Turkey will be guest of honor at Saudi armed forces exhibition

Supporting local companies to enhance production and quality through working with international companies will be one of the key aims of the Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversification of Local Manufacturing. (AN Photo)
Updated 21 February 2018

Turkey will be guest of honor at Saudi armed forces exhibition

RIYADH: Supporting local companies to enhance production and quality through working with international companies will be one of the key aims of the Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversification of Local Manufacturing (AFED).
Gen. Attiya Al-Maliki, spokesman for the exhibition and director general of the department overseeing the localization of manufacturing, said that Turkey would be guest of honor at the armed forces exhibition. The Ministry of National Guard would also participate in the exhibition.
During a press conference in Riyadh on Wednesday, Al-Maliki said the AFED, held from Feb. 25 to March 3 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, was in line with the Vision 2030 strategy.
Al-Maliki said there would be seminars and workshops during the event to present obstacles and how to overcome the challenges with proposals for industries. He said it would be a good opportunity for manufacturers and investors to identify business opportunities.
He said that when hearing about the AFED, many people “believe the companies are exclusive in showcasing only military needs, but that is not correct. In truth, we use products that are used both for military and civilian needs.”
“AFED is in line with Vision 2030 to support local products and manufacturing, and this is a tool to make Vision 2030 a reality,” he said.
The aim of the exhibition is to locally manufacture arms so that the nation’s factories benefited from sales rather than buying them from abroad.
The first AFED exhibition was launched in 2010 in Riyadh exclusively for the armed forces. The second exhibition was held in Dhahran in partnership with Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC). The third exhibition was held in Riyadh in 2016 with Saudi Aramco, SABIC and a growing number of companies.
Earlier, Al-Maliki said that the exhibition was part of the government’s economic reforms, which aimed to stimulate investment, support non-oil exports and develop a knowledge-based economy.

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 20 July 2019

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.

The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.