Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said yesterday that his country is seeking to increase the purchase of locally supplied military equipment from two per cent to 50.
“Our aim is to localise over 50 per cent of military equipment spending. We have already begun developing less complex industries such as those providing spare parts, armoured vehicles and basic ammunition,” the prince said in an interview with Al-Arabiya news agency. “We will expand this initiative to higher value and more complex equipment such as military aircrafts.”
“Is it possible that Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest country in the world in terms of military expenditure, and the third in 2015, and we have no military industry in Saudi Arabia?” he added.
The prince said that military industries will be a prosperous sector which will support the economy and create new jobs.
“We are now about to establish a holding company for military industries, 100 per cent owned by the government that will be listed later in the Saudi market,” he said.
“We expect it to be launched by the end of 2017.”
Salman criticised military spending in Saudi Arabia saying: “When I enter a Saudi military base, the floor is tiled with marble, the walls are decorated and the finishing is five stars. I enter a base in the US, you can see the pipes in the ceiling, the floor is bare, no marble and no carpets. It’s made of cement.”