Saturday, July 16, 2011

Combat Aircraft Monthly 2011-08

On June 9 the Luftwaffe's Jagdgeschwader 74 celebrated its 50th anniversary at its home base of Neuburg. The event drew 11 Eurofighters from the three Luftwaffe wings as well as an example from the Austrian AF. Specially marked EF2000 30+48 took part in a four-ship formation display over the base. Meanwhile in the UK, BAE Systems has completed production of 24 Typhoons for Saudi Arabia, diverted from RAF Tranche 2 slots and rapidly supplied under the AI Salam deal. The deal included a further 48 aircraft to be assembled in-country at a new plant in Dhahran. However, even though plans were formed in 2009 to commence sending ship-sets to Saudi Arabia in order to maintain an uninterrupted production flow, the deal for a Saudi final assembly line is still to be finalized and the kits remain at Warton. Aircraft serials 313-316 were at Warton awaiting delivery in late May, representing the last Royal Saudi AF aircraft to be processed through final assembly at Warton. With the deal to establish a production line in Dhahran seemingly still not in place it would seem inevitable that additional RSAF aircraft will need to be assembled at the UK facility. The first 24 aircraft for the RSAF comprise serials 1001-1008 for 10 Squadron, the RSAF Typhoon Operational Evaluation Unit, plus serials 301-316 for 3 Squadron, the OCU (Operational Conversion Unit). The remaining 48 aircraft are for front-line RSAF units.