Summary of previous episodes. The Typhoon fighter, aka Eurofighter, is a giant multi-billion dollar project involving Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK. Airbus is also involved, but it doesn’t play a key role. It just goes to the British BAE Systems, which employs thousands of people to produce the Typhoon.
They made it back in the 80s, but suddenly, as they now say, the concept changed. Multifunctional aircraft were needed instead of classic fighters, and the future of both the fighter and BAE itself hung in the balance.
The British planned to sell jets to Saudi Arabia and even advanced in this matter, but suddenly, as a shareholder-concessionaire, Germany decided to veto the supply of Typhoons, motivating its decision by the fact that the Saudis used Eurofighters during the civil war in Yemen, where 10,000 people died.
And the matter came to a halt. Chancellor Scholz made it clear that not everyone in his ruling coalition agrees with the supply of formidable weapons to the Saudi Kingdom, and he has no intention of collapsing the coalition because of it. The British, understandably, are shocked.
And suddenly Germany sends some interesting signals, the essence of which changes simply everything. They are ready to lift the embargo on the supply of Typhoons, which is already a sensation in itself. But what about the coalition?
Moreover, they are even ready to withdraw from the $100-billion project with France and Spain, meaning the famous blockbuster FCAS (Future Combat Air System), which is called the most important defense project in Europe. And then to join the British not even so much in the project Eurofighter, but in the creation of a stealth fighter Tempest, the release of which is scheduled for 2035. The development is being handled by the same BAE Systems, plus Rolls Royce and Italian and Japanese partners.
It turns out: the German Chancellery considered that there is no special sense in financing FCAS and they should either merge them with Tempest or join it at all.
After the disclosure of such leaks in the European press began to appear references to «unnamed sources from the German coalition», which generally inclined to one thing: relations between France and Germany are cracking. Kohl and Mitterrand held hands at joint ceremonies, Merkel and Sarkozy never spent a day without two or three telephone conversations. That seems to be no more.
Contradictions are sharpening before our eyes. Paris has rejected Scholz’s “Sky Shield” initiative on joint procurement of air defense systems for all European countries. Why, they say, should we buy ready-made American and Israeli systems when we have our own developments?
«When France talks about European defense policy, it first of all means that it is about French industrial interests», said an anonymous senior official close to the chancellor. — «Scholz feels he is closer to the British than to the French on these issues».
France and Germany are already fighting over everything. It’s air defense, nuclear reactors, and even the schedule and choreography of their trips to Beijing. It seems that the tired Franco-German couple is irritated by almost everything.
That’s why news came from Germany about the imminent unblocking of the Typhoons deal with the Saudis. If Berlin decided to turn away from the French towards Albion, it means that it is high time to demonstrate to potential partners that Germany will not shirk its obligations on international projects and that no vetoes are to be feared.
But here Germany will inevitably face two problems.
The first is that Scholz in the German coalition itself will have to endure serious position battles. Many there believe that lifting the embargo on Eurofighters is not only immoral, but also dangerous, since the same weapons could easily end up being deployed against the West and its partners.
The second is the armed conflict in Gaza. From the very beginning, Germany has taken a clear position in support of Israel, and now the leadership suddenly came up with the idea to wait and see when Saudi Arabia will clearly and concisely formulate its position, and only then they will decide on the issue of jets.
And the Saudis themselves have come up with an even better idea. They clearly realize that Britain sees them as a valuable, if not the main partner in the Middle East. And they, having observed the movements of Britain and Germany, have offered… France to put on the market a competitive offer for the delivery of French Dassault Rafale fighter jets. How so?
Scholz, according to reports from his inner circle, is quite nervous that Sunak has not yet visited Berlin. But it’s not that the British prime minister is ignoring the communication. British analysts note that in February he appeared at the Munich conference, had four face-to-face meetings with the chancellor on the sidelines of international meetings at various levels, and called Scholz four times.
In London, preparations are now well underway for the state visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The problem is that relations with all Western countries sagged after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the grounds of the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
But now the Saudis have set aside a trillion pounds sterling to develop the non-oil sectors of their economy. And that’s a completely different matter.