Bombs made in the UK are being used to slaughter civilians in Yemen and Gaza
Saudi Arabia are the largest buyers of UK weapons and the government has licensed over £3.8bn worth of arms to the regime.
Campaigners fear that UK-made bombs are being used by Saudi Arabia against civilians in Yemen.
The Glenrothes plant of Raytheon in Fife, Scotland – one of the world’s largest arms firms – produce laser-guided systems for Paveway IV 'smart bombs'.
Britain has supplied Paveway IV missiles to the Saudis, who have been bombing Houthi rebels in Yemen in a forgotten war that has resulted in the deaths of nearly 2000 civilians.
Other Arab states have also joined in the bombing of Houthis since the end of March – in a bid to reinstate Yemen’s president Abd-Rabbu Mansour, who was ousted by the rebel group.
The Saudi-led coalition of Gulf states are backed by Britain and the US, and the Saudis have a fleet of British and American-made fighter jets, including F-15s, Tornados and Eurofighter Typhoons.
But Saudi warplanes have been accused of targeting civilian homes and factories, prompting human rights groups to call for war crime investigations.
The Arms Trade Treaty, which came into force last December, prohibits the sale of weapons where there is a clear risk they could be used for war crimes.
Last year, Raytheon announced they had won their first international contract for Paveway IV missiles in a deal worth £130million.
The firm said they would deliver hundreds of the bombs to their secret buyer.
Raytheon have also been supplying the RAF with Paveway IVs since 2008.
The Ministry of Defence have admitted that they supplied Saudi Arabia with the bombs that were originally earmarked for the RAF.
Responding on July 14 to a written question in the Lords about the help Britain had given the Saudis against Houthi rebels, the MoD said: “We are not participating directly in Saudi-led military operations in Yemen, but we are providing technical support, precision-guided weapons and exchanging information with the Saudi Arabian armed forces through pre-existing arrangements.”
The Royal United Services Institute – a UK defence and security think tank – says that Paveway IV missiles were being used by the Saudis in Yemen.
Michael Stephens, of RUSI, said: “The UK had Paveway IV missiles that were designed for our own planes but we sent them to the Saudis instead.
“It’s a primary weapon for the Typhoon and is being used in Yemen. UK aircraft and munitions have been used and the Saudis are not denying that.”
A series of reports by the BBC’s Newsnight last week revealed mounting concerns that the bombing campaign has destroyed civilian homes and factories.
Last month, Amnesty International said they had investigated eight air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition that killed at least 141 civilians and injured 101 others – mostly women and children – during a research mission to Yemen in June and July.
Amnesty said the evidence revealed a pattern of air strikes targeting heavily populated areas, including homes, a school, a market and a mosque. Their report said that in the majority of cases no military target was nearby.
One resident who told Amnesty about an attack on a residential compound in Mokha on July 24 said “corpses and heads” were scattered everywhere “engulfed by fire and ashes” and compared the sight to a scene from “judgment day”.
Another local said he was haunted by the memories of walking through the “pools of blood and severed limbs” of more than 20 victims.
Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera said: “Coalition forces have blatantly failed to take necessary precautions to minimise civilian casualties, an obligation under international humanitarian law.
“Indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amount to war crimes.”
Campaign Against Arms Trade said Saudi Arabia are the largest buyers of UK weapons and the British Government had licensed more than £3.8billion worth of arms sales to the regime.
Andrew Smith, of CAAT, said: “War and conflict on the other side of the world can often feel distant and remote but the Saudi regime are getting armed by companies all over Scotland and the UK.
“They have unleashed a humanitarian catastrophe on the people of Yemen and these arms companies are complicit in it.
“There must be an embargo on all arms sales to Saudi Arabia and an end to Government support for what is one of the world’s most authoritarian and repressive regimes.”
The United Nations said that since the coalition started their bombing campaign in Yemen on March 26 at least 1950
civilians have been killed and 4271 wounded in air strikes and fighting.
Last year, it was revealed that Paveway bombs, fitted with the Fife-made guidance systems, were being used by the Israelis in Gaza.
A Raytheon spokesman said: “We are significant contributors to the economy through employing nearly 600 people in Glenrothes and through exporting £500million of advanced systems and technologies since 2002.
“We have world-leading capability in cutting-edge micro electronics, which is driving efficiencies in commercial aviation and automotive markets, as well as others which have the potential to deliver great economic benefits.”
The Saudi Arabian embassy in London wouldn’t comment.