UK arms sales to Saudis topped £1.1bn in first half of 2017

Britain’s sales of military equipment to Saudi Arabia hit £1.1 billion in the first six months of this year, according to the latest government data.

The UK sold £836 million worth of arms and military hardware to the Saudi kingdom between April and June, up from £280 million between January and March, according to statistics by the Department for International Trade (DIT).

The latest export license figures come amid increasing concerns over the Saudi military’s bombing in Yemen, which has so far killed more than 12,000 people and destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories.

The DIT has come under harsh criticism after it was disclosed that British soldiers had conducted demonstrations for weapons manufacturers. The department has not released the names of the countries that had attended the event.

It said identifying the delegations would “prejudice the relationship between the UK and other states.”

A freedom of information request by The Observer showed British forces took part in the event demonstrating the Firestorm targeting systems, used by Persian Gulf coalition forces carrying out airstrikes in Yemen.