In 1984, Saudi Arabia was working on replacing a number of their older aircraft, including Lightning and Strikemaster aircraft. It appeared they were
leaning towards buying Mirage fighters from France. Margaret Thatcher sent Michael Heseltine to negotiate with the Saudi Government, at the end of
which they agreed to buy aircraft from the UK.
Al-Yamamah I included:
48 Torando IDS (28 GR1, 6 GR1A, 14 dual control trainers)
30 Hawk trainers
24 Tornado ADV (RAF F3)
JP233 Runway Denial Munitions
Sea Eagle antiship missiles
ALARM anti-radar missiles
Skyflash air to air missiles
Al-Yamamah II was for 48 Tornado IDS.
In 2005, the two governments signed an "Understanding document" for Typhoon aircraft. The contract was signed in 2006 for 72 aircraft. The deal
could reach as high as 100 aircraft.
In 2006, BAE won a contract to upgrade 80 Tornado IDS aircraft to the GR4 standard.
In 2001, it became public that the NAO had investigated the deals after allegations of bribery came to light. In 1992 the NAO investigated these
allegations, but refused to release its report. It's the only report to be withheld by them. The then head of the Public Accounts Committee stated
that he did an investigation, and found no evidence of improper payments, but considered the report private.
In 2006, the head of the NAO refused to release a copy to investigators. What makes it interesting is that the head of the committee was one of the
people involved in the negotiations for the Al-Yamamah deal.
In 2005, BAE Systems refused to comply with an order for details of offshore deals to the Middle East.
Eventually the US Department of Justice investigated BAE Systems in the US after allegations that they had used a US bank to transfer funds. The end
result of that investigation was a $400M fine, but no conviction of bribery.
This whole deal is full of bribery and corruption allegations that are hard to deny with the way that things were handled. Those are just some of the
things that have come to light.
Al Yamamah (Arabic: اليمامة The Dove) is the name of a series of a record arms sales by the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia, which have
been paid for by the delivery of up to 600,000 barrels (95,000 m3) of crude oil per day to the UK government. The prime contractor has been BAE
Systems and its predecessor British Aerospace. The first sales occurred in September 1985 and the most recent contract for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon
multirole fighters was signed in August 2006.
Mike Turner, the CEO of BAE Systems, said in August 2005 that BAE and its predecessor had earned £43 billion in twenty years from the contracts and
that it could earn £40 billion more. It is Britain's largest ever export agreement, and employs some 5,000 people in Saudi Arabia.
In 2010, BAE Systems pled guilty to a United States court, to charges of false accounting and making misleading statements in connection with the