Saudi Arabia and Russia sign S-400 MOU

06 October 2017

Key Points

  • Saudi Arabia wants to produce a range of Russian military products, including parts for the S-400 air defence system
  • It appears the only firm agreement covers AK-103 assault rifle and ammunition production

Saudi Arabia and Russia have signed an agreement covering the procurement of S-400 long-range air defence systems that will be partly built in the kingdom, Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) announced on 5 October, when King Salman was visiting Moscow.

King Salman met  President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on 5 October. (Saudi Press Agency)King Salman met President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on 5 October. (Saudi Press Agency)

SAMI said the memorandum of understanding (MOU) it has signed with the Russian defence export agency Rosoboronexport stipulates that “the parties will co-operate in setting a plan to localise the manufacturing and sustainment of parts of the S-400”.

The MOU also covers the production in Saudi Arabia of Kornet-EM anti-tank missiles, TOS-1A multiple rocket launchers, and AGS-30 automatic grenade launchers.

A general terms and conditions of contract agreement was also signed that covers the production in Saudi Arabia of the Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifle and associated 7.62x39 mm ammunition. The AK-103 is already used by elite units of the Royal Saudi Land Force (RSLF).

“The agreements also include educational and training programmes for Saudi nationals to ensure the sustainability and development of the military industries sector in Saudi Arabia,” the SAMI statement said. “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 localising 50% of the kingdom’s military spending as targeted by [the] Vision 2030 [strategic plan].”

The Saudi government announced the formation of SAMI on 17 May, saying it would aim to become one of the world’s top 25 defence companies by 2030 and a major contributor to achieving the goal of localising 50% of the kingdom’s defence procurement.

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