Saudi Arabia Aims To Upgrade Domestic Aircraft Industry


The Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) consortium signed a preliminary agreement with U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing to establish a joint venture to repair helicopters in the kingdom.

According to SAMI Chief Executive Walid Abu Khaled, the wholly owned Saudi Public Investment Fund recently signed partnership agreements with
14 companies, three of which are among the largest in the world, during the World Defense Show (WDS). 

“The maintenance of the rotary fleets operated in the kingdom by different forces represents a major opportunity for localization and
development of new sustainable skills,” Abu Khaled said. 

As part of an effort to localize defense procurements set forth in its Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia hosted the WDS in Riyadh in March 2022 with the participation of more than 800 exhibitors and 15 international pavilions. 

“This joint venture will help enable more defense manufacturing to take place in Saudi Arabia, ensuring more jobs and prosperity in the kingdom,” SAMI Chairman Ahmed al Khateeb said of the Boeing deal. 

The Boeing deal will allow Saudi Arabia to maintain, repair and overhaul its helicopters domestically. “We are proud of the long-standing 77-year relationship that Boeing has with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Torbjorn Sjogren, vice president of Boeing’s International Government and Defense organization. 

The Saudi government recognizes the need to further strengthen the already strong partnerships with its allies not only to combat global terrorism, but also to support its economy by creating more jobs for a growing population and to localize military procurements. 

To this end, Saudi Vision 2030 includes a plan to localize half of military purchases by 2030, using SAMI as its main engine for developing its defense industry. SAMI employs 2,400 workers and 500 engineers.

Sources: Al Arabiya, Riyadh Daily

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