Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Trump in Riyadh: Lockheed to assemble Black Hawk choppers in Saudi Arabia as part of broad defence deal

The deal is part of an estimated $110 billion of defence agreements signed on Saturday between the US and Saudi Arabia, where president Donald Trump is leading a high level delegation on his first international trip since taking office.

RIYADH // Lockheed Martin said on Sunday it inked a US$28 billion deal with Saudi Arabia to supply a wide range of military equipment and set up a facility to assemble about 150 S-70 Black Hawk helicopters.

The deal is part of an estimated $110bn of defence agreements signed on Saturday between the US and Saudi Arabia, where President Donald Trump is leading a high-level delegation on his first international trip since taking office.

The Lockheed deals will create 18,000 skilled jobs in the US and thousands of jobs in Saudi Arabia as both countries seek to be active in job creation as part of their political mandates. Saudi Arabia has outlined Vision 2030 that aims to develop new industries such as defence and lower foreign defence purchases, while President Trump is keen to support US job creation.

More than 50 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s military spending is envisaged to be sourced locally by 2030 under Vision 2030, the brainchild of deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Lockheed signed letters of intent and a memorandum of intent to sell Saudi Arabia technology that includes integrated air and missile defence systems, multi-mission surface combatant ships, radar systems, surveillance systems, tactical aircraft and rotary wing programs, the defence company said in a statement.

Lockheed also signed a letter of intent with Taqnia, a technology development and investment company owned by sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF), to form a joint venture for final assembly and completion of Black Hawk utility helicopters for the Saudi government.

Lockheed also signed an initial agreement with Saudi Arabian Military Industries (Sami), which is owned by PIF, to help the newly-formed defence company build its industrial capability and “provide for localisation efforts associated with multi-mission Surface Combatants and Aerostats”.

Saudi Arabia wants Sami to be one of the world’s top 25 defence companies by 2030 as it seeks to add thousands of manufacturing jobs and diversify its income away from oil.

Raytheon and General Dynamics also signed agreements yesterday with Saudi Arabia aimed at helping develop the kingdom’s defence industry.

dalsaadi@thenational.ae

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Updated: May 21, 2017 04:00 AM

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