Saudi Arabia strengthens defense sector
Riyadh pushes for self-sufficiency in aeronautics, systems and missiles
The Saudi Arabian Government is focusing on the country's nascent military industry. The objective is to progressively achieve self-sufficiency in the defense sector, in particular in aeronautics, systems and missiles. This is one of the priorities of crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the young Defense minister and chairman of the Kingdom's Economic Affairs Council, who is allocating large investments made available by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the Kingdom spent $57 billion on defense last year, one of the largest budgets of any country in the world. These investments are part of the "Vision 2030" plan with which the crown prince intends to diversify the Saudi economy, today still dependent on oil. One of the clearest examples of this trend is the new Advanced Electronics Company plant, a defense electronics company that produces components for bombs and drones, purchased last year by a state-controlled company.
The "Vision 2030" plan reflects Saudi Arabia's desire for self-sufficiency in the defense sector. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund is pressing for international arms manufacturers to transfer production and maintenance services to the Kingdom. Riyadh is already in talks to assemble Lockheed Martin's Blackhawk helicopters, armored vehicles, defense systems, and missiles, with local labor and in collaboration with the government. This is also a way to free themselves from the political blockade in the United States on the sale of arms to the Saudis.
AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency