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BAE allows Saudi Arabia to join Tempest fighter jet development

  1. CEO of BAE Systems Welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Participation
  2. The Global Combat Air Program and Saudi Arabia’s Interest
  3. The Potential Impact of Saudi Arabia’s Involvement

The CEO of BAE Systems has opened the door for Saudi Arabia to participate in the United Kingdom’s premier fighter jet program.

Charles Woodburn, the CEO of BAE, stated that the country has a talented workforce that could contribute to the success of the initiative.

Woodburn spoke after it became known that the Saudi government seeks to become a full partner in the international global combat air program.

The project, a collaboration between the United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan seeks to launch a demonstrator jet by 2027.

The United Kingdom has already committed £2 billion to the program, which intends to deliver the supersonic stealth combat aircraft Tempest by 2035. A recent official report, however, raises questions about its viability.

The participation of Saudi Arabia could unlock a vast source of funding and engineering expertise for a project estimated to cost tens of billions of pounds.

BAE allows Saudi Arabia to join Tempest fighter jet development
At a recent defense industry event in London, Woodburn emphasized that any decision to include Saudi Arabia would be made by the government.

During the event at the Royal United Services Institute, he emphasized that the Gulf nation, where BAE employs 7,000’very capable’ employees, had more to offer than just money.

“In terms of the talent pool, the kingdom has a lot to offer for any program,” he said. Saudi Arabia is currently the largest purchaser of British military aircraft, including Typhoons.

Given its abysmal human rights record, however, the country’s direct participation in a premier defense partnership could prove controversial. It is also rumored to have sparked opposition in Japan, with Tokyo opposing it because it could delay the project.

Britain, Spain, and Germany are continue the Typhoon programme as the current generation retires.

Woodburn stated that only the United States had the financial clout to develop a fighter aircraft on its own, whereas for other nations it was a ‘team sport’.

My objective throughout the entire process has been to assemble the strongest team possible.

He stated that the countries involved were making “excellent progress.” However, he added, “When it comes to future partnerships, I believe the door is open.”

The project’s prime contractors, BAE of the United Kingdom, MHI of Japan, and Leonardo of Italy, announced last week that they had reached an agreement on the concept phase’s next stages.

When queried about Saudi involvement, Richard Berthon, the Ministry of Defence lead on the program, said that while there had been conversations to explore future options, there had been ‘no decision beyond that’.

The Government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority gave the initiative a “red” rating in its annual report released last month, indicating that successful delivery “appears unattainable.” It mentioned a “lack of resources.”


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