By Arab News
Britain has signed a multi-billion-pound preliminary order with Saudi Arabia for 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, military equipment maker BAE Systems said on Friday.
The joint statement issued at the end of the three-day visit, and published by the Saudi Press agency, indicated that both parties signed a letter of intent to supply Saudi Arabia with 48 new Typhoon fighter jets.
BAE Systems added in a statement sent to Arab News that the order would help Riyadh modernize its armed forces under the Kingdom’s ‘Vision 2030’ economic plan, while no financial details were given.
If confirmed the order will raise Saudi capabilities in the air and add 48 to the already 72 Typhoons in service with the Royal Saudi Airforce.
“The crown prince’s visit has opened a new chapter in our two countries’ historic relationship,” British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said.
“We have taken a vital step toward finalizing another order for Typhoon jets that will increase security in the Middle East and boost British industry and jobs in our unrivalled aerospace sector,” he said.
The defense secretary was speaking after meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the third day of his visit. The two sides met at Northolt Air Base in north west London.
Upon arrival, Typhoon aircrafts soared in the skies to welcome the crown prince, who is also deputy prime minister and minister of defense.
Both national anthems were played and then they reviewed the Honor Guards’ Salute.
During the meeting, the pair discussed ways to develop bilateral relations and areas of strategic cooperation between the two countries, especially in the defense and military sectors.
They also discussed the wide-ranging opportunities in Saudi Arabia following the introduction of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, as well as international and regional developments and efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.
Prior to his departure, the UK and Saudi Arabia published a joint communique summarising the agreements, understandings, and memorandum signed in the military, defense, economic, social and cultural sectors.
Mainly the statement stressed that the two Kingdoms are strategic partners in seeing through Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Vision 2030. The two sides committed to launching an annual strategic partnership council and dialogue between the two countries.
“The crown prince’s visit has opened a new chapter in our two countries’ historic relationship,” Williamson said.