Saudi Military Industries Eye Localization, Tech Transfer Partnerships


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Saudi General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) Governor Ahmed Al-Ohali at the Defense and Security Equipment International Exhibition (DSEI) in London. (SPA)

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI), responsible for localizing, organizing, and empowering the military industries sector in the Kingdom, is participating in the renowned Defense and Security Equipment International Exhibition (DSEI).

The DESI kicked off its activities in London on Tuesday with a broad and global attendance.

At first glance, Saudi participation appears to be related to defense cooperation or striking business with companies. However, when reading the Kingdom’s pavilion slogan, “Invest Saudi,” visitors soon realize that GAMI is looking to attract investments.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, GAMI Governor Ahmed Al-Ohali said that the pavilion looks towards more localization and transferring technology to the Kingdom, as well as expanding international partnerships.

The governor also revealed that GAMI aims to conclude strategic and critical agreements to maximize the role of women in the military industries sector. The authority will do so with Saudi universities and research centers.

“We are committed to completing the march,” Al-Ohali told Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that GAMI is relying on the efforts of Saudi men and women to achieve its localization goals.

“Saudi women have strengthened their presence in the sector by engaging in the military-industrial system in the Kingdom,” he revealed, adding that GAMI is “keen on empowering Saudi women.”

He pointed out the unprecedented presence of female engineers and technicians in various disciplines serving this vital sector.

Describing the growth witnessed by GAMI, the governor used the term “remarkable.”

According to Al-Ohali, the number of licensed companies in the first half of 2021 reached 99 local, international, and mixed companies.

He said that these companies want to be a part of the development of the Saudi economy and have decided to pump their funds into the Kingdom based on its strategic location and qualitative capabilities.

Saudi Arabia has also facilitated procedures for foreign investors.

Al-Ohali stressed that the Kingdom’s leadership had given the military industries sector “limitless” support and care to strengthen Saudi Arabia’s strategic independence.

The sector strategy approved by the Saudi Council of Ministers consists of three main pillars.

They include acquisition, industry, and research, and technology.

Al-Ohali confirmed that GAMI is working with all the parties concerned with attracting investment to the Kingdom to ensure that an integrated picture of the investment environment in the Kingdom is presented.

“The Kingdom has become an ideal destination for investment in this sector in particular and the rest of the other industrial sectors in general,” stressed Al-Ohali.

“We worked with partners and came up with 74 investment opportunities related to localization in supply chains across six defense and security areas,” he remarked.

“We met with more than 350 investors and partners to identify these opportunities, and we worked side by side with our partners in the public and private sectors to develop a clear roadmap for industrial targets in the sector,” noted Al-Ohali.

As for Saudi Arabia’s participation in the DSEI, he said it aims at shedding light on the promising investment opportunities in the sector, supporting investors, and facilitating their access to the Saudi military and security industries market.

He added that the military industries system in Saudi Arabia, represented by GAMI and all its public and private sector partners, realize the strategic goal of localizing the military industries in Saudi Arabia with more than 50% of the country’s expenditure on military equipment and services by 2030.

Saudi Arabia’s participation at the DSEI event is expected to unlock the Middle East opportunity for UK firms. A senior-level delegation will be at the DSEI Saudi Pavilion to highlight opportunities in the Gulf defense show market.

Several high-level dignitaries and leaders, and key executives of large multinationals are set to visit the Saudi Pavilion, which will showcase a comprehensive portfolio of defense systems and solutions.



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SAMI Signs MoU with Turkish Defence Firms​

  • 06 Jul 2024, 09:24
  • 2 mins
SAMI Signs MoU with Turkish Defence Firms

Saudi Arabian SAMI has signed MoUs with three Turkish defence firms to contribute to its localised defence industry efforts. SAMI has announced the signing of MoUs with Baykar, ASELSAN, and Fergani (Baykar’s subsidiary for space systems). The MoU signed with Baykar covers establishing local production in Saudi Arabia for the firm’s UAV platforms.
Saudi Arabia has made a major purchase of AKINCI UCAVs for multiple branches of its armed forces with an aforementioned local production. The sale is worth $3 billion, breaking a record in defence exports.
The cooperation with ASELSAN involves the cooperation of electronic systems. This will likely involve systems to be used in AKINCI as well, with the UCAV set to use ASELSAN’s systems like ASELFLIR-500, ASELFLIR-600, and MURAD AESA radar.
However, this might also extend to guided munitions to be provided alongside AKINCI. The cooperation with Fergani is aimed at the joint development of space systems. The Gulf country has been interested in entering the sector in the last few years.
Fergani is currently developing small-sized satellites for a variety of applications. The total value of trade between the two countries reached $6.8 billion in 2023, of which $2.62 billion are Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia.


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