British government lobby Germany to end arms to Saudi ban

A fighter plane coming into land. It is marked "Saudi Arabia Air Force"
A Saudi Arabian Typhoon aircraft coming into land.
Andrew Metheven

The British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged Germany to end it’s ban of weapons exports to Saudi Arabia. Hunt has written to his counterpart Heiko Maas, and described how the ban is impacting British companies ability to fulfil their own contracts with Saudi Arabia on a visit to Berlin to discuss Brexit.

The ban has impacted British companies like BAE Systems, because parts used in the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft are supplied by Germany. BAE Systems is part of a consortium of company fulfilling a £40bn contract signed between the UK and Saudi Arabia in 2007, to supply 72 Typhoon fighter jets.

The ban is also impacting the MBDA, a company owned by BAE Systems, Airbus, and Italian company Leonardo, who are unable to ship orders of Meteor air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia because the propulsion system and warhead are built in Germany.

In a summary of their 2018 financial results, BAE Systems said that the “current German government position on export licensing may affect the Group’s ability to provide capability to Saudi Arabia which may have a consequential impact on the Group’s financial performance and relationships.”

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