Saudi Arabia signs $2.5bn aircraft deal with UK's BAE
Saudi Arabia has signed a US$2.5bn deal with the UK’s Ministry of Defence to provide the Gulf kingdom with aircraft and training.
According to a report carried on the official Saudi Press Agency, the agreement will see the British supply the Saudi Royal Air Force with advanced training, flight simulators, ground equipment, training devices and spare parts.
The agency said the training will qualify Saudi pilots to fly fourth generation fighter aircraft.
In a statement, UK-based defence contractor BAE Systems confirmed that it would be providing the Saudi military with 22 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer Aircraft and 55 Pilatus PC-21 aircraft.
"Working with Pilatus, we will provide the RSAF with the best training platforms to meet their requirements," commented Guy Griffiths, group managing director, international, BAE.
"Through the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer, the trainee fast jet pilots will have access to the very latest in advanced simulation for radar, weapons and defensive aids training to enable a smooth transition to front line aircraft, including Typhoon," Griffiths added.
The Swiss-built Pilatus PC-21 are expected to be delivered from 2014, while the British-made Hawk aircraft will be delivered from 2016, BAE said.
Saudi Arabia in 2007 ordered 72 Eurofighter Typhoon planes from BAE, formerly known as British Aerospace, in a US$7.21bn contract.