Saudi Arabia signs $3 bln trainer jet deal with Britain
RIYADH - Agence France-Presse
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal (L), speaks with Alistair Burt, UK Office Minister for the Middle East yesterday. Saudi Arabia has bought British training jets. AP photoSaudi Arabia has signed a $3-billion deal with Britain to buy trainer jets for the Gulf kingdom’s air force, SPA state news agency said yesterday. The agreement includes the provision of simulators, ground and training equipment and spare parts, SPA reported, quoting a Saudi defence ministry official.
The official said the new jets would help qualify Saudi pilots “to use fourth-generation jet fighters in full professionalism and efficiency.” Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz in April visited Britain, a major supplier of weapons to the oil-rich kingdom.
Riyadh in 2006 ordered 72 Eurofighter Typhoons in a deal worth $32.9 billion, including armaments and long-term servicing. The multi-role fighter jet is built by a European consortium in which Britain’s BAE Systems has a 33-percent share. Saudi Arabia spends more than 10 percent of its gross domestic product on defense. In September 2010, Washington revealed a deal worth up to $60 billion to sell F-15 fighters, attack helicopters and other defence equipment and services to the Saudis.