The UK Government has signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to aim to finalise discussions for the purchase of 48 Typhoon Aircraft, BAE Systems said in a brief statement on Friday.
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, the statement added.
Back in April 2016, the Saudi government approved major reform plans dubbed “Vision 2030” that are aimed at diversifying the nation’s oil-dependent economy.
The multi-billion pound deal was unveiled on the third and final day of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Britain.
Friday’s announcement follows long-running discussions with Saudi Arabia, which already has a total of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon planes in its fleet.
The news comes after Qatar inked a deal late last year to buy 24 Typhoon jets for some $8.0 billion.
Eurofighter was developed by a European consortium that also comprises Italy’s Finmeccanica and Franco-German civilian plane maker Airbus.
The Eurofighter Typhoon has four major customers comprising Austria, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi.
During his trip to the United Kingdom, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense met with British Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
During the meeting they reviewed the bilateral relations, areas of strategic cooperation between the two countries, ways of enhancing them, especially in the defense and military fields, and the promising opportunities in line with the Kingdom Vision 2030, in addition to developments in the Middle East and the world and efforts being exerted to combat terrorism and extremism.
The two sides expressed their satisfaction on the issues were discussed and the mechanisms for joint coordination in this regard.
Then they signed two memoranda and arrangements for strengthening defense capabilities and deepening cooperation and partnership through the transferring and localization of technology, industrial partnership, training, research and development and technical consultation in line with the Kingdom Vision 2030.
Later, Memorandums of Understanding and arrangements for strengthening military cooperation in a number of areas were signed.
His Royal Highness the Crown Prince also inspected a number of British BAE Systems products made by Saudi trainees through the participation of Saudi companies working in the military field, and he was briefed on the company‘s future plans to further transferring, localization of technology, training and employment of Saudi citizens.
The meeting was attended by the military delegation accompanying the Crown Prince and a number of senior officials of British Ministry of Defence, SPA added.
Following his departure from the United Kingdom, Prince Mohammed sent a cable of thanks to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to him and the accompanying delegation while hailing the historic and strong relations between the UK and the Kingdom.