Saudi Arabia says it is set to create a new military industries firm as part of its plan to become a major global arms supplier and gradually wean itself off oil revenues.
The state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) “aims to become one of the world’s top 25 defense companies by 2030,” a Thursday statement from the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) said.
The announcement came two days ahead of the planned trip of US President Donald Trump to the kingdom.
According to the PIF, SAMI will be both a manufacturer and service provider and it will be involved in maintenance and repair of fixed-wing aircraft and production of drones, military vehicle, missiles, radars and other electronic military equipment.
The firm is set to contribute nearly $3.7 billion to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic production and invest more than $1.6 billion in research and development by 2030, creating over 40,000 jobs, the PIF noted.
According to an April report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Saudi Arabia spent $63.7 billion in its military sector in 2016, making it the world’s fourth largest military spender.