Portuguese / Spanish / English

Middle East Near You

Saudi, US arms giant join forces to strengthen kingdom's defences

A model C130 military transport aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp., sits on the Saudi Arabian Military Industries Co. exhibition stand during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget in Paris, France, on 18 June 2019. [Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
A model C130 military transport aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp., sits on the Saudi Arabian Military Industries Co. exhibition stand during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget in Paris, France, on 18 June 2019. [Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) on Sunday signed an agreement to set up a joint venture with US Lockheed Martin to enhance the kingdom's "defence capabilities".

SAMI, which is owned by the Saudi state's Public Investment Fund (PIF), said in a statement that it will own a 51 per cent stake in the venture, adding that it aims to "develop localised capabilities by transferring technology and knowledge, and by training a Saudi workforce in manufacturing products for, and providing services to, the Saudi armed forces".

Although Saudi Arabia continues to be a major global arms importer, a number of Western countries have in recent years suspended arms sales to Riyadh over its involvement in the war in Yemen.

Lockheed Martin's Vice President Timothy Cahill said Sunday's deal marked a "major milestone" for the US company.

"This agreement is in line with Lockheed Martin's strategy to expand its partnership with the kingdom by providing reliable defense and security solutions," Cahill was quoted as saying in the statement.

In 2017, the Saudi Public Investment Fund established SAMI to manufacture weapons locally, with the ambition to become one of the largest defence companies in the world by 2030.

READ: Saudi Arabia fifth-largest armoured power in the world

Categories
Asia & AmericasMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUS
Show Comments
Order your copy of our latest book - Engaging the World: The Making of Hamas's Foreign Policy - Palestine
Show Comments