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SAMI and Boeing seek JV for rotary-wing MRO

11th April 2022 - 11:20 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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 UH-60 Black Hawks during a military exercise in Saudi Arabia. (Photo: US Army/Staff Sgt Andrew Porch) 

With Saudi military aircraft numbers set to double in the next ten years, SAMI and Boeing are joining forces for helicopter MRO in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) has signed what it described as a ‘preliminary agreement’ with Boeing to enter into a Saudi-based JV for MRO of military helicopters.

‘Under the agreement, the parties will work together through a limited liability company to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul and sustainment services for military rotary[-wing] platforms currently operated in the Kingdom,’ SAMI announced on 6 April.

The Saudi armed forces operate a wide range of helicopters, including Boeing-supplied platforms such as the AH-6i (23 aircraft, according to Shephard Defence Insight), the AH-64D Apache Longbow (24) and the AH-64E Apache Guardian (12 in service with 60 more on order).

In September 2021, the US State Department approved a potential FMS worth $500 million for the MRO of helicopters flown by the Royal Saudi Land Forces.

Much of the MRO work for Saudi helicopters is currently undertaken overseas, so the JV with Boeing help SAMI to achieve its localisation objectives under the Vision 2030 economic modernisation programme while also helping to prepare for expected growth in the Saudi helicopter fleet.

SAMI CEO Walid Abukhaled said that aircraft numbers in the country ‘are expected to double in the next ten years’, adding: ‘We also see this joint venture as the first step towards a broader strategic partnership between Boeing and SAMI that will encompass additional platforms and services in the future.’

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