• | 4:00 pm

Saudi Arabia partners with Airbus to bolster the country’s defense sector

The deal envisions manufacturing more than 100 helicopters and creating 8500 jobs.

Saudi Arabia partners with Airbus to bolster the country’s defense sector
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Most countries in the Middle East aim to localize defense industrial spending to boost their economies, reduce their reliance on imports and attract and develop intellectual capital.

To drive economic growth and localize the production of civil and military helicopters in the kingdom, Saudi defense company SCOPA and French aerospace company Airbus have signed an agreement to manufacture more than 100 helicopters. The first production of helicopters would be seen within 24 months of the World Defense Show in February 2024.

SCOPA CEO Fawaz Alakeel said this will provide as many as 8500 jobs in Saudi. Alakeel also mentioned that the company expects the investment to reach $6.6 billion in 20 years. 

There have been 24 agreements signed between Saudi and French companies.

Under Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Programme 2020, the Saudi government has begun partnering with the world’s leading defense contractors to incubate an indigenous defense manufacturing sector.

In 2018, Sami signed a joint venture agreement with US-based Boeing to localize more than 55% of the country’s maintenance and repair of fighter jets and helicopters.

According to reports, switching from importing to buying locally will generate direct local spending and a macroeconomic impact. In addition, exports also represent an exciting opportunity both within the region and beyond.

More Top Stories: