Saudi Arabia is making significant progress in the manufacturing of spare parts and military industries in the Kingdom, which has allowed significant savings through domestically manufactured products against imported ones.
“The savings – expected to be achieved by localizing 50 percent of the military spending amounting to 33 billion riyals ($8.8 bln) – is being re-injected into the Saudi economy,” said the director of the local manufacturing support department at the Saudi Defense Ministry, Major General Attiyah al-Maliki.
Al-Maliki said in an interview with Al Arabiya on the sidelines of the Armed Forces Exhibition to Support Local Manufacturing (AFED 2018) that the exhibition witnessed the signing of 33 memorandums of understanding and agreements since its launch among national companies, international companies and research centers, including 15 agreements which were signed recently.
This marks the beginning of the cooperation stage to localize productions, in preparation for concluding contracts between the parties concerned.
The participants offered about 80,000 investment opportunities to manufacture the materials and spare parts needed before the businessmen, companies, institutions and national factories.
Al-Maliki said that about 800 Saudi factories have applied to seize these opportunities.
There is a clear and rapid interest from foreign companies to transfer the technical knowhow needed for the localization of the military industries.
Al-Maliki revealed that foreign companies are taking the actual steps to equip local factories specialized in the manufacturing and maintenance of aircraft engine spare parts.
He noted the remarkable presence of more than 68 international companies (European, American, Turkish, Korean and Chinese) in the exhibition which were keen on partnerships with Saudi factories.
Al-Maliki does not deny that the localization of military industries is facing many challenges and obstacles, notably the lack of human resources and technical abilities, as well as weak cooperation between local factories in the Kingdom.
Yet, he affirms the existence of manufacturing opportunities and global capabilities looking for Saudi factories, and others looking to market their products.