Procurement: Saudis Sustain Air Supremacy

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September 21, 2007: Saudi Arabia finally signed the long anticipated contracts to buy 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighters, for about $123 million each. Another $10 billion will be spent on smart bombs, missiles and ammunition. There are also several contracts for maintenance and support that total about $20 billion. The Typhoon is a somewhat stealthy multi-role fighter. It is fast, maneuverable, and carries a lot of weapons. It also can be used for attack missions. This 23 ton aircraft is the principal fighter in the air forces of Britain, Spain, Germany, and Italy. The Typhoon is closer in capability to the F-15, than the F-22, and is competing with the F-35 for many export sales. The Typhoon gives Saudi Arabia an excellent air superiority fighter, and 72 of them gives the kingdom excellent protection from Iran. Which is apparently the primary purpose of this purchase. Back in the 1990s, the Saudis purchased 139 Eurofighter Tornado aircraft, as well as a similar number of U.S. F-15s. Currently, the Saudi Arabian air force is the most powerful in the Persian Gulf, largely because of its modern aircraft, and heavy use of Western technicians and advisors to maintain readiness and training standards.

 


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