Saudi Arabia orders 48 Typhoons to BAE systems
Victor J. Caputo, US Air Force
The British company BAE systems, biggest military manufacturer of the United Kingdom, has just agreed to an order of 48 Typhoons with Saudi Arabia. This new order reinforces the Eurofighter Typhoon program whose viability was threatened less than a year ago.
That new order follows an option that Saudi Arabia had placed when it had bought 72 jets in 2007. It has been placed after a three days visit of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, in the United Kingdom.
The production of the Eurofighter had been reduced last year as BAE failed to secure sales. Until the order of 24 Typhoons for 8 billion of US dollars made by Qatar in December 2017, the production was expected to stop in 2022 with the dismantlement of the Lancashire production line. BAE already announced the suppression of 1.400 jobs in its aeronautics department.
Except for the four partners involved in the Typhoon program (Italy, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom), only four others countries have placed orders for the fighter, namely Austria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman. Overall, about 600 planes have been ordered, which is so far a better performance than its main competitor in the 4.5th plane generation, the Dassault Rafale.