Saudi Arabia’s SAMI signs deal with Lockheed Martin to enhance defense capabilities

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Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) has signed an agreement to set up a joint venture with US firm Lockheed Martin to enhance the kingdom’s defence and manufacturing capabilities, the state-owned Saudi company said on Sunday.

SAMI, which is owned by the Saudi state’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), will own 51 percent of the venture.

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“The new agreement will develop localized capabilities by transferring technology and knowledge, and by training a Saudi workforce in manufacturing products for, and providing services to, the Saudi armed forces,” the statement said.

Saudi is one of the world’s largest buyers of foreign arms.

SAMI was formed in 2017 to develop local defence manufacturing, help cut spending on imports and create more local jobs. The country’s economic plan, Vision 2030, aims to localize 50 percent of government military spending by 2030.

Lockheed Martin in involved in a project to install a $15 billion missile defense system in Saudi Arabia, part of a $110 billion arms package the administration of former President Donald Trump said it negotiated with the kingdom in 2017.

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