Britain's BAE Systems to Upgrade Saudi Tornado Jets
(Source: Agence France Presse; issued Sept. 11, 2006)
LONDON --- British defence company BAE Systems has won a major contract to upgrade Saudi Arabia's ageing Tornado fighter jets.

The deal, worth 2.5 billion pounds (4.6 billion dollars, 3.7 billion euros), comes three weeks after the sale of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon planes to Saudi Arabia in a contract worth 10 billion pounds, weekly financial newspaper The Business said Sunday..

"It is not appropriate for BAE Systems to make any comment on discussions between these two parties," a spokeswoman for the firm told The Business.

However, an unnamed Saudi source told the newspaper: "This will add a lot to the Tornados.

"The old ones with the new technologies will become de facto new aircraft. They will be the new generation of Tornados with the inside configuration completely changed.

"It will be mostly done in the UK and then all the know-how will be passed on to the Saudis. And with such a cost, it makes sense."

The Business said the Royal Saudi Airforce hopes to keep its 80-strong fleet of Tornados flying until 2020.

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