In the presence and patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia Minister of Defense, and Her Excellency Mrs. Reyes Maroto Illera, Minister of Industry of Spain, the Saudi Ministry of Defense and the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Spanish company Navantia to acquire and build a number of multi-mission combat ships for the Royal Saudi Naval Force (RSNF).
The MoU was signed by His Excellency the Assistant Minister of Defense for Executive Affairs, Dr. Khaled bin Hussein Al-Bayari, and from GAMI, Eng. Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Ohali, Governor of the Authority, and Mr. Ricardo Dominguez Garcia-Baquero, CEO and Chairman of the Spanish company Navantia.
The MoU aims to raise the level of readiness of the RSNF to enhance maritime security in the region, protect the vital and strategic interests of the Kingdom, and support the strategic, operational, and tactical goals of the MoD. In line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the MoU aims to promote the localization of up to 100% in the field of naval shipbuilding, integration of combat systems and ship maintenance. It will also concentrate on the integration of combat systems into new ships, systems design and engineering, hardware design, software development, testing, verification systems, prototyping and simulation, logistical support, and training program design.
On this occasion, HE Dr. Khaled Al-Bayari, confirmed that this MoU with the Spanish company comes in accordance with the directives of HRH Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, with the objective of raising the readiness of the armed forces, the sustainability of systems, and the localization of military industries, and maximizing the use of local content.
HE stressed that this event is of great importance to the Ministry of Defense and a milestone in our cooperation with Navantia company, as it intends to boost the RSNF's naval capabilities, improving joint operations among all security and military agencies, and developing a sustainable local military industries sector, while increasing transparency with spending efficiency.
HE the Governor of GAMI Eng. Ahmed Al-Ohali, added: “This MoU promotes the process of localization in the military industries sector by achieving the goals of the Kingdom’s vision to localize more than 50% of the total military spending by 2030, which will enable it to achieve the national priorities of strengthening the strategic independence of the Kingdom, in addition to developing a sustainable local military industries sector that will enhance the building of local industrial capabilities and various supply chains, as well as localization of human cadres.
HE added that the MoU comes under the guidance of the wise leadership to strengthen the Kingdom's global position in the military industries sector, especially through its strategic geographical location that connects three continents, which makes it the ideal destination for investment in this sector.
Mr. Ricardo Dominguez Garcia-Baquero, expressed his contentment at signing the MoU with the Ministry of Defense, after the success of the first project, the” Sarawat Project”, which is a quantum leap for Navantia and the RSNF. He also considered the challenging and demanding delivery period of the first project, that contributed to renewing the confidence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Navantia company, as two of the project’s ships were commissioned successfully; “HMS Jubail” and the “HMS Diriyah”.
Garcia-Baquero further indicated that the project ships are characterized by their incorporation of the latest combat systems to deal with all air threats, surface and subsurface, and the latest of their kind in the world. He also affirmed the company's commitment to transfer technology to Saudi engineers and contribute to the localization of the Kingdom's technical capabilities.
The signing ceremony was attended by His Excellency the Chief of Staff General Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, His Excellency the Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Vice Admiral Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Ghufaili and the Ambassador of Spain His Excellency Jorge Hevia Sierra and the Deputy Defense Minister for Procurement and Armament Ibrahim Bin Ahmed Al Suwayed and the Deputy Governor of Military Acquisition at the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) Mr. Mohammad Saleh Al-Athel.
Photo: AL-JUBAIL Corvette Built by Navantia for the Royal Saudi Navy During Sea Trials in the Bay of Cadiz, Spain © Navantia