The Eurofighter Typhoon flies during the Dubai Airshow on Monday. (Marwan Naamani / Getty Images)
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DUBAI — Britain is investigating whether to adopt an American-style foreign military sales (FMS) program, but defense procurement minister Philip Dunne said the approach wouldn’t be used to sell Typhoon fighter jets in the Arabian Gulf or elsewhere.
Dunne, appearing at the Dubai Airshow Monday to promote Britain’s defense export effort, said the Defence Ministry is in the early stages of investigating whether elements of the highly successful FMS framework could be adapted for use by the British.
But while talking to reporters at the show, the procurement chief said that even if Britain goes ahead with its own scheme, it wouldn’t include international collaborative ventures.
“We are exploring whether we should establish some kind of British equivalent to FMS for defense sales. It’s early days and I can’t give any indications where we will come out on that,” Dunne said. “But it won’t apply to collaborative ventures, so it’s most unlikely to apply to the four nation Eurofighter Typhoon.”
The procurement minister said internal work is underway at the MoD, with a report on findings expected in the second half of next year.
British government ministers have been in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in force this week in support of an export effort to sell the Typhoon in a number of countries in the region, including Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE itself.
Dunne, who announced a small contract with missile-maker MBDA for upgrade and sustainment of Dual Mode Brimstone stocks at the show, confirmed that if Typhoon customers wouldn’t benefit from any potential FMS plan, they still might gain from governance changes being considered for the Typhoon program.
The procurement minister said that with the emphasis on the Typhoon set to eventually shift away from production to capability enhancements for existing and future customers, the way the program is run might change to be able to move faster to accommodate export customers requirements.
“Instead of focusing on individual nation’s requirements, we become more focused on the requirements of export customers. We think that should lead to some changes in the way the Eurofighter construct is organized,” he said. “It’s something we wish to do in order to be able react to the speed of the customer and the customer is rather a different entity once it is no longer an air force of one of the partner nations that owns the business. ... It’s a change of emphasis rather than a criticism of the way it’s been organized in the past.”
The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency runs the program on behalf of the British, German, Italian and Spanish governments; the Eurofighter consortium oversees the industrial aspects of the program.
Eurofighter consortium members BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica have been discussing possible improvements to the way the organization is run since the Typhoon was beaten into place second place for the Indian fighter contract by the French government and Dassault Aviation with the Rafale fighter.