Aerospace company Boeing inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) to centre at least 55 percent of its maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services for fixed- and rotary-wing military aircraft there.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: The memorandum of understanding between Boeing and SAMI also serves to provide sustainment services for fixed and rotary-wing military aircraft of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) military fleet, strengthening the Kingdom’s defence capabilities and enhancing deterrence.
It will further transfer technology that will enable the installation of weaponry on those aircraft, and to localise the spare parts supply chain in the Gulf.
This MOU follows a 10-year agreement that was completed in May 2017 between US and the KSA relating to military and commercial aircraft programmes. Major suppliers in the industry include Boeing, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and GE Aviation—a subsidiary of General Electric.
Respective investments, ownership positions, as well as other details about the new venture were not yet reveal. However, Boeing stated that through this partnership, its investment in the Saudi facilities and equipment could reach US$450 million.
On 2 April 2018, Boeing and Saudi Defence Ministry officials held a signing ceremony in conjunction with Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Boeing’s manufacturing premises in the Seattle area.
The memorandum was signed by Ahmed Al-Khateeb, chairman of SAMI, and Dennis Muilenburg, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Boeing at its manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington.
Part of the Saudi Vision 2030, this joint venture spearheaded by the kingdom’s prince Salman seeks to reduce the Arab state’s financial dependence on oil. It is also an attempt to develop other economic sectors including health, education, and infrastructure.
Specific goals of the projected Vision include boosting foreign investment in the country, bolstering non-oil trade, and increasing government spending on military and manufacturing programmes.
“Boeing has a long-standing commitment to Saudi Arabia, and is extremely keen on expanding its footprint in the country,” said Mr Al-Khateeb. He also added that his organisation “is exploring all collaborative opportunities to build a strong autonomous military industries ecosystem in the Kingdom.”
Boeing’s partnership with Saudi Arabia dates back more than 70 years, since 14 February 1945, when US president Franklin D. Roosevelt presented a twin-engine Dakota DC-3 airplane—manufactured by Boeing’s heritage company Douglas Aircraft, to then-king Abdulaziz Al Saud. The event also marked the birth of commercial air travel in KSA.
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