The long-expected follow-on order from Saudi Arabia for Eurofighter Typhoons has still not materialized, but in its half-yearly report BAE Systems revealed that it expects to receive orders worth about $2.2 billion to upgrade Saudi aircraft. Earlier this year, a protracted renegotiation of the original “Al Salam” deal for 72 aircraft was finally concluded. BAE Systems plans to deliver 12 Typhoons to Saudi Arabia this year, and continues work on the contract with Oman for 12 aircraft, for delivery from 2017. But contrary to last year’s British hopes, no orders from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar or the UAE have been announced.
Meanwhile, in the Airbus D&S in-house journal, Domingo Urena Raso, the company’s head of military aircraft, wrote, “We need to add capabilities to the Eurofighter—like the E-scan radar for instance—and make it more attractive both for our home countries and for export.” He continued, “There is no need to panic; we have known for 10 years that Eurofighter production will end in 2018.” At the recent Farnborough airshow, the Eurofighter consortium displayed the prototype, industry-funded E-scan radar. In the half-yearly report, BAE Systems confirmed that the British government has signed a three-year contract worth more than $120 million “to de-risk E-scan radar development for the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon fleet ahead of the award of a full-scale development contract.”
Two months ago, BAE Systems announced a reorganization of its interests in Saudi Arabia into a holding company, OMC, in which it will retain a 51-percent interest. Riyadh Wings Aviation Academy, already a partner of the British company, will own the other 49 percent. BAE said that the growth prospects of its training company (SDT, 98 percent owned), electronics company (AEC, 50 percent owned) and IT systems engineering company (ISE, 90 percent owned) would be enhanced by bringing them into a single holding company. BAE Systems chief executive Ian King said the enhanced relationship with Riyadh Wings demonstrates the company’s “ongoing commitment to support the national agenda of developing an indigenous defense industry.”