Cameron to lobby Middle East for BAE

DAVID Cameron will this week lobby governments in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf to buy British military hardware, as part of a three day mission to the region.

The news will be a boost to British defence firm BAE Systems, who help manufacturer the Typhoon aircraft. Downing Street said yesterday that the Prime Minister will use the trip promote the jet to Gulf leaders.

Cameron will begin the tour with a visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he will attempt to convince the country’s Prime Minister and Crown Prince to chose the part-British built aircraft to replace their ageing fleet of French Mirage jets.

He will also appear at a trade fair alongside UK firms such as BAE, Rolls-Royce and surveillance company Selex Galileo before heading on to Saudi Arabia.

Sales of the Typhoon to the Arab world could provide a substantial boost to the government’s finances as the UK is obliged to buy more of the aircraft than the RAF now wants.

It may be possible to pass some of these jets – which cost in the region of £100m a unit – onto nations such as Oman, who are seeking to buy 12 new aircraft.

Additional Typhoon sales could help placate investors in BAE who are angry at the collapse of merger talks with European rival EADS.