The ceremony, which was attended by the Saudi Assistant Minister ofDefence and Aviation, His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Sultan binAbdul Aziz Al Saud, representing the Saudi Deputy Prime Minister andMinister of Defence and Aviation, His Royal Highness Crown PrinceSultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, and the Minister for the Armed Forces, Mr Bill Rammell, representing the Secretary of State for Defence, included a fly past by one of the RSAF Typhoons.
This represents another significant stage in the progress of theSalam Project, which covers the supply of 72 Typhoon aircraft tothe Royal Saudi Air Force in accordance with the Understanding Document signed by both Governments.
The Minister for the Armed Forces, Bill Rammell, said:
"This ceremony is a very significant milestone for the Salam Project. The Royal Saudi AirForce is getting a fantastic aircraft. Typhoon is a world-class,multi-role aircraft and will provide the RSAF with the defencecapability it needs to meet the defence challenges of today and for the foreseeable future.
"The industrial benefits of the Project are also substantial forboth nations and will help to sustain several thousand, skilled jobs inthe UK and Saudi Arabia over the next ten years."
- The Governments of Saudi Arabia and the UK signed a formal understanding in 1985 for thesupply of Tornado IDS, Tornado ADV, Hawk and PC-9 aircraft, togetherwith associated support services, equipment, weapons, ammunition and electronic warfare systems; the aircraft have all since been delivered.
- The two governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) in 1986 elaborating the arrangements put in place the previousyear. This formalised the role of British Aerospace (BAe) (as it wascalled at the time) as the main contractorfor the whole programme, andestablished a UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) Project Office then withinthe Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) to coordinate theactivities of UK MOD in support of the programme, and to monitor thecontracted activities of BAe. The two governments signed the "New BuyTornado Agreement"for the supply of additional Tornado IDS aircraft in 1993.
- On 21 December 2005 the then Secretary of State for Defence, DrJohn Reid, signed an Understanding Document which was intended toestablish a greater partnership in modernising the Saudi Arabian ArmedForces and develop close service-to-service contacts, especiallythrough joint trainingand exercises. Under the terms of the document it was agreed thatTyphoon aircraft would replace Tornado ADV aircraft and otherscurrently in service withthe Royal Saudi Air Force. BAE Systems wouldalso invest in local Saudi companies, develop an industrial technologyplan, and provide suitable training for thousands of Saudi nationalsproviding through life support for key in-service equipments.
- On 17 September 2007, the Governments of Saudi Arabia and the UKannounced that agreement had been reached on the sale of 72 Typhoonaircraft. This new defence cooperation programme, which has beendesignated the Salam Project, will eventually be supported bysubstantial logistical and training packages. The final details ofthese support packages are still subject to further discussion betweenthe Governments, but limited aircrew and technician training hasalready started inthe UK in preparation for the delivery of the first Typhoon aircraft to Saudi Arabia later this summer. The Roll-Out ceremony marks the beginning of the delivery stage of the Salam Project.
- Role of UK MOD: The 1986 MOU requires the UK Government to ensure that all equipment, spares, training and technical work supplied by the main contractor (BAE Systems) are in accordance with Saudi requirements. This requirement will continue for the Salam Project. BAE Systems'performance in meeting requirements is monitored by the MoD's DirectorGeneral Saudi Armed Forces Project (DGSAP) and his staff, based inLondon andSaudi Arabia.