Middle East

public fund’s defence firm and Boeing to develop aviation sector  

The Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), owned by the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund (PIF), has signed a preliminary agreement with the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, to enter a joint venture to expand the Saudi aviation sector.

According to a statement issued by SAMI yesterday, the agreement will strengthen Saudi defence capabilities by providing maintenance, repair and overhaul services for military rotary platforms.

“This [joint venture] will serve to meet the needs of the growing aviation sector in the Kingdom and paves the way for more fruitful cooperation in the coming years,” said Ahmed Al-Khateeb, the chairman of the board of SAMI.

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SAMI was established in 2017 by the PIF in line with the Kingdom’s long-term strategic plan, Vision2030. It aims to localise over 50 per cent of the country’s arms industry and enhance Saudi Arabia’s self-sufficiency instead of reliance on foreign arms manufacturers.

“The maintenance of the rotary fleets operated in the Kingdom by the different forces represents a major opportunity for localisation and development of new sustainable skills,” said Walid Abu Khaled, SAMI’s chief executive. “Much of this work is currently outsourced to the US or Europe, while aircraft numbers in the Kingdom are expected to double in the next 10 years.”

He added that this joint venture is seen as a first step towards a broader strategic partnership between Boeing and SAMI that will encompass additional platforms and services in the future.

The deal is expected to be finalised in the weeks ahead, following the preliminary agreement signed last month at the inaugural Word Defence Show in Riyadh. SAMI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with International Maritime Industries (IMI), which is the largest shipyard in the region, to explore possible collaboration in the provision of defence vessels and services to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces and other regional navies.

READ: Saudi, US arms giant join forces to strengthen kingdom’s defences

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