With the creation of a new defence holding company and clauses requiring that local manufacturing and job creation be written into new contracts with international suppliers, the Kingdom’s aerospace, defence and security sector is primed for growth. The defence and security market in Saudi Arabia is among the most lucrative in the world, as exemplified by the more than $110bn worth of defence contracts signed during US President Donald Trump’s May 2017 visit to Riyadh. Shares in several major US defence firms soared following news of the agreements, and President Trump highlighted the boost for jobs in the US. However, the new deal also included pledges for new factories and employment prospects for people in Saudi Arabia itself.
This chapter contains an interview with Ahmed Al Khateeb, Chairman, Saudi Arabian Military Industries; and Advisor to the Minister of Defence.