Lockheed Martin to invest $1 billion into Saudi Arabia’s domestic weapons production
The deal comes as Saudi Arabia seeks to achieve 50% domestic weapons production by 2030
By News Desk - March 08 2022

(Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Don Peek)

Weapons manufacturing giant Lockheed Martin will invest over $1 billion into the domestic weapons manufacturing industry of Saudi Arabia, according to an announcement by Ray Piselli, vice president of international business for Lockheed Martin.

A report by Asharq Business on 8 March stated that Lockheed Martin will work with Saudi General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI), the kingdom’s industry regulator, and Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), the state-owned weapons manufacturer.

While Piselli did not reveal details of the agreement, GAMI declared that its partnership with Lockheed Martin will include making parts for its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system.

Piselli declared that Saudi Arabia will become part of the global export market, where products and parts manufactured in the kingdom will be linked to global supply chains.

Saudi Arabia has been seeking to reduce its dependence on western arms sales, as well as its reliance on oil revenue.

On 3 March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) suggested that the Gulf kingdom may reduce its investments in the US, which has been the steady supplier of arms to Saudi Arabia, helping to fuel its war against Yemen.

“At the same time, we have the possibility of boosting our interests, and the possibility of reducing them,” MbS declared.

Saudi Arabian investments in the US stand at around $800 billion.

SAMI announced on 6 March a plan for a domestically-manufactured UAV and one of the largest weapons factories in the world, with the goal to produce 50 percent of its weapons needs domestically.

Saudi Arabia’s main use of weapons goes towards its ongoing aggression in Yemen, which was launched in 2015.

The current death toll of Yemenis stands at 377,000 according to recent UN figures. Around 70 percent of deaths are children under the age of five.

Yemen is currently facing one of the worst man-made humanitarian catastrophes as a result of the ongoing war and naval blockade.

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