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Germany's Saudi arms ban forces Airbus to redesign warplane

The Saudi-led air campaign has killed over 60,000 people [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 February, 2019

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Airbus has decided to redesign a warplane to remove German components following Berlin’s freeze on arms exports to Saudi Arabia, company sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

European aerospace giant Airbus will redesign its C295 warplane to remove Germany parts following Berlin’s freeze on arms exports to Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported on Wednesday citing company sources.

The total German components used by the company on the warplane currently stands at four percent, a source said.

The navigational lamps used for landing on the planes are built in Germany, the source said.

"We are now designing [the German content] out of the plane," the source told Reuters.

Airbus will also review to see if German-source parts could be replaced on its other aircrafts, a second source said.

Earlier this month, Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders said his company could consider making products free of German parts because of Germany's "moral superelevation" on arms exports, which was frustrating Britain, France and Spain.

Berlin last week said it would hold firm on its decision to halt weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, shrugging off British warnings that the embargo could hurt European credibility and efforts to bring peace in Yemen.

The UK and France urged Germany to exempt big defence projects from its moratorium, as both countries have decided to keep selling weapons to Riyadh, ignoring calls from rights group to suspend sales on humanitarian grounds. 

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, backed by Western allies, have waged an extensive air campaign on Yemen.

The Gulf states imposed air, sea and land blockades and tightened access to the country by shutting down its main airport in Sanaa.

The air campaign and ground battles have killed over 60,000 people, displaced around 3 million, and pushed the country to the brink of famine.

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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