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 Memorandum was signed during the high profile visit of Saudi Crown Prince Salman to London earlier this week.
“This is a positive step towards agreeing a contract for our valued partner. We are committed to supporting the Kingdom as it modernises the Saudi Armed Forces and develops key industrial capabilities critical to the delivery of Vision 2030,” a BAE Systems statement said.
The proposed value of the aircraft could be in excess of US$16 billion, considering that Qatar recently signed up to buy 24 typhoon jets for US$8 billion. However no value has been mentioned by BAE Systems or the UK government.
Also, no timeline has been assigned to finalise the negotiations. Saudi Arabia is already a customer of Typhoon aircraft whose use during the Yemen war has been criticized by rights groups.
However, unlike previous UK-Saudi defence deals, the current Typhoon contract could see significant UK involvement in improving defence manufacturing capabilities in the desert kingdom.
A Saudi Arabian communiqué said the Typhoon Memorandum of Intent seeks to “enhance the Kingdom’s industrial defense capabilities through technology transfer and capability development, training, and building a partnership in research and development on a national and industrial level, and providing technical advisory to the development program of the Ministry of Defense in Saudi Arabia.”