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12:14 PM, July 7, 2017
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Austria Prefers Govt-to-Govt Deal Over Tendering For Fighter Aircraft Lease
Eurofighter Typhoon fitted with Storm Shadow missile (Image: BAE Systems)

Austria prefers a government-to-government deal to lease fighter aircraft rather than issuing a tender that would take longer timeframe and might jeopardize 2020-2023 timeframe.

Austria has sued Airbus and Eurofighter consortium (which includes BAE systems and Leonardo) in February this year alleging fraud linked to $2.3 billion jet order in 2003.

Austria wants to end the program and replace it with cheaper alternative leased from another government; Reuters quoted Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil as saying Friday.

The charges were the latest in a series of rows between Austria and the consortium, which have sparked two parliamentary inquiries and resulted in Airbus boss Tom Enders being investigated by Vienna prosecutors.

The defense ministry said in a statement that Austria's 15 Eurofighter jets could be phased out from 2020. The continued use of the Eurofighter planes for 30 years - the normal life span of such jets - would cost up to 5 billion euros.

Buying and operating a new fleet comprised of 15 single-seater and three twin-seater supersonic jets over the same period could be 2 billion euros cheaper than continuing its current program, the ministry said.

"It is necessary to get a grip on the overflowing costs of the Eurofighter," Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil said.

The ministry said it had already been in touch with other governments, air forces and aircraft producers.

Such a government-to-government deal could involve the other country buying the jets from one of its national producers whose planes have self-defense systems, radar-guided missiles and can operate at night and at supersonic speed.

The tranche 1 type of the Eurofighter jets which Austria uses is also in operation in Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain.

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