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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 April 2019

Saudi Crown Prince launches the country's first locally-assembled Hawk jet

The jet programme is part of government plans to localise military spending and production

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the country’s first Hawk jet training aircraft that was assembled by Saudi nationals.

The jet is part of a programme to assemble 22 Hawk jets in the kingdom with the help of Saudi citizens, who have been trained for more than two years to work on the aircraft as part of Vision 2030 initiative to boost localisation of military spending in the country, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Saudi-British Defence Co-operation Programme, in partnership with BAE Systems, supervised the training with the help of 25 Saudi companies.

Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s top military spenders, wants to localise at least 50 per cent of its expenditure on the sector by 2030.

Operators of the Hawk include the UK's Royal Air Force, notably the Red Arrows display team, and a number of other foreign military operators.

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, created Saudi Arabian Military Industries in 2017 to help cut the country's reliance on foreign arms' purchases.

Sami is planning multibillion dollar acquisitions and joint ventures this year, with a target of reaching $10 billion in sales by 2025 as part of the kingdom’s push to localise military spending, Andreas Schwer, its chief executive, told The National in February.

The kingdom’s military programme aims to create new industries that generate jobs for Saudis and attracts foreign direct investment.

Updated: April 1, 2019 06:32 PM

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