Saudi Exports seeking to build on $34.13bn non-oil trade with Africa

RIYADH: The World Defense Show concluded on Thursday with the signing of 61 deals worth SR26 billion ($6.93 billion).

During the event, a total of 73 agreements were signed between top international companies and Saudi firms. As many as 10 agreements were sealed by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense with local and international companies to enhance the capabilities of the armed forces branches, improve their efficiency as well as contribute to localization of defense manufacturing.

These included deals with Rheinmetall Arabia Simulation and Training, South Africa’s Hensoldt GEW, Spain’s Rheinmetall Expal and Bosnia’s Igman Co.. 

Additional agreements were signed with South Korea’s Poongsan Corp., Qudra Industrial Co. and Fahad International Co. and the National Co. for Mechanical Systems.

Keeping the momentum, the Saudi Arabian Military Industries signed a strategic memorandum of understanding with Kia Corp.

The deal aims to strengthen the competencies of SAMI Land Systems to build light tactical vehicles through collaboration, research, and development including contributing toward enhancing cooperation to produce military vehicles within Saudi Arabia.

Another MoU was agreed with the Saudi Telecom Co. to transform the Kingdom’s defense and security sectors through the integration of innovative digital solutions including enhancing the digital infrastructure within the industries.

The collaboration will merge SAMI’s expertise in the military industry with STC’s capabilities in telecommunications. It will focus on developing advanced command and control center services.

Ziad Al-Musallam, executive vice president at Advanced Electronics at SAMI, said: “It (signing of the deal) marks the beginning of a significant journey with stc to bring forth unparalleled digital solutions in defense and security, reinforcing our nation’s protective measures.”

Saud Al-Sheraihi, products and solutions vice president at stc, said: “This collaboration with SAMI … showcases our commitment to technological excellence. Together, we are setting a new benchmark in defense and security systems that aligns with the national vision.”

The General Authority for Defense Development inked seven contracts with businesses and national centers for defense development programs worth over SR500 million ($133.32 million), including with Advanced Electronics Co., NCMS, WAKEB and Prince Sultan Defense Studies and Research Center.

Faleh bin Abdullah Al-Sulaiman, governor of GADD, highlighted that the authority is progressing with fulfilling the directives of the leadership to localize defense systems and technologies.

He said: “The signing of these contracts aims to enable and integrate research, development and innovation activities and transform their systems and services outputs into sustainable national products.”

The official added that part of these contracts would be implemented by companies and development centers in cooperation with universities.

To add to the series of deals, NTGS signed a deal with Saudi Arabia’s defense company ERAF to manufacture and integrate the ALAKRAN mobile mortar system on a suitable vehicle platform through locally sourced parts and manpower.

The agreement was signed by Juan Carlos Estrella, CEO of NTGS, and Fahad Al-Ameel, vice-president of ERAF.

The NTGS CEO said: “This agreement with ERAF will usher in a new chapter for ALAKRAN in Saudi Arabia. We have made an unwavering commitment to our partner and the local economy to further develop and manufacture the system using locally sourced parts and resources to meet the requirements of the Kingdom’s armed forces.”

Abdullah Al-Ameel, chairman of ERAF, said: “ALAKRAN is a globally in-demand and combat-proven system, and our agreement with NTGS aligns with our dedication to support the current vision of the Kingdom by delivering global competitive advances in the local defense industry.”

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