Saudi avi­a­tion com­pa­nies join forces to boost King­dom’s de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties


DUBAI: Sev­eral Saudi avi­a­tion com­pa­nies have formed an al­liance to man­u­fac­ture air­planes in the King­dom. The com­pa­nies signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing on the side­lines of the Dubai Air­show on Mon­day morn­ing.

The ini­tia­tive was launched by TAQ­NIA Aero­nau­tics, a sub­sidiary of the Saudi Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment and In­vest­ment Co. (TAQ­NIA), and fits with the aims of Vi­sion 2030 to na­tion­al­ize the avi­a­tion in­dus­try and raise do­mes­tic in­dus­trial out­put by 50 per­cent.

The mem­o­ran­dum was signed by the CEOs of TAQ­NIA Aero­nau­tics, TAQ­NIA De­fense and Se­cu­rity Tech­nolo­gies, Mid­dle East propul­sion Co., the Al-Salam Aero­space In­dus­tries, the Ad­vanced Elec­tron­ics Co., the Ad­vanced Ara­bian Sim­u­la­tion Co., the Sau­dia Aero­space En­gi­neer­ing In­dus­tries, the Air­craft Ac­ces­sories and Com­po­nents Co., and the Saudi Ro­tor­craft Sup­port Co.

The mem­o­ran­dum sig­nals the al­liance’s in­tent to es­tab­lish three pro­duc­tion lines for air­planes in the King­dom to man­u­fac­ture, test, sup­ply and main­tain three types of air­craft: The Ukrainian Antonov AN-132, the mul­ti­pur­pose Amer­i­can Black Hawk he­li­copter and drones.

The agree­ment in­cludes man­u­fac­tur­ing air­frames and in­stalling and test­ing high-tech de­fense tech­nol­ogy.

The CEO of TAQ­NIA Aero­nau­tics, Ali bin Mo­hammed Al-Ghamdi, a re­tired ma­jor gen­eral, said the al­liance was open to all qual­i­fied Saudi com­pa­nies in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try, in a bid to achieve in­te­gra­tion, not to cre­ate com­pe­ti­tion, and in or­der to en­sure high prof­its in the medium to long term.

Ab­dul­lah Al-Omary, CEO of the Mid­dle East Propul­sion Co., said it is the only com­pany in the King­dom that main­tains and man­u­fac­tures mil­i­tary air­craft en­gines. He added that his com­pany has served the Saudi Royal Air Force for over 16 years, and “Saudi Ara­bia owns 82 per­cent of the com­pany.”

Ha­mad Al-Yousefi, CEO of TAQ­NIA De­fense and Se­cu­rity Tech­nolo­gies, said that his com­pany looks for­ward to co­op­er­at­ing with TAQ­NIA Aero­nau­tics on the al­liance’s projects.

Sau­dia Aero­space En­gi­neer­ing In­dus­tries CEO Ali bin Ab­dul­lah Al-Ash­ban said that the agree­ment will in­clude the lim­ited man­u­fac­tur­ing of spare parts for air-de­fense air­craft and other air­craft used to sup­port mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions “in or­der to na­tion­al­ize this in­dus­try and ac­com­mo­date the in­creas­ing de­mand for it.”

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