World Defense Show: Saudi Arabia, Lockheed to localize missile parts manufacturing

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Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) on Monday signed an agreement at the Riyadh World Defense Show to localize manufacturing of missile interceptor launchers and missile interceptor canisters.

The deal comes as part of the Kingdom’s strategy of localizing more than 50 percent of defense manufacturing by 2030.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile systems, or THAAD, is produced by Lockheed Martin to protect against short and medium range missiles.

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In 2017, Saudi Arabia “expressed its intent to procure more than US $28 billion” in defense technology, for which Lockheed says is working in partnership to “align with Vision 2030” in a statement.

A Lockheed spokesperson, in a statement to Al Arabiya English, said that the latest move comes in recognition of Saudi Arabia’s industrial base and the growth opportunity it provides.

The US-based aerospace company said they “look forward to helping SMEs become part of the supply chain for key defense systems that the Kingdom is procuring.”

They also said that the new agreement seeks to create jobs for “highly skilled Saudi engineers.”

A GAMI spokesperson was not immediately available for comment, but Gasem al-Maimani, GAMI Deputy Governor, said in a media statement that “these two localization projects, are in further service of this promising sector’s national priorities.”

“Air domain defense readiness is expected to be greatly enhanced,” he added in the statement.

A source familiar with the matter also told Al Arabiya English that Lockheed and GAMI have already “started earlier through this project with a number of local partners,” without providing further details on the record.

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