Austria wants to end Eurofighter programme early

VIENNA: Austria wants to end its Eurofighter jet programme early and replace it with a cheaper alternative fleet of aircraft leased from another government, its defence minister said on Friday, amid a legal battle over the jets with Airbus.
Austria sued Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium, including Britain’s BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo, in February, alleging deception and fraud linked to a near 2 billion euro ($2.3 billion) jet order in 2003. Airbus and the consortium have denied the accusations.
The charges were the latest in a series of rows between Austria and the consortium, which have sparked two parliamentary inquiries and resulted in Airbus boss Tom Enders being investigated by Vienna prosecutors.
The defence ministry said in a statement that Austria’s 15 Eurofighter jets could be phased out from 2020. The continued use of the Eurofighter planes for 30 years — the normal life span of such jets — would cost up to 5 billion euros. — Reuters