Saudi Arabia To Sign A Deal With BAE

The UK Government has signed a Memorandum of Intent with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to aim to finalise discussions for the purchase of 48 Eurofighter Typhoon Aircraft worth an estimated US$16 billion.

The Gulf kingdom signed a statement of intent on the final day of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to the country.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Friday, military equipment maker BAE Systems said it signed the preliminary order from Saudi Arabia for 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, without providing any financial details. Around couple of months ago BAE announced a job cut of 2,000 due to reduction in demand if Typhoon jets.

Riyadh and London have made a decision to finalize a multi-billion-dollar contract for the sale of 48 Typhoon fighter jets to the Persian Gulf state.

As Britain and Saudi Arabia are building up their bilateral trade and investment cooperation, defense and security cooperation remains one of their top concerns.

Britain credits Saudi intelligence sharing with saving British lives and has licensed billions of pounds of weapons and ammunition sales to Saudi Arabia.

During Wednesday's parliamentary debate on the issue, Prime Minister Theresa May underscored her government's support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, which she said has been supported by the UN Security Council.

Saudi Arabia could be set to acquire a follow-on batch of 48 Eurofighter Typhoons, pending the conclusion of government-to-government discussions with the United Kingdom disclosed on 9 March.

Friday's blockbuster announcement follows long-running discussions with Saudi Arabia, which already has a total of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon planes in its fleet. The military aggression has so far killed over 13,600 Yemenis.

'If May really cares for the rights of people being repressed in Saudi Arabia, or bombed in Yemen, then she must stop arming and supporting the brutal Saudi dictatorship'.

Ahead of his visit, the crown prince signalled the importance of the UK-Saudi Arabia relationship to security, saying both countries would be "much safer if you have a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia".

Vanessa Coleman