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France, UK, US to compete Saudi fighter requirement

Having previously signalled its intent to acquire 48 new Eurofighter Typhoons in addition to the 72 already received (pictured), Saudi Arabia is now looking at the Boeing F-15EX Eagle II and the Dassault Rafale for its future requirements also. (Saudi Press Agency)

France, the United Kingdom, and the United States are to bid on Saudi Arabia's pending combat aircraft requirement, with the Middle East country holding a full and open competition for the first time.

A senior industry official with knowledge of the requirement told Janes and other defence media in late April of Riyadh's decision to hold a competition between the Dassault Rafale, the Boeing F-15EX Eagle II, and the Eurofighter Typhoon respectively, when previously, political considerations would be uppermost in its considerations for such high-end military hardware.

The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) has an outstanding requirement of approximately 50 combat aircraft to add to the 83 Boeing F-15SA Advanced Eagles, 63 F-15S Eagles, 66 F-15C Eagles, 20 F-15D Eagles, 72 Eurofighter Typhoons, and 79 Panavia Tornados it currently fields.

Boeing Middle East said from its official X (formerly Twitter) account on 26 April that US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia H E Michael Ratney experienced its F-15EX simulator during the US National Day celebration held at the embassy in Riyadh. French media reported in late 2023 that Paris was to negotiate the procurement of 54 Rafales, while the UK government has for some years been looking to finalise the second tranche of Saudi Arabia's Eurofighter buy, after deliveries of the original 72 were completed in 2017.

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