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

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.”

First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

Updated 17 July 2019

First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

  • 4,000 to partake in this year’s pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased quota

COLOMBO: Nearly 180 Sri Lankan Hajj pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia on Monday night, but not before thanking the Kingdom for the comprehensive facilities offered to them.

Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Haleem, Sri Lanka’s minister of postal services and Muslim religious affairs, said that this year’s issuing of Hajj visas was smooth due to the new e-Hajj services introduced by the Saudi government. 

“We were able to process all 4,000 Hajj visas efficiently. All of them were issued well in time,” Haleem said.

He added that officials from his ministry will be available at the airport to assist the pilgrims with their departures.

The minister said the flights of pilgrims this year will be ferried by both Saudi Arabian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. Haleem, who intends to participate in this year’s Hajj, said that the last flight of Sri Lankan pilgrims will leave Colombo on Aug. 7.

Sajjath Mohammed, a journalist from Madawala News, praised the e-Hajj service, saying: “The biometric services for the visas were available to pilgrims in Kandy and Batticaloa in addition to Colombo, the capital of the island.”

Rizmi Reyal, president of the International Airline Ticketing Academy in Sri Lanka, said that this year the Hajj services from Colombo have been enhanced to give a better experience to the pilgrims. He thanked the Saudi government, the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry in Colombo, the Saudi Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh for playing their part in these improvements.

The Sri Lankan government will also send a medical team to attend to any urgent needs of the pilgrims before they are taken to the nearest medical facilities in the two holy cities.