LONDON, 22 Dec. 2005. Britain has struck an agreement to supply Saudi Arabia with Typhoon jets in a deal worth an estimated 8 billion pounds (about 13.9 billion US dollars) to the UK's biggest defense company, BAE systems, British newspaper the Guardian reported on Thursday.
The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding during a visit by British Defense Secretary John Reid to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
The agreement aimed to establish a wider cooperation covering national security and the fight against global terrorism, the British Ministry of Defense said in a statement, adding that the deal would lead to Britain having a greater role in "modernizing" the Saudi armed forces.
The agreement recognizes "Saudi Arabia's efforts to develop a regional defense industrial center of excellence," it said.
As prime contractor, BAE will invest in local Saudi companies, develop an industrial technology transfer plan, and provide suitable training for thousands of Saudi nationals, the ministry added.
The details of these arrangements are confidential between the two governments, the statement said.
The Typhoon deal will be a significant boost for the construction consortium, which includes the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) with 46 percent, BAE Systems with 33 percent and Italy's Alenia/Finmeccanica with 21 percent. So far the multi-role aircraft has been bought by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain -- the countries responsible for its development.
BAE Systems, which is Britain's largest military manufacturer, signed a series of defense contracts with Saudi Arabia covering purchases and maintenance in the 1980s and 90s, which are being probed by anti-corruption investigators.
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