By Arab News
By Ghazanfar Ali Khan
US defense contractor Raytheon has announced plans to create an indigenous defense industry in the Kingdom by “accelerating its localization strategy” within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030.
“As part of the localization plan, Raytheon will generate billions of dollars in local defense revenue, and create 1,200 jobs for Saudis,” said Kurt Amend, chief executive of Raytheon Saudi Arabia.
Amend said on Tuesday that the company’s local entity Raytheon Saudi Arabia has been licensed by the Kingdom, which will help to achieve substantive self-reliance in the design, development and production of defense equipment locally. He said that “Raytheon Saudi Arabia will generate $7 billion in local defense revenue, and $6 billion in induced and indirect local revenue.”
“Raytheon Saudi Arabia looks forward to partnering with Saudi industry, government agencies, foundations and universities to create a vibrant defense industry in the Kingdom,” he said. Raytheon has already signed a memorandum of understanding with the state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI).
Amend identified areas for localization of the defense industry such as a missile defense system, precision-guided munitions and cybersecurity. “Our goal is to manufacture high-quality defense products in the Kingdom,” said Amend.
He added that the Kingdom is one of the world’s largest importers of defense equipment with a large part of its requirements met from outside the country.
Asked about the commercial license given by the Saudi Ministry of Commerce, Amend said that “this milestone allows Raytheon Saudi Arabia to accelerate its localization strategy.” “Commercial registration allows us to directly contribute to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by developing partnerships in the Kingdom that will create desirable jobs for Saudis,” he said.
“Raytheon Saudi Arabia is now officially a local Saudi company bringing Raytheon’s technology and innovation to the Kingdom.”
Raytheon has named Ahmed Al Awad as leader of government relations and an officer of Raytheon Saudi Arabia. The company will be based in Riyadh and is expected to include in-country program management, supply and sourcing capabilities, improved customer access and centralized accountability.
“These programs will positively impact Saudi and US economies including job creation,” said Amend, who had a 23-year career with the US Department of State before joining Raytheon. He has also served in the Riyadh-based American embassy.
Raytheon Company, with 2016 sales of $24 billion and 63,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions.