It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Saudis pledge to buy French jets in €6bn deal
Saudi Arabia has agreed in principle to acquire up to 96 Rafale combat aircraft from France's Dassault Aviation for some €6bn, Les Echos, the FT's French sister newspaper, has learnt.
The agreement forms the cornerstone of a broader defence, security and industrial accord estimated to be worth up to €20bn ($26bn, £14bn) signed during a meeting in Paris yesterday between Jacques Chirac, French president, and Crown Prince Abdullah, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler.
Blair in secret Saudi mission - Expulsions link to £40bn arms deal
Tony Blair and John Reid, the defence secretary, have been holding secret talks with Saudi Arabia in pursuit of a huge arms deal worth up to £40bn, according to diplomatic sources.
Mr Blair went to Riyadh on July 2, en route to Singapore, where Britain was bidding for the 2012 Olympics. Three weeks later, Mr Reid made a two-day visit, when he sought to persuade Prince Sultan, the crown prince, to re-equip his air force with the Typhoon, the European fighter plane of which the British arms company BAE has the lion's share of manufacturing.
Defence, diplomatic and legal sources say negotiations are stalling because the Saudis are demanding three favours. These are that Britain should expel two anti-Saudi dissidents, Saad al-Faqih and Mohammed al-Masari; that British Airways should resume flights to Riyadh, currently cancelled through terrorism fears; and that a corruption investigation implicating the Saudi ruling family and BAE should be dropped. Crown prince Sultan's son-in-law, Prince Turki bin Nasr, is at the centre of a "slush fund" investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
The Typhoon, currently entering service with the RAF, has a price of more than £45m a plane. Saudi Arabia previously bought a fleet of its predecessor Tornados from Britain in the Al Yamamah arms deal.[ Mike Turner, the chief executive of BAE, Britain's biggest arms company, was quoted in Flight International magazine on June 21, just before Mr Blair's Riyadh trip, saying: "The objective is to get the Typhoon into Saudi Arabia. We've had £43bn from Al Yamamah over the last 20 years and there could be another £40bn."
French threat to BAE’s £40bn Euro fighter deal
October 02, 2005
FRANCE is seeking to usurp Britain as favourite to win air defence contracts with Saudi Arabia worth up to £40bn (€59bn, $72bn) to British defence contractor, BAE Systems. President Jacques Chirac has had face to face meetings with King Abdullah and was the first foreign dignitary to visit the desert kingdom after the funeral of King Fahd in August, The Business has learned.
Saudi Arabia is looking to upgrade some of its ageing 96 Tornados, supplied by BAE Systems, but also to buy new fighter jets in a bid to bolster its air power. The UK is offering the Eurofighter Typhoon; the French are pushing Dassault’s Rafales. “The French have been lobbying hard,” one senior source told The Business. Another said: “Both France and the UK are in the running. It is a sign of changing times.”
Britain’s largest export contract is with Saudi Arabia. The government-to-government agreement known as Al Yamamah dates back to the 1980s and has resulted in more than £40bn worth of sales. Prime contractor BAE has supplied the kingdom with dozens of Tornados and Hawk training jets under the deal, as well as training and services. More than 5,000 of its staff are stationed in Saudi.
While the Royal Saudi air force inventory is full of British jets, the French have traditionally dominated naval sales to the kingdom. But that could change, in part due to the UK siding with the US during the war in Iraq. Chirac met King Abdullah in April as well as August, when the Saudi ruler expressed an interest in buying 80 Rafales. Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Saudi Arabia in July; it is believed he raised the issue of defence contracts.
Saudi Arabia denied it was engaged in secret negotiations with Britain over a $70 billion arms deal on Oct. 2, but acknowledged that London would like to sell Typhoon fighter planes to Riyadh.
"There are no secret negotiations between the two countries on the deal to sell the Typhoon planes," a defense ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the state news agency SPA.
"But the British side has openly expressed a desire to supply Saudi Arabia with these planes, like any of the many friendly countries which produce sophisticated weapons systems," he said.
The spokesman said "the Saudi government did not ask for or receive any official or unofficial offer from the British side on this subject."
"Saudi Arabia has the right to defend its territory by developing its weapons systems or acquiring new systems from any country in the world."
Saudi Arabia's arms purchases were driven by "operational needs, and not against any political deals with these countries."
LONDON (AFX) - Aerospace and defence group BAE Systems PLC has stayed silent on weekend media reports that it could lose out to France in its bid to win a 40 bln stg defence deal in Saudi Arabia.
A spokesman for Farnborough-based BAE refused to comment on claims that it faces a challenge from French group Dassault in its efforts to secure a contract to supply the Eurofighter Typhoon to the Middle Eastern kingdom.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Defence Secretary John Reid reportedly have held secret talks with the Saudis to try to persuade them to take the Typhoon.
However, French President Jacques Chirac also has had face-to-face talks with Saudi's King Abdullah on behalf of Dassault, which is offering its Rafale jet, reports in at least two of yesterday's newspapers said.
As well as the Typhoon deal, BAE is understood to be hoping to secure a lucrative contract to upgrade some of Saudi's ageing fleet of Tornado fighter jets.
A spokesman for BAE, which is involved in the Typhoon project together with Germany, Italy and Spain, said: 'We're just not commenting on any of this.'
Dassault Looks to Mideast Sales After Singapore Loss
All the while, the Rafale has unfailingly scored high technical marks in competitions and has largely met its program milestones with a cost overrun that Dassault Executive Chairman Charles Edelstenne has put at 4 percent, unlike the Eurofighter Typhoon. France’s budget for acquiring 294 Rafales is 26 billion euros, giving a unit price of 88 million euros.
Britain’s National Audit Office, a spending watchdog, reported in 2004 that the forecast cost for the United Kingdom’s 232 Typhoons would be 19 billion pounds (27.87 milliard) instead of the 16.6 billion pounds budgeted for the program. That implies a unit cost of some 82 million pounds (120.3 million) per Eurofighter.
The RBE2 radar had been in development since 1989. It was decided that the radar would receive a new phased-array antenna with full electronic scan, instead of the electro-mechanical scan employed by the Eurofighter Typhoon's Captor radar. Initially, the radar received a passive phased-array antenna, but ultimately an active electronically scanned array (AESA) will be fitted. According to French Ministry of Defense (MoD) sources, the RBE2 radar has a modest range about 100 km against fighter aircraft, but it operates in a low-probability-of-intercept (LPI) mode and is resistant to deception jamming. The Typhoon's Captor has a range of 160 km against fighters but is considered more prone to jamming and can track fewer targets. The French Air Force accepted the penalty in range reduction for the benefits of LPI and other characteristics. Moreover, in network-centric operations, a common air picture will be transmitted via the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) to the Rafale, enabling the aircraft to make use of off-board sensors.
Originally posted by Stealth Spy
Here's something on the Eurofighter's Captor radar .... relative to the RBE2 of the Rafale ...
Thales has proposed its RBE2 AESA for the Rafale. The Thales radar is close to being available for deployment, so depending on delivery schedules, Thales could deliver an AESA set on the second batch of aircraft to be delivered under the proposed contract schedule, and then the initial batch could be retrofitted to the AESA configuration.
The Typhoon’s developmental program had called for the aircraft to receive its own AESA under Thales-BAE Systems joint development–the Airborne Multirole Solid State Active Array Radar (AMSAR) program–to replace its current BAE Systems ECR-90 Captor model, but this would not be earlier than 2010 and more realistic dates for a delivery would most likely be beyond this timeline.
Complicating the picture for the Typhoon are the consistent suggestions that there will be no Tranche 3 production run of the aircraft and that purchases of the aircraft would be truncated once the second batch is delivered, leaving the AESA development schedule as a question mark."