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The opening ceremony of Idex 2019 in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Saudi Arabian Military Industries Company (Sami) signed new deals with France and UAE on Sunday to boost its defence capabilities and diversify its economy away from oil.

The two deals, one with the French company Naval Group and the other with the UAE based Mubadala Investment Company were announced on the sidelines of International Defence Exhibition, Idex 2019 that got underway on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia will manufacture warships, frigates and submarines as part of the agreement signed with Naval Group, Dr Andreas Schwer, the chief executive officer of Sami said during a press conference on the sidelines of Idex.

“Our joint venture agreement with Naval group laid the foundation of a strategic partnership that will reinforce Sami’s commitment to helping Saudi Arabia develop self-sufficient defence capabilities,” said Dr Schwer.

“The collaboration offers us an excellent opportunity to leverage Naval Group’s strong trackrecord of helping its partners develop sovereign defence capabilities to create an integrated military industries ecosystem in the kingdom.”

He also added that the joint venture will significantly contribute to further enhancing the capabilities and readiness of Royal Saudi naval forces.

In the other agreement, Mubadala Investment Company and Sami will collaborate across aerospace, defence manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul, research and development and engineering.

“This represents a historic moment for the global aerospace and defence industries in setting up an aligned aerospace and defence strategy between the UAE and KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia),” said Badr Al Olama, Director of Aerospace and Defence, Mubadala.

“Through our strategic collaboration, we have identified a number of areas for potential partnership in the manufacturing, R&D and MRO space that can utilise the deep experience of the UAE in growing international partnerships and establishing a regional ecosystem.”

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also closely cooperating in a number of sectors including banking, energy and other fields.

Saudi Arabian Military Industries was established in 2017 to boost the Kingdom’s defence capabilities.

The latest deals come as Saudi Arabia, one the largest producers of oil diversifies its economy as part of vision 2030. The kingdom is targeting to create a number of new companies to boost its economy and create new jobs.