Hallbergmoos: The Austrian Air Force's first Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, AS001, was delivered today at its home base at Zeltweg. Under a modified contract, Austria is now due to take delivery of 15 aircraft, three less than the originally contracted 18.
Three more Eurofighters will be delivered to Zeltweg in August, October and December, with the rest following in 2008.
According to Eurofighter Gmbh, the first flight of the second aircraft, AS002, took place at EADS Military Air Systems at Manching on 9 July 2007, while aircraft AS003 through AS006 are in the final assembly process at EADS in Manching.
Aloysius Rauen, CEO Eurofighter GmbH, commented: "The Eurofighter consortium is extremely pleased at having delivered the first of 15 aircraft for Austria and is looking forward to delivering according to schedule over the next two years. The consortium is convinced that the Austrian Air Force now has the best equipment available worldwide to safeguard the nation's airspace. Air Forces in five nations now operate the Eurofighter Typhoon, confirming the market leader position of the Eurofighter programme."
Meanwhile, the AS001 landed at the Zeltweg air base with Austrian politicians continuing to take pot shots at each other. Social Democrat defence minister, Norbert Darabos, had signed a deal in June with the European aerospace group, EADS, to purchase only 15 jets, down from the initial 18 ordered four years earlier, cutting the 2 billion euro ($2.7 billion) contract by 400 million euros.
His party had come to power last year pledging to scrap the contract, saying small, neutral Austria did not need the high-tech Eurofighter.
AS001 is the 125th Eurofighter Typhoon to be delivered to the five customer air forces in Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Austria. The nations' fleets have accumulated over 21,700 flight hours by the end of June 2007, in addition to 5,200 hours flown by the industry test aircraft.
With delivery of GS025 on 04 July 2007 and now the AS001, all five customer nations now operate aircraft with the latest Block 5 capability. All earlier delivered aircraft will be upgraded to the Block 5 standard under the Retrofit R2 programme, with 16 aircraft currently undergoing this modification process.