LONDON — BAE Systems has sealed a 2.5 billion pound deal with Oman to supply Typhoon fighters and Hawk jet trainers to the strategically important Gulf state.
Deliveries of the 12 Typhoons and eight Hawks are scheduled to get underway in 2017. BAE will provide in-country support to the Royal Air Force of Oman.
The Typhoons will replace Jaguar strike aircraft in the Omani air fleet, while the latest Advanced Jet Trainer version of the Hawk is scheduled to replace five older Hawk Mk103’s.
A spokesman for BAE said the Typhoons will be Tranche 3 standard aircraft. The aircraft will not come from earlier orders destined for the Royal Air Force but will be newly built machines, the spokesman said.
The deal brings the number of Typhoons delivered or under contract to 571. Typhoon is currently operated by air forces in Austria, Britain, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Spain.
Near term export opportunities to increase the number of operators are headed by the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.
Eurofighter, the industrial consortium made up of BAE, EADS and Finmeccanica, has also not given up on the prospect of securing a deal in India, and is considering sending a Typhoon to the Indian aerospace show in Bangalore in February.
Earlier this year Dassault Aviation with the Rafale fighter was named as preferred contractor for a deal to supply India with a multirole fast jet. Talks aimed at sealing the deal continue.
British Prime Minister David Cameron flew into Oman briefly for the signing having been in Afghanistan visiting British troops.
“The Typhoon fighter jet performed outstandingly in Libya and so it’s no surprise that Oman want to add this aircraft to their fleet,” he said.
The British Government has been working hard to promote Typhoon and other British defense systems in the Gulf and elsewhere.
Cameron was recently in the UAE and Saudi Arabia aiding the export sales effort.
British Business Secretary Vince Cable said the deal was a boost to employment prospects across the aerospace sector in the U.K.
“It is obviously a very good day for BAE Systems, its suppliers and the broader Eurofighter supply chain,” Cable said. “The Typhoon program supports an estimated 8,600 jobs across BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Selex-Galileo and their supply chains, with an estimated further 1,500 jobs dependent on export opportunities.”
“We, and our partners in the Eurofighter consortium, are pursuing a number of opportunities at present and I hope that the decision by Oman to join the Typhoon family is followed by more states in the region,” he said.
Britain is a long term supplier of defense equipment to Oman. However, the relationship has been strained by BAE’s late delivery of three corvettes to the Gulf state’s navy. The ships should have been delivered beginning in 2010 but a series of technical issues have delayed handover. BAE is now scheduling the first half of next year for the lead corvette to be delivered.
The mainstay of the current Omani air force fast jet fleet is the Lockheed Martin F-16. Oman has 12 in operation, and around this time last year ordered a further 12 jets from Lockheed.
Earlier this week BAE posted a profits warning on the back of its inability to conclude a price escalation deal with Saudi Arabia relating to changes to an order for 72 Typhoons secured in 2007.
Twenty-four aircraft have been delivered to Saudi Arabia to date and BAE said that despite the fact the two sides have been unable to conclude price talks further airframes were on the assembly line.
BAE said in a statement Dec 19 that deliveries would recommence in 2013.