Procurement: June 14, 2002


Austria wants to buy 24 modern supersonic fighters for $1.4 billion. The three bidders are the Swedish JAS-39 Gryphon, the American F-16, and the Eurofighter Typhoon. As the Austrians are pushing for low cost, several creative deals were offered and rejected. Eurofighter claimed its aircraft was so good that the Austrians need only 18; Sweden offered a bizarre lease deal, and the US offered used F-16s discarded by the Air National Guard. Now the Austrians say they want the planes delivered in 2005, but want six used aircraft of the same type available for immediate lease. This would let the Austrians discard their worn-out JAS-35 Drakens, saving the Austrians millions (as the maintenance costs are very high), while maintaining a trained pilot corps.--Stephen V Cole


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