Saudi firms seal MoU to propel local naval shipbuilding under Vision 2030
Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) revealed on 17 March that it has signed an MoU with Saudi shipyard International Maritime Industries (IMI) ‘to explore collaborations in the provision of defense vessels and services to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces [RSNF] and other navies in the [Middle East] region’.
In line with broader economic modernisation objectives of the Saudi government’s Vision 2030 programme, the MoU aims to localise the construction of naval vessels, sensors, combat management systems, weapon systems and mission software for the Saudi MoD and Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF).
As a preliminary step, IMI and SAMI will engage in discussions on how best to position a future localised offering to the Saudi Armed Forces and Security Forces.
Abdullah Al Ahmari, president and CEO of IMI, noted that the MoU will ‘enhance our offerings in a range of areas within the defence sector, reflecting our focus on developing strategic partnerships that will help expand our business capabilities’.
The latest MoU follows agreements between Spanish shipbuilder Navantia and two Saudi entities, announced during the World Defense Show (WDS) in Riyadh on 6-9 March.
Ongoing RSNF modernisation efforts include the four-vessel Multi-Mission Surface Combatant programme and the Avante 2200 programme for five Al Jubail-class corvettes (with the first-in-class vessel to be delivered by the end of this year).
Shephard Defence Insight also notes that the RSNF needs to replace its pair of Durance-class (Boraida-class) replenishment vessels in the near future and there is also a requirement for new minehunters.
In terms of higher-end platforms, the three French-built Al Riyadh-class frigates must be replaced during the 2030s; IMI teamed up with Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea to unveil their joint HDF-3800SA frigate design during WDS.
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