In an interview with the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations website, Amin Parto referred to the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s negotiations to join the project for building a new generation of fighter jets by Britain, Italy, and Japan. He clarified: Earlier, Riyadh requested the purchase of an F-35 from the US within the framework of normalizing its relations with the Israeli regime, but the United States has put the fighter jet at the disposal of the Israeli regime. Even the promise given to the UAE by Trump was canceled; because the US knows that if it sells those weapons to one of the Arab countries, it must sign such an agreement with other Arab countries in the region.
He stated that Saudi Arabia is looking for a competitor and an alternative to the F-35 fighters, which is even more advanced than that, and continued: Unlike the previous purchases that Saudi Arabia has made and spent billions of dollars in this regard, such as the purchase of “Typhoon” from the consortium of Britain, Italy, Germany, and Spain, or the purchase of “Tornado” from Britain and “F15” from the U, which are constantly faced with threats and their sellers say that they will no longer sell its ammunition or they will cancel its maintenance service, this time, it is trying to become a partner to eliminate the risk of sanctions or cancellation of sales and delivery of services.
The analyst of Saudi affairs pointed to the obstacles facing Saudi Arabia to join the project of building fighter jets, which is also known under the Global “Combat Air” Program as TEMPEST and added: Despite the opposition of Britain and Italy, Japan also does not agree with Saudi Arabia joining this plan for political reasons. In addition, Saudi Arabia does not have the necessary technical infrastructure to join such a joint program and looks at this cooperation more with the view of helping to finance the project.
Parto continued: Japan first had a plan to build a type of fighter and built a prototype of it. But because of its costs, it stopped producing it, and after that, with the cooperation of Britain, it formed the Global Combat Air Program. Therefore, Japan’s role in agreeing with Saudi Arabia joining the program is important due to its technical cooperation.
He added: Saudi Arabia seeks to reduce its dependence on the United States and establish a domestic arms industry; as in the past weeks, we witnessed the signing of a large contract to purchase the “Akenji” drone from Turkey, which is expected to be produced in Saudi Arabia. In addition, it is possible that Saudi Arabia will succeed in investing in building Turkey’s “Kizil Alma” fighters.
Parto said that in the past months, Saudi Arabia has shown that it looks to make a fuss, shape the advertising atmosphere, and show off in joining arms purchases or in building cooperation, and explained: An example of this new generation of fighter jets has not yet been built and it is possible that a prototype will be made in 2026, and after that they will start building the engine, completing its flight systems and radar, and considering that these jets are also unmanned, its building has its own special issues. Therefore, the completion of this project will lead to 2035.
According to the analyst of Saudi affairs, with such measures, part of which is propaganda, Riyadh seeks to show that it has high power and, at the same time, give warning signs to the US and those who want to progress projects with that country that it has the necessary cards to play in choosing different options.
He stated that by analyzing the military balance in the region, it could be said that the will of the world powers is that no side in the region should be higher than the Israeli regime, and especially in the field of air weapons, the Israeli regime should have more power and emphasized: The United States and as a result, Europe, has had the will and other powers have also tried to observe such balance. Russia and China have also observed that the weapons they sell to the Middle East countries do not create a trend that upsets the military balance, especially in the air and, to some extent, in the sea and land against the Israeli regime. The most powerful armies in the region are still far weaker than Israel, and companies follow American protocols for arms sales.
Parto continued: For example, although Turkey has a powerful army, it is still weaker than Israel. Even the Arab countries that spend vast amounts of money to buy weapons have a much lower level because it has been trying to keep their military power lower than Israel.
The expert on Saudi affairs did not consider the purchase of those new weapons to be proportionate to the level of threats that Saudi Arabia assessed in the region and added: This new generation of fighter jets is also much more expensive and advanced for a possible conflict in Yemen than what Saudi Arabia needs in the simple war environment of Yemen. The drones that Saudi Arabia bought from Turkey are more economical and easier to use, so that they can be more effective.
He pointed out that purchasing such weapons would improve the military position of Arabia in the long term. At the same time, the Arab countries also seek prestige by buying weapons. Sometimes it is possible that this level of weapons with such capabilities, which is supposed to be built a decade and a half later, does not have much justification.
Parto said: A large part of the orders of every important fighter Britain built in the past four or five decades were from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia ordered and received 72 Typhoon aircraft, and now it has ordered another 48 aircraft, which Germany has created challenges in this regard. Therefore, selling fighters to Saudi Arabia has a particular economic value for Britain. The income from the sale of warplanes to Saudi Arabia is a source of support for Britain. Although it seems unlikely that Saudi Arabia will be able to enter into the manufacture of those fighters and may only be able to have an assembly in this regard, it will definitely be the recipient of this new generation of fighter jets. In 2040, it will have it in its arsenal. At that point, it should be seen what the region’s security environment will be like, and will the Israeli regime also go towards more advanced fighters?