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Saudi signs $3 bn deal with Britain

Saudi signs $3 bn deal with Britain


RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has signed a $3 billion deal with Britain to buy trainer jets for the Gulf kingdom's air force, SPA state news agency said on Wednesday.
 
The agreement includes the provision of simulators, ground and training equipment and spare parts, SPA reported, quoting a Saudi defence ministry official.
 
The official said the new jets would help qualify Saudi pilots "to use fourth-generation jet fighters in full professionalism and efficiency."
 
British arms manufacturer BAE Systems said that following the agreement between the two countries, it had been awarded a contract equivalent to 1.6 billion pounds ($2.54 billion) "to support the future aircrew training requirements of the Royal Saudi Air Force."
 
"The contract includes the supply of 22 new Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft, 55 Pilatus PC-21 aircraft and other aircrew training equipment, as well as an initial support package including the provision of spares, technical publications and post design support," it said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.
 
Saudi Defence Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz in April visited Britain, a major supplier of weapons to the oil-rich kingdom.
 
Riyadh in 2006 ordered 72 Eurofighter Typhoons in a deal worth $32.9 billion, including armaments and long-term servicing. The multi-role fighter jet is built by a European consortium in which BAE Systems has a 33-percent share.
 
Saudi Arabia spends more than 10 percent of its gross domestic product on defence. (AFP)

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