The four nations involved in the Eurofighter Typhoon military aircraft consortium signed a long-awaited contract in late July to buy more of the controversial fighter jets. The breakthrough represents a much-needed financial boost for a program central to European defense cooperation, one that, like other European defense projects, has been dogged by technical problems and spiraling costs.
The $13 billion deal between Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain for another 112 Eurofighters followed many months of debate over the cost of keeping production lines open amid growing concerns over budgets and defense priorities.
Under the original Eurofighter umbrella contract signed in 1998, the founder nations agreed to buy a total of 620 of the jets, in three stages or tranches, through 2017. At the time, Britain agreed to take 232* of the 620 aircraft, with the rest split among Germany, Italy and Spain. The four countries divided work on the plane according to the number of aircraft each country planned to buy.