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Germany drops opposition to Saudi Eurofighter sale

With a German minister saying Saudi Arabian Eurofighter combat aircraft have been intercepting Houthi missiles bound for Israel, Berlin has dropped its previous opposition to a follow-on sale to the Kingdom. (BAE Systems)

Germany has dropped its long-standing opposition to a follow-on sale of Eurofighter combat aircraft to Saudi Arabia, it was reported on 8 January.

German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock announced the shift in policy in comments made to journalists during a visit to Israel, Agence France-Presse (AFP), Reuters, and other news agencies reported.

โ€œWe do not see the German government opposing British considerations for more Eurofighters for Saudi Arabia. The world, especially here in the Middle East, has become a completely different place since [the Hamas attack on Israel on] 7 October [2023],โ€ Baerbock was quoted as saying.

โ€œThe fact that Saudi Arabia is now intercepting missiles fired by the Houthi at Israel underlines this, and we are grateful for that,โ€ the minister reportedly added, saying, โ€œThe fact that the Saudi air force also uses Eurofighters in this context is an open secret. Saudi Arabia is a key contributor to Israel's security, even these days, and is helping to stem the risk of a regional conflagration.โ€

The Eurofighter consortium of Airbus (Germany and Spain), BAE Systems (United Kingdom), and Leonardo (Italy) told Janes it was not commenting on the report.

Saudi Arabia ordered 72 Eurofighters in 2007, and at an estimated GBP20 billion (then valued at USD41 billion), it was one of the largest defence procurement contracts ever signed. The UK was the lead partner for the sale to Saudi Arabia, with deliveries to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) being completed in 2017.

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