Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, in February 2016 signed an agreement to establish a joint venture with TAQNIA Aeronautics for helicopter production in Saudi Arabia.
The agreement outlined the investment, technology and skills needed to establish an assembly line to produce Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia.
“This would be Black Hawk helicopters produced by Saudis for Saudi Arabia; we plan to invest more than a million hours in this endeavor,” said Alan Chinoda, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Saudi Arabia.
“If you look at the future we are well invested in building human capital (in Saudi Arabia),” Chinoda said.
“We have a number of multi-collaborative efforts that we are working on with KACST (King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology), KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) and ... the Mohammed bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship, which started its MBA program this September.”
Lockheed Martin has been working with Saudi Arabia since 1965 with the delivery of the Kingdom’s first C-130 Hercules airlifter.
According to TAQNIA Aeronautics, the S-70 Blackhawks will be marketed to members of the Islamic Alliance as well as Saudi companies.
TAQNIA Aeronautics focuses on the transfer of technology in the aerospace industry, and aims to boost high-skilled production jobs for Saudi citizens and increase the localization of defense sector expenditure.