Typhoon package is the best deal
Cost of aircraft can go down, says Eurofighter.
Eurofighter's director for its Typhoon Malaysia programme was responding to negative news reports that the multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) was too costly.
"Our approach is to provide a figure... this can go down later (depending on what the requirements are)," he said at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition.
Malin said other offers might appear cheaper but might not have the same complete package as that being offered by Eurofighter for the Typhoon. He added that the price per aircraft could also be lowered depending on the number of aircraft ordered.
"You can say that this is the only 'next generation' fighter in the world right now," he said.
Recent news reports had placed the price of each aircraft at up to RM3 billion, prompting calls from various quarters to ditch the Typhoon from the shortlist of planes to eventually replace the Royal Malaysian Air Force's fleet of Russian-made MiG-29N Fulcrum air superiority fighters. Others said to be on the shortlist are Dassault Aviation's Rafale, Saab's JAS-39 Gripen, Sukhoi's SU-35E Flanker and the Boeing F/A-18EF Super Hornet.
(The SU-35 is an upgraded version of the RMAF's SU-30MKM, while the Super Hornet is the latest version of the air force's F/A-18D Hornets.)
The Typhoon, Rafale and Super Hornet are all taking part in the airshow at this year's Lima.
Malin, while admitting the cost may be high for the Typhoon, would not however divulge the actual price.
He said Eurofighter had been meeting RMAF officials over the offer, adding that it had also met the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) and the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (Might).
IAN Malin had this to say, "Compare apples with apples. We have the full package."
Meeting Mida and Might officials would be a must for aerospace industry players wanting to push their products to the government as Malaysia requires off-set programmes for any deal.
Malin said three RMAF pilots had conducted familiarisation flights when Typhoon aircraft took part in last month's Five Power Defence Agreement (FPDA) exercise.
(The FPDA is an agreement between Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand which guarantees that the latter three would come to the aid of the first two should they come under attack.)
Meanwhile, Wing Commander Anthony "Foxy" Gregory of the British Royal Air Force said the Typhoon had performed admirably during the recent North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) operation in Libya.
He said 10 RAF and a number of Italian Air Force Typhoons had seen action in Libya, with the British aircraft alone having flown more than 700 sorties involving more than 3,000 flying hours.
Gregory said the British Typhoons achieved 97 per cent of the tasks set out for them, with the only failures coming not from the lack of capability of the aircraft but because of external factors such as weather.
The RAF squadron scored a 99 per cent success rate against fixed targets and a 98 per cent success rate against mobile targets.
"This aircraft has unmatched flight performance and carefree handling. It is easy to use and has a fully-integrated weapons system."
Gregory said Typhoon pilots had coined a term -- the "Typhoon Grin" -- for the smile each pilot has on his face after he flies the aircraft.
The Typhoon is now on the rolls of several European air forces. India and Japan are evaluating the aircraft for their MRCA programmes and are reported to be close to making a decision.
Apart from Malaysia, the company is also aiming to push the aircraft to the Gulf states and other air forces in Europe.
Source: 9 December 2011 - The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad News (www.nst.com.my)
Photo: Royal Malaysian Air Force MiG-29Ns in action during Lima. The search is on to find their replacement. A daring split by the Royal Malaysian Air Force Mig-29N aerobatics team, The Smokey Bandits. Shot taken during LIMA '11 airshow.(Photo by aerobaticteams.net)
Photo Story: The “Smokey Bandits” are the current Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) aerobatic display team. They fly with five MiG-29N/NUB fighters, using another one as a spare. All the team's aircraft are painted in a standard gray camouflage scheme. Based at Kuantan, the team is a unit of No. 17/19 Skn (Squadron), which is also known as the “Taufan Ganas”. All of the team's pilots are operational fighter pilots, including a female pilot, Major Patricia Yap Syau Yin, who flies as a solo. The “Smokey Bandits” demonstration team was first formed in 2001. From 6 to 9 July 2011, the “Smokey Bandits” made their international debut during the Brunei International Defence Exhibition (BRIDEX). The other main events at which the team performs are the Formula One “PETRONAS” Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit and at the “LIMA” Airshow.