The Citizen – Translated by: Menat Allah Ashraf
Forbes Business Magazine said that the Middle East has begun to make a name for itself from just a buyer and a consumer to a manufacturer, producer and seller as well, and this is due to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, especially in the field of defense companies and weapons, which adds to the two countries a global position in terms of strength and security.
The report continued that for the first time a defense company in the Middle East was ranked among the top 25 arms sales companies in the world.
Data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) shows that sales of the top 25 arms and military services companies totaled $ 361 billion in 2019, an 8.5% increase over the previous year.
The United States dominates the list, being home to 12 of the top 25 companies, including the top five: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies, General Dynamics, with annual sales ranging from $ 24.5 billion to $ 53.2 billion.
Just below the list is UAE-based Edge, which was created in November 2019 through the merger of more than 25 established local defense firms with nearly 12,000 employees.
The group includes small arms manufacturer Caracal, Tiger Armored Cars Company, among others, and Edge was ranked 22nd, with arms sales estimated at $ 4.7 billion last year.
“Edge is a good example of how meeting the high national demand for military products and services combines with the desire to become less dependent on foreign suppliers, which is driving the growth and development of arms companies in the Middle East,” said Peter Weisman, senior researcher at Sipri’s Arms and Military Expenditure Program. .
Technology transfer and development in the Middle East
The Gulf region is also a popular location for the world’s defense giants to set up subsidiaries and joint ventures, the report said, with the 15 largest weapons companies having 24 branches in Saudi Arabia and 11 other branches in the UAE.
For example, Raytheon Technologies established Raytheon Atheeb Systems, ZHR Marine in Saudi Arabia, and Raytheon Emirates in the UAE.
Lockheed Martin also has a joint venture with the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) to produce UH-60 helicopters in the Kingdom.
Also present in Saudi Arabia are Airbus, BAE System, Boeing, General Dynamics, L3 Harris Technologies, Leonardo, Northrop Grumman and Thales.
For large defense companies, such operations put them close to important customers as countries themselves gain the ability to launch their defense industries through technology transfer.
It is a policy that has also been adopted by other developing economies to develop projects linked to the largest defense companies in the world.
Sipri researcher Diego Lopes da Silva said: “Countries seeking to launch their own weapons production programs have welcomed foreign arms companies as a way to benefit from technology transfers, which is what Saudi Arabia and the UAE are currently applying, and we believe that in doing so they are forming a new face for the Middle East.” They take it to another level, centered on moving away from dependence on others.
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