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Eurofighter keen to upgrade Austria's jets - Die Presse

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Eurofighter keen to upgrade Austria's jets - Die Presse
FILE PHOTO - The first Austrian military jet fighter "Eurofighter Typhoon" lands on the military airport in the small Styrian village of Zeltweg July 12, 2007. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger   -   Copyright  Leonhard Foeger(Reuters)
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VIENNA (Reuters) – The Eurofighter group, locked in a legal dispute with Austria over a $2 billion (£1.58 billion) deal for its warplanes, has offered to upgrade the jets for significantly less than 200 million euros (£180.81 million), its chief executive told Austrian daily Die Presse.

Austria last week delayed a decision on whether to scrap or upgrade its Eurofighters over a legal battle with the Eurofighter consortium, which includes Airbus <AIR.PA>, Britain’s BAE Systems <BAES.L> and Italy’s Leonardo <LDOF.MI>.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he wanted to wait until a parliamentary inquiry into the warplanes deal wraps up and there was clarity over the legal dispute, before making a final decision.

Vienna accuses the consortium of fraud and wilful deception over the 2003 order for the warplanes, charges it denies. Eurofighter CEO Volker Paltzo told Die Presse the allegations were “unsustainable”.

Eurofighter’s offer “includes overhaul and logistics, the demanded upgrade and more flying hours”, Volker Paltzo was quoted as saying in an interview published on Thursday.

“We would like to continue the cooperation,” he said.

One option Austria could consider would be to buy used jets from other governments, official say.

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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