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SAMI’s first Saudi-US partnership begins operations

The first joint venture of its kind will involve the development of advanced communications, sensors, and integrated mission systems.

Underlining its commitment to building a robust indigenous defence industry ecosystem through global partnerships, Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has launched a new joint venture (JV) with L3Harris Technologies, a major in aerospace and defence systems.

SAMI L3Harris Technologies has been created with the goal of accelerating SAMI’s growth by developing advanced communication, sensor, and integrated mission systems capabilities in support of Saudi Arabia’s armed and security forces.

The agreement was finalised at the Paris Air Show in June 2019 during a signing ceremony attended by SAMI Chairman Ahmed Al-Khateeb and L3Harris Technologies Vice Chairman, President, and COO Christopher Kubasik.

Initially focusing on localisation of L3Harris’ advanced communication and sensor products, the JV scope will expand to include prime contractor responsibilities for integrated mission systems and platforms, leveraging robust local industry partnerships.

Both companies will collaborate in areas such as technical/specialised operator and maintenance training, transfer of production, and transfer of technology.

Speaking about the partnership, Walid Abukhaled, CEO of SAMI, said: “We are pleased to partner with a globally renowned company of L3Harris Technologies’ stature for the launch of this joint venture, which unlocks exciting opportunities for the transfer of technology and expertise to Saudi Arabia. Our collaboration will further strengthen the Kingdom’s military capabilities, enable its self-sufficiency, and create high-quality career opportunities for skilled Saudi citizens. I have full confidence in the capabilities of the joint venture’s newly appointed leadership team and wish them every success in their endeavours as we continue to contribute to our overarching goal of supporting the localization of more than 50% of military equipment spending by 2030.”

Charles R. “CR” Davis, Vice President of L3Harris International, said: “The launch of this joint venture represents another important milestone in our journey to establish a long-term presence within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We look forward to continuing to work closely with SAMI to support them in enabling the local defence industries in the Kingdom. Through this joint venture, we will leverage L3Harris Technologies’ leadership in technology innovation with Saudi Arabia’s defence industry champion to provide advanced military capabilities and world-class research and development activities for the Kingdom.”

The SAMI L3Harris Technologies’ Board of Directors has appointed Hogan Wilson as Chief Executive Officer and Rayan Al Zamil as Chief Financial Officer of the new JV company.

L3Harris Technologies is the first US defence company to form a registered and operational joint venture with SAMI.

Since its inception in 2017, SAMI has been leading the Kingdom’s drive to develop a self-sufficient defence ecosystem through its fast-growing portfolio of military products and services.