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Britain in Dogfight to Retain Warplane Supremacy

  • Brexit threatens to fracture decades-old defense partnerships
  • Qatar deal boosts BAE Systems, but Saudi order still vital
An RAF Typhoon

An RAF Typhoon

Photographer: Mark Cuthbert/Getty Images

From the World War I-vintage Sopwith Camel through the iconic Spitfire to the Harrier jump jet, Britain has been a leading player in warplane production almost since the advent of aviation.

But with stuttering sales of the latest Eurofighter Typhoon model forcing job cuts at U.K.-based BAE Systems Plc, Europe’s biggest defense company, and the upheaval of Brexit straining defense pacts, that heritage may count for little.