Saudi-US arms deal includes plans for 150 Lockheed Martin Black Hawk helicopters

A US-Saudi arms deal to be signed on Saturday includes a pledge to assemble 150 Lockheed Martin Blackhawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 21 May 2017
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Saudi-US arms deal includes plans for 150 Lockheed Martin Black Hawk helicopters

RIYADH: A series of US-Saudi arms deals announced on Saturday includes a pledge to assemble 150 Lockheed Martin Black Hawk helicopters in the Kingdom, an official statement said.
The $6 billion deal for Black Hawks is expected to result in about 450 jobs in Saudi Arabia, the statement said.
The letter of intent agreement between Lockheed Martin and Taqnia was among several deals announced in Riyadh on Saturday during the Saudi-US CEO Forum.
It comes as part of a wider potential deal with the US firm. Lockheed Martin said that Saudi Arabia has expressed its intent to procure more than $28 billion worth of integrated air and missile defense, combat ship, tactical aircraft and rotary wing technologies and programs.
“At Lockheed Martin, we are proud to be part of this historic announcement that will strengthen the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia,” said Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO. 
“We are especially proud of how our broad portfolio of advanced global security products and technologies will enhance national security in Saudi Arabia, strengthen the cause of peace in the region, and provide the foundation for job creation and economic prosperity in the US and in the Kingdom. These agreements will directly contribute to His Majesty’s Vision 2030 by opening the door for thousands of highly skilled jobs in new economic sectors.”
Another memorandum of intent covers government-to-government sales of Lockheed Martin programs to include integrated error and missile defense systems, multi-mission surface combatant ships, radar systems, surveillance systems, tactical aircraft and rotary wing programs, Lockheed Martin said.
Lockheed Martin and Saudi Arabian Military Industries also formed a memorandum of understanding to work together to build defense capabilities in Saudi Arabia to support Vision 2030 and provide for localization efforts.
“Once fully realized, the programs in this announcement will support more than 18,000 highly skilled jobs in the US and thousands of jobs in Saudi Arabia as part of maintaining and modernizing these platforms over the next 30 years,” the statement said.
“These programs help the Saudi government realize its Vision 2030 objective of building its domestic technology capabilities and skilled workforce.”


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

Updated 24 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

  • Qiddiya Project is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom
  • The first phase will be completed by 2022

RIYADH: Saudi King Salman will launch the construction of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh Wednesday, authorities said, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the Kingdom seeks to diversity its oil-reliant economy.
The 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, would rival Walt Disney and include high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities and a safari park, officials say.
The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns,” project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.
Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger said he expects the project will draw foreign investors in entertainment and other sectors, but did not specify the total cost of construction.
Such projects are the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a self-styled liberal change agent who is the chief architect of the sweeping “Vision 2030” reform program.
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with several plans for hi-tech “giga projects,” funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund, but some skeptics question their viability in an era of cheap oil.
The Kingdom has unveiled blueprints to build NEOM, a mega project billed as a regional Silicon Valley, in addition to the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination — both worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Analysts say the projects could create funding pressures at a time when the government faces a yawning budget deficit and growth in the Kingdom’s non-oil economy is only slowly gathering pace.
The reform stems partly from an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom has been reeling from an oil slump since 2014.
Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighboring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) announced it will stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double the number of last year, and pump $64 billion in the sector in the coming decade.