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Boeing F-15EX “Clashes” With Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon for Lucrative Saudi Contract

Boeing and the F-15EX fighter jet will compete with the Rafale fighter jet developed by Dassault Aviation, while the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet is developed by a consortium of European companies from the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Italy.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Boeing has reportedly presented its latest variant of the F-15EX Eagle II fighter jet to Saudi Arabia in a bid to compete with the Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets for a contract with the wealthy Arab state.

 The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) is a long-time customer, having operated previous variants of the F-15, including the F-15 Eagle and F-15 SA.

“The F-15EX fighter jet is the best choice to enhance critical capabilities for Saudi Arabia as the country seeks to modernize its armed forces,” according to a Boeing spokesperson speaking to the defense media, War Zone, recently.

Boeing emphasized that the F-15EX fighter jet shares characteristics with earlier variants of the F-15, including infrastructure, training equipment, trainers, and pilot skills.

At present, the RSAF operates 84 F-15SA fighter jets.

Arab Saudi
Royal Saudi Air Force’s F-15 fighter jets

 

Boeing’s statement offering the F-15EX fighter jet to Saudi Arabia confirms the competition between three companies for the lucrative contract of potentially up to 100 fighter jets for the wealthy Arab nation.

 Boeing and the F-15EX will compete with the Rafale developed by Dassault Aviation and the Eurofighter Typhoon developed by a consortium of European companies from the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Italy.

Last October, Saudi Arabia was reported to be considering a proposal to acquire 54 Rafale fighter jets from France for its air force, after its efforts to acquire Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets were blocked by Germany.

If the acquisition of Rafale fighter jets by Saudi Arabia materializes, it would mark the first purchase of French-made fighter jets by the Arab nation.

The French weekly newspaper Le Tribune stated that Saudi Arabia has officially requested pricing for the acquisition of the 54 Rafale fighter jets from its manufacturer, Dassault Aviation.

Rafale
France’s Rafale fighter aircraft

 

Previously, the French newspaper reported that the Saudi government planned to acquire between 100 and 200 Rafale fighter jets, which are also used by several of its Arab neighbors.

For several years, Dassault Aviation has successfully penetrated the Middle East market, with several Arab countries buying Rafale fighter jets.

 Among them are Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar, which have acquired Rafale fighter jets.

Shortly after Saudi Arabia expressed its intention to begin negotiations with France to purchase 54 Rafale fighter jets, the German government decided to withdraw its objection to the sale of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to the Arab nation.

This surprising decision by the German government has opened up competition between the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Rafale to win the multi-billion-dollar contract from the Saudi Arabian government.

Typhoon
Royal Saudi Air Force owned Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft.

 

Berlin’s decision to allow the sale of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia is because the Arab nation is considered to help “maintain the security” of Israel.

Saudi Arabia is considered to be “maintaining the security” of Israel after its Riyadh’s air defense system shot down missiles and kamikaze drones launched by the Houthi armed group against the Jewish state.

“The German government will not oppose the idea of Britain selling more Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a major contributor to Israel’s security, and Arab countries also help to prevent the risk of wider conflict in the region,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

The proposal to sell 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Riyadh faced problems after the German government in 2018 suspended the sale of any weapons to Saudi Arabia following the abduction and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The transaction to sell Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Saudi Arabia faced more problems when a British court in 2019 banned the export of weapons to the Arab country due to its military’s campaign in Yemen.

F-15EX
F-15EX

 

However, due to the ceasefire in Yemen, Britain now wants to proceed with the sale of 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets.

Britain is pressuring Germany to agree to continue the sale.

 London stated that Germany no longer has a reason to block the sale of Eurofighter fighter jets after the United Nations signed a ceasefire agreement between Saudi Arabia and Yemen last year. — DSA

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