Saudi Arabia’s Meteor Missile Buy Blocked

Meteor missile.  Source: Ashlyak/ Wikimedia Commons

The German government has reportedly blocked the sale of Meteor air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia, in line with a German ban on the export of arms to Saudi Arabia following the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.

On February 5, 2019, French newspaper La Tribune reported that the German government has blocked an export license for the Meteor air-to-air missile to be sold to Saudi Arabia.  The Meteor, a product of European multinational MBDA, utilizes a significant amount of German components that are difficult to replace, the publication noted, which will make circumventing the German ban difficult.

La Tribune noted that MBDA did not respond to a request for comment on the information.

Saudi Arabia has been seeking to arm its Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets with the Meteor to give them a long-range air-to-air capability.  Meteor is believed to carry a range of over 100 kilometers.  A product description on MBDA’s website notes, “Guided by an advanced active radar seeker, Meteor provides all weather capability to engage a wide variety of targets from agile fast jets to small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and cruise missiles.  It is designed to meet the most stringent of requirements and is capable of operating in the most severe of clutter and countermeasure environments.”

The ban marks the second time in recent years that an export of MBDA systems to the Middle East has been blocked.  La Tribune has previously reported that the U.S. blocked the sale of the SCALP missile to Egypt, which temporarily ensnared a larger deal that Paris has hoped to ink with Cairo for a new order of Dassault Rafale fighter jets.  The SCALP missile utilizes some American components, but it is believed that MBDA has been able to replace these parts so as to avoid the American ban.

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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