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The decision to cut the Eurofighter programme, which is already £5.4 billion over budget, follows heavy pressure from the Treasury and will be made public in a defence White Paper to be published next month. It means that the number of aircraft the RAF will receive, originally set at 232, will by reduced by a third to 143.
The government is to abandon plans to buy more Eurofighter warplanes in an attempt to control Britain's spiralling defence budget.
Defence chiefs have accepted that the aircraft, which was intended to be the cornerstone of the country's air defence strategy, will be outdated by the time it enters military service in 2006
As well as easing the financial pressure on the Ministry of Defence's annual £31 billion budget, the cuts have also been prompted by the emergence of new, unmanned aircraft, which are seen as the future of aerial warfare. One such warplane, the Predator, was used by the US Air Force to considerable effect in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
All three service chiefs are said to have agreed to the cuts in the Eurofighter - which is now known as the Typhoon - after being assured that the savings will be used to develop future weapon systems. These include unmanned aircraft and "smart missiles", which can be directed by computer on to targets hundreds of miles away with pinpoint accuracy.
Mick McGinty, the editor of World Defence Systems, and a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute, said that the Eurofighter was a "legacy" aircraft that was already obsolete. "It will be operational 10 years behind schedule and therefore will be 10 years out of date," he said.
It was originally conceived in the 1970s, although it did not go into production until the mid-1980s
France broke away in the belief that a ground attack aircraft rather than a fighter was more suited to its needs.
The British government, by contrast, backed the Eurofighter rather than opting to buy an alternative from the US, as some advocated.
During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan there was no enemy air force to fight and the only British and US aircraft that saw any action were the ground attack jets used to support troops, not to fight aerial battles.
Embarrassingly for the Government, however, the first tranche of 55 Eurofighters, which were delivered earlier this year, six years late, are equipped for an air defence role. Only the second tranche of 89 will be capable of undertaking a ground attack role.
The Typhoon is an agile, single seat, multi-role aircraft optimised for high altitude supersonic air combat but also capable of operating at much lower levels in the air-to-ground roles.
One major advantage of the aircraft over current types is its ability to undertake 'swing role' missions. For these, Typhoon can be equipped to undertake both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions in a single sortie, switching between the two separate attack modes in flight, something not possible with a Tornado GR4 for example. And with nine underwing weapon-mounting points, Typhoon will be equipped with 2 x Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAMs), 4 x Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) whilst simultaneously carrying air-to-surface ordnance which could include Laser Guided Bombs (Paveway 2 and 3 or Enhanced Paveway), Brimstone anti-armour weapon, Storm Shadow cruise missiles and Air Launched Anti-Radiation Missiles (ALARMs), the aircraft packs a mighty punch. Ultimately, Meteor, a combination of rocket and air-breathing technology, will replace AMRAAM as Typhoon's primary long range air-to-air missile.
There have also been further problems with engine failures. All Eurofighters are currently grounded because of faults in the braking system.
It is now generally accepted by the air industry that unmanned combat jets will begin to replace manned aircraft within 20 years, only a few years after the final batch of Eurofighters are due to enter service.
New warships, aircraft carriers and the joint strike fighter programme will be scaled back to direct funding towards new equipment programmes and to help pay for the war in Iraq.
RAF's new Eurofighter force to be slashed by a third in defence cuts
deliver the largest planned increase in defence spending in twenty years, with defence spending plans set to increase by £3.5 billion between this year and 2005-06. This includes more than £1 billion in capital investment and £0.5 billion of other resources for new capabilities to enable the UK to continue its leading role in the campaign against international terrorism;
Originally posted by M6D
bulldog, i come here, and i see all this arguing, and the evidence going against your stupid newspaper articles, and i have to tell you...your a moron, stop embarrassing yourself and conceded defeat, your arguments are total trash, using quotes from out of date newspaper articles, that are clearly misinformed is just making you look like more of a idiot, besides the fact that you cannot see your own ignorance, stop been like blair and get rid of that brown nose you got
Originally posted by Bulldog 52
Thanks M6D my brown nose is due to the sunshine we have had recently. I know how the Government works in this country, in the MOD and the people who are responsible for procuring arms for this country are the Upper class twits that are a cancer on British society. They know ****all about what the UK forces need and want removing from their jobs. Ask any squaddie in the Brit army if he thinks hes well catered for. RAF are the same they fly around in stuff made by the Wright brothers but being British don't complain. The Typoon belongs to 1980 , is that 25 years in the past?
Originally posted by Bulldog 52
Thanks for your reply , but how do you know that the Typhoon can beat anything out there ,
its only just come into service and never fought a thing.
You get carried away with making ever thing British a world beater , the facts are ever thing we have is average,
we don't have anything special in weaponry,
the only thing we have first class is the men who have to use the crap equipment.