Negotiations continue between the UK and Saudi Arabian governments over the details of Project Salam, the agreement to supply 72 Eurofighter Typhoons to Saudi Arabia. Major decisions still have to be taken on the avionics and weapons configurations, and on the arrangements to produce and support the aircraft in Saudi Arabia. Final assembly of the first 24 aircraft, and training of the first Royal Saudi Air Force crews, will be done in the UK.
Boeing’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Alsalam Aircraft Company of Saudi Arabia will be formally recognized on Tuesday, when senior managers from the two companies meet to reveal expansion plans. Alsalam grew out of an offset agreement with Boeing, but until last year the American company owned only 50 percent of the Riyadh-based MRO.
AIN reported this morning (Saudi Typhoons in Final Assembly; Tornados Being Upgraded) that an announcement about Saudi Arabia’s agreement to buy 72 Eurofighter Typhoons could come soon…and it did. In fact, it came sooner than even we expected.
AIN has learned that the first two Eurofighter Typhoons for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) are now on the final assembly line at BAE Systems’ Warton, UK factory, although the potential $40 billion deal to supply and support 72 Typhoons has not yet been formally announced.
In the fighter aircraft business, there’s no substitute for combat experience, if you want to impress potential customers. The Dassault Rafale has now dropped bombs in anger as part of NATO’s stabilization effort in Afghanistan.
Riyadh-based Alsalam Aircraft Co. is emerging as a key player in efforts to upgrade Saudi Arabia’s fleet of 84 Panavia Tornado interdiction strike aircraft.
British thinking on through-life management of military aircraft and systems is already way ahead of that of most countries. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has encouraged innovative contracts that change a traditional industry stand-off role as, for example, a supplier of spares, into that of a partner committed to various packages of enhanced service. Now comes the next step–fully fledged availability contracting.
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