While we had hopes that Malaysia could be a possible candidate for new Typhoons it seems that the government’s budget woes are forcing them to now look at aircraft leasing instead. BAE are said to be working on a bid that would see at least some of the RAF’s Tranche 1 Typhoons leased to Malaysia.
While it will do little to keep the Typhoon production lines open it could well be a god send for the MOD which is due to write off several billion pounds worth of Typhoons before the end of the decade.
Could this be a model I wonder for other cash strapped developing economies who have a need for something high end like the Typhoon but have little budget to acquire such a high end capability. The Philippines springs to mind straight away but I would have to wonder if they would even have the money to lease the aircraft.
Another option could be India. The French Rafale deal seems to have completely stalled and the Indians originally chose a foreign aircraft because they needed something quick.
Could a lease of Tranche 1 Typhoons solve their problem and help the Indian Air Force get around their domestic aircraft industry with the promise of future Indian based production of Typhoon’s? The Typhoon has a major advantage over Rafale in this respect given the large number of Tranche 1 aircraft that European nations are looking to offload.
If Typhoon production can keep going long enough it might even be the case that nations leasing Tranche 1 aircraft will eventually buy new tranches of aircraft.
A wider Typhoon user base would certainly benefit us as we would have more potential partners to develop systems with. An income stream from tranche 1 leases would also help the MOD greatly at the end of the decade when costs of acquiring F35 and the successor submarine program are likely to ravish the procurement budget. I have not seen Typhoon sales factored in to the ten year equipment plan so one could surmise this would be additional money. In addition it also helps us develop a bit of defence diplomacy in a key operating area and may lead to further sales in the future with the likes of Indonesia.