UK close to selling UAE 60 Typhoon jets - defence source

AMMAN Wed Nov 7, 2012 12:24pm GMT

A Eurofighter Typhoon plane flies during an international air show in Belgrade September 2, 2012. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

A Eurofighter Typhoon plane flies during an international air show in Belgrade September 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Marko Djurica

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AMMAN (Reuters) - Britain has made "extremely encouraging" progress in securing an order from the United Arab Emirates for 60 Typhoon fighter jets made by BAE Systems, a British defence source said on Wednesday.

"There is a political agreement. Clearly there are a lot of details to be worked through, but it is extremely encouraging," the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

He said a contract was likely to be signed sooner rather than later.

The official was speaking after British Prime Minister David Cameron travelled to the UAE earlier this week on a two-day diplomacy and trade visit. Previously, Cameron's office and BAE sources had said the Emiratis had shown interest in ordering up to 60 of the aircraft.

The two countries said in a joint communique on Tuesday that they planned to establish a defence and industrial partnership involving close cooperation around the Typhoon. They did not give details of the tie-up.

In 2007, Saudi Arabia signed a contract with BAE to buy 72 Typhoons; that deal was worth around 4.5 billion pounds ($7 billion).

(Reporting by Mo Abbas; Writing by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Dan Lalor and Louise Heavens)

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