PICTURE: Alenia delivers sections for first Tranche 3 Eurofighter

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Alenia Aermacchi has shipped the rear fuselage and left wing for the first Tranche 3A example of the Eurofighter combat aircraft to industrial partner BAE Systems' Warton final assembly site in Lancashire, the UK.

Pictured before leaving the Italian company's Caselle plant near Turin in late September, the parts will be mated with UK Royal Air Force Typhoon BS116.


Alenia Aermacchi

BAE rolled the aircraft's front fuselage off its Samlesbury production site in Lancashire in late August, and the single-seat fighter will be flown for the first time in 2013.

A total of 112 Tranche 3A aircraft will be manufactured for Eurofighter partner nations Germany (31), Italy (21), Spain (20) and the UK (40).

The Eurofighter consortium says a contract for the programme's possible Tranche 3B production phase should be signed before a deadline of December 2013. Failure to reach agreement with its customer nations on the remaining aircraft contained within their original 620-unit commitment would see production of the type come to an end in late 2017.