BAE Systems rolls out first Typhoon jet for Saudi Arabia

BAE Systems rolled out its first two Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft ready for the Royal Saudi Air Force yesterday, as part of the controversial $20bn &ldquo;Al-Salaam&rdquo; deal.<br /><br />The rollout marks the start of delivery of 72 aircraft to Saudi Arabia, which is part of a more than twenty-year agreement between the UK and Saudi governments to supply the Middle Eastern kingdom with defence equipment. <br /><br />Delivery is due to start later this summer, and a skeleton staff of aircrew and technicians have already started their training for the aircraft in the UK.<br /><br />The rollout was attended by the Saudi assistant minister of defence and aviation, and the Saudi king&rsquo;s eldest son, His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.<br /><br />&ldquo;The industrial benefits of the project are substantial for both nations and will help to sustain several thousand skilled jobs in the UK and Saudi Arabia over the next ten years,&rdquo; the minister for the armed forces Bill Rammell said.<br /><br />The news comes a day after doubts were expressed that Saudi would maintain its commitment to buying the remaining 48 jets it signed up for.