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Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale To Face Off for Multibillion Saudi Contract

Is the French endeavor to penetrate the Saudi Arabia fighter aircraft market with Rafale is now likely to be obstructed by the Eurofighter Typhoon?

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Not long after Saudi Arabia expressed its intention to commence negotiations with France to purchase 54 Rafale fighter jets, the German government, in turn, decided to withdraw its opposition to the sale of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to the Arab country.

 This sudden decision by the German government, sets the stage for an open competition between the Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale to secure a multi-billion-dollar contract from the Saudi Arabian government.

Two weeks ago, German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit was reported to have stated that Chancellor Olaf Scholz had decided not to hinder Britain’s efforts to sell Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.

 “Yes, the Chancellor (Olaf Scholz) agrees with the perspective on the sale of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets are produced by a consortium of four European countries, including Britain, Germany, Spain, and Italy, with any sale of these fighter jets requiring approval from all four nations.

Berlin’s decision to permit the sale of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia is motivated by the belief that the Arab country contributes to “maintaining security” for Israel.

Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets

 

Saudi Arabia is considered to contribute to the security of Israel, especially after Riyadh’s air defense system successfully intercepted guided missiles and kamikaze drones launched by the Houthi armed group against Israel.

“The German government will not obstruct Britain’s idea to sell more Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a major contributor to Israel’s security, and the Arab country also assists in preventing the risk of broader conflicts in the region,” stated German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

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

The arms export transaction with Saudi Arabia encountered further hurdles when a British court banned all weapon exports to the Arab country in 2019 due to its military actions in Yemen.

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

London is pressuring Germany to agree to the continuation of this sale, asserting that Germany no longer has a reason to block the Eurofighter fighter jet sale after the United Nations (UN) brokered a ceasefire agreement between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

typhoon

Nevertheless, until two weeks ago, the German government remained steadfast in its decision not to sell any Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia before reconsidering its stance.

Faced with Germany’s opposition to the sale of Eurofighter Typhoon, Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering a proposal to acquire a total of 54 Rafale fighter jets from the French company Dassault Aviation for its air force.

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 country.

In October of the previous year, the French weekly newspaper Le Tribune stated that Saudi Arabia had formally requested a price for the purchase of 54 Rafale fighter jets from the manufacturer, Dassault Aviation.

Earlier reports from the French newspaper indicated that the Saudi government was considering acquiring between 100 and 200 Rafale fighter jets, which are also used by several neighboring Arab countries.

In recent years, Dassault Aviation has successfully penetrated the Middle East market, with several Arab countries purchasing Rafale fighter jets, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar.

Will France’s effort to penetrate the Saudi Arabian fighter jet market with Rafale be hindered by the Eurofighter Typhoon? – DSA

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