

Typhoon and Rafle sit in that problematic middle ground between the budget Gripen and the bells & whistles 5th gen F35. Switzerland seem to want another twin-engine fighter which would rule out the Gripen and don’t have a need for something as advanced and multi-functional as F35 which would favour the 4.5 gen contenders, but as has already been said they will probably go for new F18’s given the cost and their familiarity with them. Finland would on paper seem to favour F35 but i think the offer is slightly over their budget and didn’t do as well as expected… Read more »

BB85

Apart from the Radar, is there any other upgrades announced for the German Tranche 3 aircraft. Has the setup in the cockpit changed since Tranche 1 or any talk of introducing the conformal fuel tanks?

Watcherzero

Only other mentioned upgrade over the Tranche 3A is to countermeasures. However 3 of these 38 ordered will be Instrumented Production Aircraft meaning they will be used for testing further upgrades.

Andy

We should follow China and give interest free loans to encourage countries to buy

BB85

That’s basically what France does to sell Rafale and ships to Egypt and Greece. No idea how they get around those EU competition rules, oh wait that’s right they only seem to apply to the UK. Tbh I would rather we just spent the money improving our own armed forces rather than someone else’s.

Last edited 16 days ago by BB85
Andy

Hate to be political but I voted remain and now I’m rabidly leave and think even though bbc don’t say there’s lot like me not other way. Trouble is they break all competition laws while we follow them. Ie why in 20 years our industry has disappeared while Germany Poland France doing lot better

Mark

No they don’t actually, it’s mainly that the UK industrial leadership has been pretty terrible during that period.

Dern

Because we mismanaged it and disbanded it to focus on a service economy. Don’t blame the EU for our own failings.

Andy

Not true part of the deal for the common market was obviously an attempt to break our industrial supremacy equal at time to Germany. It’s one of things thatcher looked back and regretted

Dern

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.
Oh that’s a cute conspiracy theory.

Andy

Hey thatcher had her faults but for time was better leader than any cabbages on both sides since

Mark

That was never part of the Common Market directly or indirectly, and really doesn’t make sense when you look at how other members of the EU grew their industrial base/economy within the EU.

geoff

Morning Andy. Nothing wrong with being political-it has relevance in most of what is discussed on UKDJ. I am stuck in the middle still. I wish someone could produce a definitive cost/benefit Balance Sheet on Brexit that could help me make up my mind finally!. I have heard some well reasoned opinions from both sides of the fence but maybe the reality is that no one really knows! And as an aside I have yet to hear any idea from the SNP(despite asking over the last years) on what would happen to the UK’s 15 overseas territories if Scotland became… Read more »

Andy

Well most experts say there 10billion £ deficit if Scotland goes alone. Would mean they would have to pick what to lose benefits or healthcare

Mark

Why would a Independent Scotland have any affect on the UKs Overseas territories? They would still have their current relationship with rUK in such a case surely?

Alan Reid

Hi geoff
On Scottish separation, the legal position is quite clear.
Professor Adam Tomkins is an authority on these constitutional matters – and regularly shredded the SNP during 2014.
See also his blog: Notes from North Britain
Example: January 2014
“International law provides that State property would remain the property of the continuator State (the rUK) unless it was located in the territory of the new State (Scotland)”.
Using that guiding principle, oversea territories would remain the responsibility of the continuator state (rUK).

David Barry

Well, the concensus in Latvia has been “let them go,” when you consider the position Dombrovskis has in the EU and there are others I wasn’t surprised to hear on Skynews this morning that there is a significant pact now that share the same opinion.

Should no deal Brexit turn sour, plus COVID, plus a Biden administration seething over the threat to the good Friday Agreement, many people are going to be deeply unhappy next year.

Mark

Defence Industries are always treated differently by all nations in the EU, the UK just never used the options that it could have, then just blamed the EU. There’s no issue with France a) doing deals with non-EU nations at all, and b) no issue with the loans to Greece.

BB85

Yeah I do put most of it down to failed leadership from our own political establishment.
Every major European government defined their domestic industries as strategic and protected them. Labour and the Tories just opened the UK to everyone and anyone and when you look at the amount of senior civil servants and ministers who got lucrative contracts after they left their role corruption was rife.

Andy

I think your right every other major economy protected strategic industry, why not us. Idea of China building a nuclear reactor in USA would be laughable yet here we do

Andy

That’s true don’t blame everything on Eu it’s uk fault we never learned to play the game like other dominant countries.

Mark

The UK was more than “dominant” itself within the EU, one major issue is that the UK consistently put the growth of the City and the tax revenue that generated over other areas of the UK, again though that’s more a decision by generations of UK politicians rather than the EU side.

Challenger

Great news for the UK aviation industry. Both Germany and Spain are almost certainly going to order even more Typhoon’s after this announced batch and despite being assembled locally it’ll mean plenty of work manufacturing components for BAE. I’ve long thought that additional orders from the primary nations would be advantageous not just to keep the production lines ticking over but to also showcase the confidence and investment in the product to other would-be operators. A follow-up Saudi order would be another major boost and it’ll be interesting to see if Indonesia acquiring Austria’s fleet opens the door to more… Read more »

expat

Great for UK companies producing Typhoon parts but Germany will assemble these. UK final assembly line will need to close after the Qatari order. Meaning the UK will no longer produce a fast jet, only parts for fast jets :(.

Last edited 13 days ago by expat