The Austrian government used a press conference in Vienna on 16 February to announce it intends to sue Airbus and Eurofighter, alleging wilful deception and fraud in the near €2 billion order for Eurofighter TYPHOONs 14 years ago. Damages could amount to €1.1 billion, Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil announced.

The suit centres on allegations that Airbus and Eurofighter misled Austria regarding purchase price, availability and specific equipment of the aircraft. (The original requirement for 18 TYPHOONs was reduced to 15 in 2007). In addition, there has been constant speculation regarding the possibility that significant sums were pocketed by politicians and civil servants, among others. These bribery allegations prompted the Austrian government to launch a review of the purchase in 2014.

A statement issued by Airbus on 17 February expresses surprise that the allegations were raised in the forum of a press conference, without any prior discussion, saying that it is lacking substantial information. “We cannot see any foundation in particular for the allegations of bad faith and fraud….the company is continuing its policy of actively supporting the authorities in investigating concrete suspicions,” the statement concludes.

Austria’s TYPHOON purchase was politically controversial from the start. (Photo: Eurofighter)

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