RIYADH, Saudi Arabia --- Based on the agreement reached between the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Government of the Russian Federation on the procurement of several armament systems, whereas the Ministry of Defense in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed contracts to procure:
-- the S-400 air defense system,
-- the Kornet-EM system [anti-tank guided missiles—Ed.],
-- the TOS-1A [thermobaric multiple rocket launcher],
-- the AGS-30 automatic grenade launchers] and
-- the Kalashnikov AK-103 [assault rifle].
Based on the assurance of the Russian party to transfer the technology and localize the manufacturing and sustainment of these armament systems in the Kingdom, the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) announces the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a General Terms and Conditions Contract with Rosoboronexport, Russia's state company for exporting military products.
With the guidance of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, the two parties signed these agreements, which are expected to play a pivotal role in the growth and development of the military and military systems industry in Saudi Arabia.
The MOU focuses on localizing the manufacturing and sustainment of advance armament systems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in line with the objectives of Vision 2030. The MOU includes the transfer of technology for the local production of the Kornet-EM anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system, the TOS-1A advanced multiple rocket launcher and AGS-30 automatic grenade launchers with grenades.
In addition, the parties will cooperate in setting a plan to localize the manufacturing and sustainment of parts of the S-400 air defense system.
The General Terms Contract covers the local production of the Kalashnikov AK-103 and its ammunition which will contribute to raising the local content and enhancing self-sufficiency in line with Vision 2030.
The agreements also include educational and training programs for Saudi nationals to ensure the sustainability and development of the military industries sector in Saudi Arabia. These agreements are expected to have tangible economic contributions and create hundreds of direct jobs.
It will also transfer cutting edge technologies that will act as a catalyst for localizing 50% of the Kingdom's military spending as targeted by Vision 2030 which was launched by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Whether because of the US deal with Iran, or because of doubts about US support under President Trump, Saudi Arabia’s decision to buy, and locally manufacture, advanced Russian systems will rock the very core of the US-Saudi security alliance.
Coming on the heels of the United Arab Emirates’ decision to buy Sukhoi Su-35 combat aircraft, it also signals a marked erosion of the United States’ long-standing prominence in regional security affairs.
The arms package negotiated with Russia also jump-starts Saudi Arabian Military Industries, and the country’s plan to spend over 50% of its defense budget domestically, which was not taken very seriously when first announced in May of this year.
Although further analysis is clearly required, it is already clear that the regional balance of power will be greatly upset by this unexpected Saudi-Russian agreement.)