Saudi Arabia to buy 72 Euro fighters from UK
Saudi Arabia-UK, Politics, 8/18/2006
The UK government confirmed today that it has agreed a deal reportedly worth up to 10 billion pounds (19 billion dollars) to sell Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to Saudi Arabia.
The Ministry of Defense said that it had signed an "understanding document" with the Saudi government "intended to establish a greater partnership in modernizing the Saudi Arabian armed forces." "The required commercial principles have now been agreed which has initiated the purchase of Typhoon aircraft and the associated commitment to the industrial plan to be launched," the MoD said in a statement without giving any further details.
According to the Financial Times, the agreement, which is being handled through Britain's main defense manufacturer, BAE Systems, is worth 10 billion pounds and will replace Saudi Arabia's existing fleet of Tornado aircraft also supplied by the UK.
The agreement comes 20 years after the UK first signed the Al Yamamah deal, accumulatively been worth over Pnds 40 bn, and will extend Britain's biggest-ever export deal for the next 25 years.
Defense Secretary Des Browne signed the latest deal, which will see Saudi Arabia acquire 72 Eurofighter jets, four weeks ago and his counterpart, Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, signed up in the last week, the Financial Times said.
The order for the Eurofighter, built jointly in Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, is the first outside Europe after the planes development has been hit by delays and costs going significantly over budget.
Work on the Typhoon, which is in competition with the US Joint Strike Fighter and the French Rafael, first started in the 1980s, but the first maiden flight did not take place until 1994.
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