Europe’s largest defense contractor BAE Systems announced Wednesday that the governments of the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia have agreed on new pricing for the sale of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets.
The multi-billion dollar deal, signed in 2007 and widely reported by international media to stand at around $7.5 billion, would be a huge boost of confidence and support for the Eurofighter Typhoon jets outside of Europe. BAE builds the fighter jet with European aerospace group Airbus and Italian defense contractor Finmeccanica.
The Eurofighter, which has only been used in battle once during NATO’s air campaign against Moammar Gadhafi in Libya’s 2011 civil war, is aggressively trying to woo buyers away from the French Rafale fighter and American F-35s and F-16s.
BAE Systems failed to strike a deal with the United Arab Emirates, whose officials pulled out of talks to buy 60 Typhoon jets despite a visit to the Middle East by British Prime Minister David Cameron late last year to push for the sale.
The Middle East market remains largely dominated by Lockheed Martin’s fighter jets. While the Typhoon deal marks an important sale for BAE Systems, it is modest compared with Saudi Arabia’s $60 billion deal in 2011 that included more than 80 F-15 fighter jets, missiles, radar warning systems and other equipment from the United States.
BAE Systems Chief Executive Ian King said the new pricing agreement was “an equitable outcome for all parties.” BAE said payment from the deal was expected in the first-half of this year, but gave no further details.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are fortifying their military capabilities to counter a perceived threat from regional rivals, particularly Iran.
BAE Systems secured a $4.1 billion deal with Oman for 20 aircraft in 2012, which included 12 Typhoon fighter jets.
The new pricing agreement was announced a day after Prince Charles was pictured wearing a traditional Saudi robe and taking part in local dance. It was the tenth official visit to Saudi Arabia for the heir to the British throne, who later departed for neighboring Qatar for the next leg of his tour.
A spokeswoman for The Prince of Wales told The Associated Press that Saudi King Abdullah was unable to meet the prince for a scheduled visit while he was in the kingdom, but that they spoke.
In an article published on the Human Rights Watch website and in the International Business Times on Monday, advocacy coordinator Eleanor Blatchley urged the Prince of Wales to use his meetings with Arab monarchs to discuss issues of repression concerning women’s rights, migrant workers’ rights and human rights.
The human rights group said the U.K. government “too often downplays the serious and systematic human rights abuses taking place in the Gulf states and regularly subordinates human rights concerns to trade and arms sales.”
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense