By Rhys Jones
LONDON Aug 7 British defence firm BAE Systems
said the Gulf state of Bahrain was in talks about the
possibility of buying an unspecified number of Eurofighter
Typhoon fighter jets.
The Eurofighter combat jet is made by BAE Systems and
Italian weapons maker Finmeccanica, and EADS,
representative of Germany and Spain, with each taking
responsibility for particular campaigns.
"Bahrain has expressed an interest in Typhoon and the
British government are leading very early discussions; BAE
Systems is supporting the government in these discussions," a
BAE Systems spokeswoman said.
The Eurofighter consortium is targeting exports as European
governments slash defence budgets and has so far sold jets to
Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman outside the core four countries.
It is also vying for orders in South Korea, Kuwait, Qatar,
Bulgaria and Denmark. The Eurofighter's main competitors include
Lockheed Martin's F-35 jet, Dassualt Aviation's
Rafale fighter and the Gripen by Sweden's Saab
Earlier on Wednesday Bahrain's national news agency reported
that Bahrain's King Hamad al-Khalifa, who is currently in the
UK, had told British Prime Minister David Cameron that the Gulf
state was interested in buying Eurofighter jets to "create a
cohesive defence system between the Gulf Cooperation Council
The GCC is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia and the UAE.
This could be good news for the Eurofighter consortium's
attempts to secure a deal for the jet with the United Arab
Emirates (UAE), which was expected to finalise a $10 billion
agreement for France's Dassault Rafale fighter last year before
talks faltered, giving the group hope of stealing the deal.
Britain will hope its historic ties with Gulf Arab states,
many of them former British protectorates and regional allies,
will help it secure a deal with Bahrain, securing jobs BAE's
Typhoon production line - at Warton in northwest England.