The Government is playing down a dispute which could delay the signing of the first production contract for 48 Eurofighters until after next week’s Farnborough air show.
The dispute revolves around who should be responsible for the £30bn lifetime support package for British Eurofighters: the RAF alone, or the RAF in collaboration with industry.
The Ministry of Defence denied the issue hung on maintenance of the new aircraft. ‘We are looking at our overall long-term support strategy,’ it said. ‘Those decisions have not been taken and it won’t delay the signature of the first production batch contract’.
The MoD had presumed an RAF-industry collaborative maintenance deal would be better value, and had not realised that the RAF alone could support the aircraft more cheaply.
The MoD said it is negotiating the first-batch production contracts. ‘We will be signing contracts as soon as conditions are agreed this is the next milestone,’ a spokesman said.