- Germany will block the Typhoon deal due to the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia
Thousands of highly skilled engineering jobs could be lost after Germany blocked a deal to export British-made fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.
Lancashire-based BAE’s Typhoon program employs more than 6,000 aircraft specialists and supports an estimated 28,000 supply chain jobs.
Without further orders for the aircraft from overseas, production lines at the company’s factories would be closed as the Royal Air Force phases out the Eurofighter Typhoon from 2025. The jet was built by a consortium of Britain and Germany, with export permits having to 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.
Lancashire-based BAE’s Typhoon program (pictured) employs more than 6,000 aircraft specialists and supports an estimated 28,000 supply chain jobs
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS) meets German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his delegation at As-Salam Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on September 24, 2022
Berlin took this stance after the murder of dissident Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in 2018 – and in protest against the deaths of civilians from Saudi air strikes in Yemen. His veto could cost £15 billion that Britain would have to raise in other markets to keep production lines running.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz is apparently not prepared to anger the Green politicians who strictly reject arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Asked about the issue at a NATO summit in July, Mr. Scholz said that “at this point, no decision” on Typhoon deliveries to Saudi Arabia is “foreseeable.”
Any lack of funding could also have a negative impact on research and development of the UK’s next-generation fighter aircraft, the ‘GCAP’.
A Typhoon fighter aircraft in the sky over Amari Air Base in Estonia, Thursday, July 27, 2023
Justin Bronk of military think tank RUSI said: “Failure to secure the sale would be a black mark for the UK” in terms of its reputation as a reliable defense partner.
The deal was originally signed by the British government five years ago, with sales expected to be supported by Germany, Italy and Spain.
Last night the Government said: “The UK remains committed to our strategic defense relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”