The joint venture is likely to enhance the readiness and potential of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia made it to the headlines for entering into a preliminary agreement with France-based Naval Group to develop warships. The latest move reportedly comes along the heels of the country’s strategy to develop domestic manufacturing potential.

Sources close to the matter revealed that the SAMI (Saudi Arabian Military Industries), the state-owned defense company of the kingdom, made the announcement in Abu Dhabi at the IDEX military exhibition. Chief Executive of SAMI, Andreas Schwer, revealed that the latest deal includes the construction of warships, corvettes, frigates and related items through Saudi Arabia’s joint venture (JV) with the French naval defense company.

Andreas further commented that the joint venture is likely to contribute efficiently through the designing, construction and maintenance activities, to enhance the readiness and potential of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces.

Saudi Arabia, for the record, had established SAMI in 2017 for developing the manufacturing capabilities, aiming to domestically produce about half of the country’s requisite military equipment by 2030.

Apparently, the efforts to expand from an oil-based economy, led by Saudi Arabia’s existing ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has resulted in the military requirements of the kingdom. The UAE has also invested huge amounts in the development of its own manufacturing capabilities, in addition to holding civilian as well as military contracts with many foreign companies.

It has also been reported that SAMI has recently signed a deal with the Abu Dhabi state-fund Mubadala, in a bid to co-invest in manufacturing, maintenance as well as engineering. Reports further claim that the military deals with Saudi Arabia have been under renewed scrutiny since the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Allegedly, Germany prohibited arms exports to the kingdom over the supposed uncertainty surrounding the murder.