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BAE secures Saudi Typhoon support deal

BAE Systems, Europe&rsquo;s biggest defence contractor, yesterday said it had signed a three-year deal to provide support and maintenance for Typhoon warplanes sold by Britain to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).<br /><br />BAE, one of three major contractors involved in building the multirole Eurofighter Typhoon, said it had agreed to provide a &ldquo;full availability service contract&rdquo; that includes training in Britain for Saudi pilots and aircraft technicians.<br /><br />The company did not give a value for the deal, though some estimates put it as high as &pound;450m.<br /><br />Britain sold 72 Eurofighter Typhoons to Saudi Arabia in 2006 and the RSAF has begun flying operations following the delivery of the first four combat planes, BAE Systems said in a statement.<br /><br />With the global fighter market heating up in the face of perceived new threats and demand to replace old fleets, analysts say after-sales support is a lucrative source of top-up revenue.<br /><br />Global fighter sales are worth $17bn (&pound;10.8bn) a year and the after-market generates at least as much again, according to Washington-based consultant Richard Aboulafia of Teal Group.<br />