The UK government is reportedly stepping up efforts to enable BAE Systems sell more Typhoon aircraft.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed to be a supremely effective dogfighter when in combat with other aircraft. Later production aircraft have been increasingly better equipped to undertake air to surface missions and to be compatible with a likewise increasing number of different armaments and equipment including Storm Shadow and Brimstone.
The push to export the jet will be led by the Ministry of Defence rather than the Business Department, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said at DSEI this week.
“The MoD will be stepping up its role in export promotion and will now lead on key strategic export campaigns including Typhoon and complex weapons.”
Typhoon has attracted fewer orders this year than the Frances Rafale aircraft, an aircraft of similar performance. In 2012–2013, the Typhoon competed with the Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle and the F-35 for the ROKAF’s F-X Phase III fighter competition. In August 2013 it was announced that the F-15SE was the only remaining candidate, however the award was cancelled and in November 2013, it was announced that the ROKAF will purchase 40 F-35A’s. One of the more notable failures to secure orders was in India, Typhoon was one of the six aircraft competing for the Indian MRCA competition for 126 multi-role fighters. In 2011, the Indian Air Force shortlisted the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon for the US$10.4 billion contract. In 2012, the IAF announced the Rafale as the preferred bidder in the competition.
Development of the aircraft began in 1983 with the Future European Fighter Aircraft programme, a multinational collaborative effort between the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Because of disagreements over design authority and operational requirements, France left the consortium to develop the Dassault Rafale independently instead. A technology demonstration aircraft, the British Aerospace EAP, first took flight on 6 August 1986; the first prototype of the finalised Eurofighter made its first flight on 27 March 1994. The name of the aircraft, Typhoon, was formally adopted in September 1998; the first production contracts were signed that same year.
The MoD has reportedly declined to give more detail about its plans to promote exports at this point.