Saudi Arabia clinches deal to assemble 150 Blackhawk helicopters locally –part of Vision 2030

PKonweb Report — A U.S.-Saudi arms deal announced on Saturday includes a pledge to assemble 150 Lockheed Martin Blackhawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia, said a report citing an official statement.

The $6 billion deal for S-70 Blackhawks is expected to result in about 450 jobs in Saudi Arabia, the statement said.

The letter of intent agreement was among several deals announced in capital Riyadh on Sunday at the Saudi-US CEO Forum during the historic visit by the US President Donald Trump to the Kingdom where he addressed 55 Arab and Muslim heads of states and inaugurated “The Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology” in Riyadh.

A significant number of defense deals were signed at the forum — more than 90 CEOs from around the world attended the summit.

According to local media reports, a number of new licences are being issued for US defense contractors to set up their base in the Kingdom with localization in focus as 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 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 the 150 Blackhawks, reported The National.

The deal is part of an estimated $110bn of defense agreements announced on Saturday between the US and Saudi Arabia, one of the largest in history, according to Time, and includes tanks, artillery, radar systems, armored personnel carriers, besides Blackhawk helicopters. The package also included ships, patrol boats, Patriot missiles, and THAAD missile defense systems, the report said.

​”We are proud to be part of this historic announcement that will strengthen the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia,” remarked Marillyn A. Hewson, the chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation.

The agreement supports Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 by developing local capabilities through technology and skills transfer,” Hewson was quoted as saying.

“We are especially proud of how our broad portfolio of advanced global security products and technologies will enhance national security in Saudi Arabia, strengthen the cause of peace in the region, and provide the foundation for job creation and economic prosperity in the US and in the kingdom,” he said.

The agreements will directly contribute to Saudi Vision 2030 by opening the door for thousands of highly skilled jobs in new economic sectors, he added.

According to The National (UAE-based newspaper), Lockheed signed letters of intent and a memorandum of intent to sell Saudi Arabia technology that includes integrated air and missile defense systems, multi-mission surface combatant ships, radar systems, surveillance systems, tactical aircraft and rotary wing programs, the defense 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 defense 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 defense 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 defense industry.

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