British arms manufacturer BAE Systems said Monday that the the Sultanate of Oman has asked for more detailed proposals for the Eurofighter Typhoon, as it edged closer towards a possible deal.
Oman had stated its intention to purchase Typhoon aircraft in 2010 and on Monday it issued a "request for proposals" to BAE Systems.
"BAE Systems welcomes the release of a request for proposals for the supply and support of Typhoon fighter aircraft for the Royal Air Force of Oman," a company spokesman told AFP.
"This news underpins the long-standing defence and security relationship between Oman and the United Kingdom and between the armed forces in Oman and BAE Systems, a major supplier of equipment and services to the Sultanate."
The aircraft would be built at BAE's site in Warton, near Preston in Lancashire, northwest England.
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Contractual negotiations are due to begin shortly, with BAE expecting it to involve 12 aircraft, to be delivered within 36 months after the deal is signed.
The Eurofighter is a project which involves companies from Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain.
The British government welcomed the latest announcement.
"This represents an important step towards the contract," a government spokesman said.
"Not only is this a further sign of the strong and enduring relationship between the two countries, but it also presents a further opportunity for both governments and respective industries to work together to bring wider economic, training and education benefits to Oman."
Last September, BAE Systems had axed 3,000 jobs -- mostly at its military aircraft division -- and had blamed reduced spending by cash-strapped governments that has slashed demand for fighter jets.