Saudi Arabia and UK near defence deal

11 March 2018
Saudi Arabia is understood to have signed initial agreements to acquire 48 Typhoon jets

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman is understood to have signed a memorandum of intent to procure 48 Typhoon fighter jets from UK-based firm BAE Systems.

According to UK-based media reports, the final terms of the contract, part of an estimated £10bn ($13.8bn) defence deal between the two countries, still have to be negotiated.

It will be the second contract for BAE systems to supply the kingdom with the Typhoon jets, following a previous contract in 2007 for the supply of 72 units of the aircraft to the Saudi defence air force.

In February, Saudi Arabia appointed a new defence chief of staff and promoted seven generals as part of the kingdom’s ongoing government reshuffle.

Fyyadh bin Hamid bin Ragad al-Ruwaili has been named as the new Defence Ministry chief of staff, replacing Abdulrahman bin Saleh Abdullah al-Bunyan.

Al-Ruwaili was once the commander of the Saudi Royal Air Force and most recently was the Defence Ministry’s deputy chief of staff.

A subsequent royal order named Al-Bunyan as consultant at the Royal Court with a rank of general staff.

Other generals who were promoted include Land Forces Commander Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulazi al-Saud, who has been named commander of the joint forces; Mutlaq bin Salem bin Mutlaq al-Ezaime, deputy chief of staff; Jarallah bin Mohammed bin Jarallah al-Elwait, commander of the strategic missiles forces; Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Mitair, commander of land forces; Mazyad bin Sulaiman bin Mazyad al-Amro, commander of air defence forces; and Turki bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, commander of air forces.

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