BAE Systems has had ties to Saudi Arabia since 1966, when the company was contracted to Lightning and Strikemaster aircraft and equipment in a programme called the ‘Magic Carpet’.
In 1973 the Company’s activities were incorporated with a Memorandum of Understanding between the Saudi and British governments. BAE Systems, then the British Aircraft Corporation, was appointed the Prime Contractor.
In 1985, a new government-to-government agreement was signed covering supply and support of Tornado, Hawk and PC-9 aircraft and, at a later date, minehunter ships. Again BAE Systems was appointed prime contractor, working in close co-operation with the Royal Saudi Air Force and Royal Saudi Naval Forces. By meeting its commitments, the Company has helped preserve the long-term security of the country and its people.
A new government-to-government agreement, known as the Saudi British Defence Co-operation Programme, was inaugurated at the start of 2007. This took over the bulk of the former undertakings as well as providing the platform for a new era of partnership between the two governments in modernising the armed forces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Salam Project, which provides for the acquisition of 72 Typhoon aircraft in a programme aimed at the modernisation of the Saudi Armed Forces, was launched in September 2007. This carries substantial packages of work and expertise transfers, aimed at developing the Saudi industrial defence sector.
In addition to these programmes the Company has supplied the Royal Saudi Land Forces and National Guard with a variety of vehicles and equipment over the last four decades.