Negotiations advance on Typhoon production in Saudi Arabia
By Gareth Jennings
The Saudi Arabian Alsalam Aircraft Company, a joint venture between Boeing, Saudi Arabian Airways and Saudi Advanced Industries Company, has revealed that it is currently involved in high-level discussions relating to Typhoon and Tornado combat aircraft and Apache attack helicopter programmes in the country.
Speaking at the company's Riyadh facility, Alsalam's president and chief executive officer, Mohammed Fallatah, said that no firm contract had yet been signed regarding in-country Eurofighter Typhoon assembly. However, he confirmed that talks with BAE Systems were proceeding well and that he expected a firm agreement "in the next month or two".
On 17 September 2007 the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) announced its intention to purchase 72 Typhoon aircraft as part of a deal worth GBP4.43 billion (USD8.9 billion).
Under the agreement, Alsalam will be contracted by BAE Systems to assemble 48 aircraft at a yet to be built facility in Taif in southwest Saudi Arabia. These aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2011 and it is this timetable that makes the signing of a firm assembly contract a matter of urgency.
Fallatah said that, as it takes two years to get all the systems for such a programme in place, "time is running out to reach an agreement". He added that all parties are aware of the situation and are working closely to resolve it.
Image: Alsalam recently started work on Tornado Sustainment Programme 2 for the RSAF's fleet of 84 strike aircraft 222 of 801 words
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