the UK will move ahead with its international partners with the final stages of procuring a third batch of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for the Royal Air Force.
The NATO Eurofighter Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) will continuenegotiations with industry with a view to getting the best possibledeal for the Partner Nations (UK, Germany, Italy and Spain).Negotiations will address both procurement and support costs.
The Prime Minister said:
"I am pleased that we are moving forward with this important programme with our partner nations. This will strengthen Britain's defence capability, and will create new jobs in advanced manufacturing that Britain needs to emerge stronger and fitter from this global downturn.
The Defence Secretary John Hutton said:
"We look forward to receiving an affordable bid from European industrythat will allow us to proceed with a programme that will deliveradvanced multi-role aircraft to the Royal Air Force and maintainhigh-technology skills and industrial capability acrossthe UK and Europe.
"Subject to the satisfactory outcome of these negotiations, I hopethat we will be in a position to sign a contract later this year."
The MoD will now initial the ministerial agreement which the otherpartner nations (Germany, Italy and Spain) signed on 2 April 2009. Thisagreement contains a statement of principles, including the need toachieve significant through-life savings, which will underpin the nextstage of negotiations between NETMA which acts as the contracting agenton behalf of the partner nations and industry.
The contract for the third tranche of Typhoon aircraft will besigned once there is a satisfactory conclusion to these negotiations,and each Partner Nation's Approving Authority has accepted the terms ofagreement.