BAE Systems: Sales to Countries With Ongoing Human Rights Violations

BAE Systems has bolstered sales to Asia and the Middle East. The Company recently closed a £2.5 billion (approx. €3 billion) deal to supply Eurofighter Typhoon and Hawk combat jets to Oman.[1] BAE Systems is also engaged in negotiations to supply Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.[2][3]

The company’s key market, however, is in Saudi Arabia. British Aerospace’s (later BAE Systems) mid-80s Al Yamamah deal was a record-breaking arms deal for the U.K.[4] Later, the Salam Deal supplied 72 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to the Royal Saudi Air Force.[5] BAE also has contracts with the Saudi Arabian National Guard supplying military products like the Tactica armored vehicles that were used during Saudi Arabia’s March 2011 invasion of Bahrain. BAE maintains that its relations with Saudi Arabia are beneficial, that the Saudi Arabian society is becoming more open, and that conditions are improving. Despite these claims, Saudi Arabia is ranked 163rd out of 167 countries in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Democracy Index 2012” report.[6]

[1] Rachel Cooper (2012): “BAE secures £2.5bn jet deal with Oman”, The Telegraph, 12 December, accessed 11.09.2013

[2] Rhys Jones (2013): “Bahrain in talks over possible Eurofighter deal: BAE”, Reuters, 7 August, accessed 11.09.2013

[3] Shehab Al Makahleh (2013): “UAE likely to buy 60 Eurofighter Typhoon jets”, Gulf News, 21 February, accessed 11.09.2013

[4] David Leigh and Rob Evans (2011): “The BAE Files. Secrets of al-Yamamah”, The Guardian, accessed 11.09.2013

[5] Rhys Jones (2012): “UPDATE 1-BAE Systems signs Saudi-Eurofighter deal”, Reuters, 3 April, accessed 19.09.2013

[6] Economist Intelligence Unit (2013): Democracy Index 2012: Democracy at a Standstill. The Economist Intelligence Unit, accessed 19.09.2013

Case location
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia


Affected topics
  • Human and Labour Rights
  • Controversial Weapons
Directly and indirectly (through shareholding) involved companies Indirect investors through shareholding

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