The UK Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the Government of Saudi Arabia has reached agreement with the UK Government to purchase 72 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The agreement follows plans outlined in December 2005 to establish a greater partnership in modernizing the Saudi Arabian Air Force. The Eurofighter deal is part of a larger defense cooperation program, known as “Project Salam” which will also include comprehensive training and in-country support. The new program continues a long and successful association between the Royal Saudi Arabia Air Force and the British aerospace industry, which leads back to the delivery of Lightning fighters to the Arabian kingdom.
The current agreement goes back to 1985 when the Governments of Saudi Arabia and the UK signed a formal understanding known as Al-Yamama (arms for oil package). This program included the supply of 120 Tornado IDS and ADVs, Hawk and PC-9 aircraft, replacing the old Lightnings. This deal also included associated support services, equipment, weapons, ammunition and electronic warfare systems. Most of the Tornados have been upgraded by now.
Under current agreement the Typhoon aircraft would replace Tornado ADV fighters and other aircraft currently in service with the Royal Saudi Air Force. BAE Systems would also invest in local Saudi companies, develop an industrial technology plan, and train thousands of Saudi nationals to support the new equipment.