Saudis Sign Multi-Billion Trainer Aircraft Deal With BAE
In May 2012, Saudi Arabia signed a long-rumored agreement with BAE for training aircraft that can take RSAF pilots all the way from basic training to lead-in fighter training, along with their accompanying classroom training and simulators. The Saudi purchase takes place within the existing Saudi-British Al-Yamamah/ Project Salam Defence Co-operation Programme, which also provided the RSAF with its high-end fleet of Eurofighter fleet, and its Tornado strike aircraft.
This GBP 1.6 billion/ $2.5 billion contract will provide familiar plane types, that continue previous RSAF relationships.
The RSAF’s 55 new Pilatus PC-21 turboprops will begin arriving from Switzerland in 2014, replacing the RSAF’s existing fleet of 47 Pilatus PC-9s. The 22 BAE Hawk AJT jets will begin arriving in 2016, replacing about 29 early-model Hawk Mk.65s.
Another 25 primary trainers for initial flight training are also reported to be part of the deal, but the type isn’t confirmed. If BAE continues to use the same choices offered for the RAF’s own trainers, they would be Grob 112Es. The other pending contract may involve aircraft support. Saudi Arabia’s Tornado and Typhoon programs added accompanying contracts for full support, but the initial BAE announcement regarding Saudi Arabia’s trainers mentions only initial spares, technical publications, and post-design support. UK MoD | BAE | Agence France Presse | Flight International.