- Germany will block the Typhoon deal due to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record
The Typhoon programme run by Lancashire-based BAE employs more than 6,000 aircraft specialists and supports an estimated 28,000 jobs in the supply chain.
Production lines at the company’s factories would close without further orders for the aircraft from overseas, because the Royal Air Force is phasing out the Eurofighter Typhoon from 2025. The jet was built by a consortium, including the UK and Germany, and export licences must be approved by all its members.
Germany is blocking Britain’s deal to sell 48 aircraft to Saudi Arabia due to the country’s controversial human rights record.
The Typhoon (pictured) programme run by Lancashire-based BAE employs more than 6,000 aircraft specialists and supports an estimated 28,000 jobs in the supply chain
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS) meets Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his delegation at As-Salam palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on September 24, 2022
Berlin adopted this stance following the murder by Saudi agents of dissident Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 – and in protest at the deaths of civilians caused by Saudi air strikes in Yemen. Its veto could cost £15 billion, which Britain would have to raise from other markets to maintain the production lines.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz is apparently unwilling to upset Green politicians, who strongly oppose arms sales to Saudi Arabia. When asked about the issue at a Nato summit in July, Mr Scholz said ‘no decision’ on Typhoon deliveries to Saudi Arabia was ‘foreseeable at the current time’.
Any funding shortage could also have a knock-on effect on research and development of Britain’s next-generation fighter jet, the ‘GCAP’.
A Typhoon fighter jet in the skies above the Amari Airbase in Estonia, Thursday July 27, 2023
Justin Bronk, from the RUSI military think-tank, said: ‘Not securing the sale would be a black mark against the UK’, in terms of its reputation as a reliable arms partner.
The deal was initially signed by the UK Government five years ago, when it was assumed the sales would be supported by Germany, Italy and Spain.
Last night, the Government said: ‘The UK remains steadfast in its commitment to our strategic defence relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.’