Who arms the Saudi coalition?

A Eurofighter Typhoon taking off
A Saudi Eurofighter Typhoon taking off

For five years, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been at war in Yemen. Huge volumes of weapons have been shipped from arms companies in Europe and elsewhere, from a large number of arms companies. Find out how you can take action on the website of the European Network Against the Arms Trade, and more details about some of the companies who have supplied Saudi Arabia below.

Thales, France

hales is a French company, part owned by the French government, that builds a vast range of radars, sonars and electronic surveillance satellites, tactical communication systems and combat management systems, drones, helicopter avionics, armoured vehicles, mortar systems and missiles. Thales boasts Saudi Arabia has been a customer for over 30 years, and use Thales' Damocles laser guiding system to target bombs, and a SOTAS communication system.

BAE Systems, UK

BAE Systems is the world's third biggest arms company and the biggest in the UK. Saudi Arabia is BAE System's third biggest market and war planes built by BAE Systems - Tornados and Typhoons - have been used in the Saudi's bombing of Yemen, contributing to the conflict's thousands of casualties.

Find out more about BAE Systems here.

Nexter Systems, France

Nexter Systems is a French state-owned company building a wide range of military vehicles, artillery, weapons and ammunition used by the French military and sold around the world. In 2019 a leaked report by the French government submitted to the French President Emmanuel Macron and his defence minister Florence Parly indicated that a range of weapons, including some manufactured by Nexter Systems, had been used by the Saudi military in Yemen.

Find out more about Nexter Systems here.


Airbus is the world's seventh biggest arms company, and part of the consortium of companies producing the Eurofighter Typhoon flown by the Saudi military. The Saudi-led coalition are also known to be using the Airbus 330 MRTT tanker planes to support fighter aircraft.

Leonardo, Italy

Leonardo is an Italian arms company specialising in a wide range of defence and aerospace equipment, and the worlds 9th biggest arms company. The company is part-owned by the Italian state which owns 30% of shares in the company, and dominates the Italian arms industry. Leonardo is a member of the consortium of companies building the Eurofighter Typoon, alongside BAE Systems and Airbus and used by Saudi Arabia. In April 2019 the head of Leonardo criticised Germany's decision to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia, claiming that the decision will "damage Europe’s chances to integrate its defense industry."

Find out more about Leonardo here.

SAAB, Sweden

SAAB is a Swedish arms company, founded in 1937. The company builds a wide range of military aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and missiles. The company has sold a radar system to the United Arab Emirates.

Find out more about SAAB here.

CMI Defence, Belgium

CMI (“Cockerill Maintenance & Ingénierie”) Defence is a Belgian company, building a wide range of artillery systems for light and medium armoured vehicles, as well as related services and training, including simulation systems, maintenance and repair, and upgrades. CMI Defence is involved in a huge arms deal between General Dynamics in Canada and Saudi Arabia. The $15 billion deal was initially described by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as simply for “jeeps”, but it has since become clear that the contract included “heavy assault” vehicles armed with turrets supplied from CMI Defence. The company has bought a military base in France to be used as a training ground; members of the Saudi military started using simulators and a live firing range in 2017.

Find out more about CMI Defence here.

Northrop Grumman, USA

Northrop Grumman is the world's fifth biggest arms manufacturer and has interests in a wide range of weapon technology, including planes, drones, sensors, radars, and providing logistical support and training for militaries around the world.. Northrop Grumman has "been heavily involved in the training and development of the Saudi military personnel, most notably providing technical services for the Ministry of the National Guard.”

Find out more about Northrop Grumman here.

Rheinmetall Defence, Germany

Rheinmetall is a German defence and automotive company founded in 1889, and is Germany's biggest arms manufacturer. The Saudi military has been spotted using US-built tanks using L44 120mm built by Rheinmetall, as well as the FH70 155mm towed howitzer.


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