Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in fact has signed a memorandum of intent with the U.K. government for 48 Eurofighters.
Noteworthy Saudi Arabia commitment to Eurofighter program provides a much-needed boost to the aircraft.
As reported by Bloomberg, the agreement was announced during a three-day state visit by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the U.K., where the nations have agreed a goal of 65 billion pounds of mutual trade and investment in coming years.
“Today’s news is a positive step towards agreeing a contract for our valued partner,” BAE Chief Executive Officer Charles Woodburn said in the statement on Mar. 9, 2018. “We are committed to supporting the kingdom as it modernises the Saudi armed forces and develops key industrial capabilities.”
The accord, which falls short of a formal purchase agreement, comes at a crucial time for BAE. The company in fact has cut jobs and slowed Eurofighter Typhoon production as the backlog for the warplane thins out, adding pressure on the company to lock down more sales.
A new Saudi order would follow a 72-plane deal placed in 2005. Expectations for a new order, which started mounting in 2014, have since been dropped from the company’s annual guidance, indicating no agreement was expected in the short-term.
“We have taken a vital step towards finalising another order for Typhoon jets that will increase security in the Middle East and boost British industry and jobs in our unrivalled aerospace sector,” U.K. Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said in a statement.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed originally as an air superiority fighter and is manufactured by a consortium of Alenia Aermacchi (Leonardo since 2017), Airbus, and BAE Systems.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed to be a supremely effective dogfighter in combat. Later production aircraft have been increasingly better equipped to undertake air-to-surface strike missions and to be compatible with an increasing number of different armaments and equipment, including Storm Shadow and the RAF’s Brimstone. The Typhoon had its combat debut during the 2011 military intervention in Libya with the UK’s Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force, performing aerial reconnaissance and ground-strike missions. The type has also taken primary responsibility for air-defence duties for the majority of customer nations.
Photo credit: Gordon Zammit via Wikipedia
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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