Oman, BAE set to sign $4bn fighter jets deal

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is set to visit Oman on Saturday to seal a deal for BAE Systems to sell 12 Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets and eight Hawk 128 advanced jet trainers.

The contract, confirmed by BAE Systems on Friday, is part of a drive to secure sales of more than 100 aircraft.

According to a Bloomberg report, the deal is valued at £2.5bn ($4bn).

“Boosting exports is vital to economic growth and that’s why I’m doing all I can to promote British business in the fastest-growing markets, so they can thrive in the global race,” Cameron told reporters.

Deliveries are expected to commence in 2017.

Guy Griffiths, Group managing director for BAE Systems' International business, said: “Receiving this contract is an honour and is excellent news for both BAE Systems and the Eurofighter Typhoon consortium.

"BAE Systems has a long history of working in Oman and we are delighted this contract will enable us to continue to work together.

“We look forward to working in partnership with Oman's Ministry of Defence, and the Royal Air Force of Oman, to ensure this is a highly successful programme that maximises the potential of both Hawk and Typhoon.”

Oman becomes the seventh country in the world, and the second in the Middle East, to operate the Typhoon, joining the air forces of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Saudi Arabia.

This order of Hawk AJT's follows an order from Saudi Arabia in May of this year. This order takes the total number of Hawk aircraft sold, or on order, to 998.

The announcement also strengthens the long standing relationship between BAE and Oman. Oman currently operates Jaguar fighter aircraft and trains pilots on an earlier variant of the BAE Systems Hawk.

Middle East sales are seen as critical to BAE as defence spending slumps in its two largest markets, the US and Britain.

Cameron and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond visited the Gulf last month as part of a low-key trip to persuade regional powers to buy more than 100 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets.

On Thursday, it was reported that delays in negotiations with Saudi Arabia over the pricing of Eurofighter Typhoon jets could negatively impact BAE Systems’ full-year earnings.

BAE has so far delivered 24 out of the 72 aircraft agreed with the Gulf kingdom in the 2007 government-to-government ‘Salam’ deal.

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