Speaking in the House of Commons, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Dunne, said that the Ministry of Defence is currently reviewing its earlier decision to retire 53 Tranche 1 Typhoon combat aircraft in 2018.
Asked by Toby Perkins:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the consequences for the UK’s capability of the retirement in 2018 of the 53 Typhoon aircraft purchased in tranche 1; and if he will reverse this decision in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Strategic Review.”
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Dunne answered:
“The Ministry of Defence is reviewing the potential utility of all its current platforms, including its fleet of Tranche 1 Typhoon aircraft, as part of the ongoing Strategic Defence and Security Review. Where there is clear merit in extending the life of existing equipment in terms of both military utility and value-for-money, the opportunity to do so will be considered in the context of the wider Review. It is therefore not appropriate to anticipate decisions on the Typhoon Tranche 1, or other capabilities, that have not yet been made.”
The RAF currently field 192 combat aircraft, made up of 87 Tornados; 53 Tranche 1 Typhoons; and 52 Tranche 2 and Tranche 3A Typhoons, deliveries of which are ongoing.
General Sir Nick Houghton, the Chief of the Defence Staff, used an air power conference in London to publicly warn how thinly stretched the RAF is. He said the RAF was now at “the very limits of fast jet availability and capacity”.
BAE Systems, which makes Typhoon are lobbying for the MoD to upgrade the Tranche 1 Typhoons.