Saudi Arabia has firmed-up its long-awaited procurement of an additional 48 Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, with a memorandum of intent (MOI) being signed on 9 March.
The MOI for the BAE Systems-built aircraft was announced by the company in a notification to the London Stock Exchange. It is understood to have been signed by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, and UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson during a meeting at Royal Air Force (RAF) Northolt in north London.
An announcement pertaining to the additional Typhoons had been expected for some time, but controversy surrounding Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war in Yemen in general and the role of its UK-supplied Typhoons in that war in particular meant that it was uncertain if it would take place during the crown prince’s state visit to the UK.
No contract value or delivery timeline was disclosed.
Saudi Arabia ordered 72 Tranche 2 Typhoon aircraft in 2007, and at an estimated GBP20 billion (USD41 billion at the time) it was one of the largest defence procurement contracts ever signed. Under that agreement, the first 24 aircraft were to be built by BAE Systems at its Warton production facility, with the remaining 48 to be built in Saudi Arabia itself by the Alsalam Aircraft Company. This plan did not come to fruition, however, and all 72 aircraft were built in the UK with Saudi Arabia focusing its attentions on delivering in-country through-life support to the fleet instead.
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