Munich: Italy and Britain are trying to reduce their existing orders for the Eurofighter Typhoon, according to a report in the German business newspaper Handelsblatt due to appear on Monday. The Typhoon is a fifth generation fighter jet being jointly built by the aerospace companies of four European nations, Germany, UK, Spain and Italy.
The report quotes consortium chief executive, Aloysius Rauen, as saying that Italy has asked the Eurofighter consortium, which is producing the Typhoon, for details as to how it could pick up fewer of the 46 jets that it is due to pick up from the third and final tranche.
According to the report, Britain was also reviewing its order for 88 Typhoons looking at how it could halve the order. The third tranche comprises an order of 236 jets from all the four countries.
Defence and aerospace companies from Britain, Italy, Germany and Spain are jointly building the plane under a treaty that has been marred by controversies from the beginning owing to the huge cost as well as the risk of price over-runs.
According to the original agreement, each nation is committed to buying a proportion of the 620 Eurofighters that are due to be produced in three tranches by 2017.
"The two nations have requested information that involves reducing the number of units they buy," said Rauen. "The hurdles to get out of ordering are high. If a nation lapses, it has to compensate the others." Rauen said the German and Spanish orders remained steady.
The four governments have already approved orders by their defence ministries for the second tranche.