BAE Systems delivers last Saudi Eurofighter

Photo: Gary Claridge-King
BAE Systems has completed delivery of the last Eurofighter Typhoon to Saudi Arabia, contracted under the third phase of the controversial Al Yamamah deal.

The last two single seat Typhoons 8023 and 8024 departed BAE System's Warton final assembly line on June 6.

Saudi Arabia ordered 72 Tranche 2 Eurofighters including 24 twin seat trainer/fighter variants at an estimated cost of $7.21 billion in 2007, the largest export order won by the European fighter jet program.

Deliveries commenced in 2009 in three batches. According to the contract, the first batch of 24 aircraft were to be assembled by BAE Systems in UK, while the remaining 48 to be assembled in the Kingdom.

The plan was scrapped after issues relating to safe guarding the proprietary technology while assembling the fighters at the part Boeing owned Alsalam Aircraft Company rose.

In return, changes were made in the deal to setup extensive maintenance facility in the Saudi Arabia.

The Eurofighters along with the 80 upgraded BAE Tornado IDS ground strike jets and 300 Boeing F-15 fighters forms the core combat fighter fleet of Royal Saudi Air Force.

In addition, RSAF has also ordered 84 advanced Boeing F-15 SA fighters, of which 12 has been delivered to date.

Powered by two 90 kN thrust each EJ200 turbofan engines, the Eurofighter can carry an impressive payload of more than 8,000 kg under its 13 hardpoints.

The ability to carry up to 6 bombs whilst also carrying six missiles, a cannon and a targeting pod enables the true swing role capability, ensuring both air to air and air to ground attack capabilities simultaneously.

Photo: Gary Claridge-King