International Business Vice President at Lockheed Martin Ray Piselli has said that Saudi Arabia provides ideal opportunities for manufacturing parts of Lockheed Martin’s products, pointing out that the corporation is working with Riyadh to make the Kingdom a world-class producer of military equipment.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow, Piselli revealed that demand for Lockheed Martin’s services is robust in the region despite the predicted strains on national budgets.
“Our main goal in the region is to help protect future generations,” Piselli confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that some complexities arise in the modern battlefield, where semi-peer opponents are rapidly developing their strategies and capabilities.
As for Lockheed Martin’s aspirations for working with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Gulf countries in general, Piselli reaffirmed that the corporation had been a trusted partner to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council for more than 55 years and a regional leader in building sovereign capabilities and upgrading the skills of the workforce in the local aerospace and defense sector.
Piselli said that Lockheed Martin understands the national visions of its regional partners and continues to support them in achieving economic diversification goals.
He revealed that Lockheed Martin has adopted a three-pillar approach focused on knowledge transfer, localization of industries, and human capital development.
When asked about the company’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, Piselli stressed that Lockheed Martin has been present in the Kingdom since 1965.
Since then, the company has continued to expand its presence in the Kingdom, especially in the fields of integrated air and missile defense systems, tactical and helicopter technology, naval systems, and satellite communications.
Piselli revealed that Lockheed Martin was also involved in developing and implementing training initiatives for the next generation of Saudi talent.
He said the training programs aim to ensure the sustainability of the Kingdom’s local aviation and defense sector and are in line with the national transformation plan “Vision 2030.”
As for Lockheed Martin’s plans to manufacture parts of their products in the Middle East, Piselli emphasized that Saudi Arabia offers ideal opportunities for achieving such a goal.
He pointed to the Kingdom’s 2018 defense budget and noted that it was the third biggest plan in the world at around $80 billion.
Piselli then moved on to commend the vision carried by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his continuous efforts to localize 50% of military spending by 2030.
Lockheed Martin’s plan for manufacturing parts for its products in the Kingdom covers two main areas.
First, the corporation is working with the US government to identify technologies that can be released to partner countries. Second, Lockheed Martin is cooperating with Saudi authorities to identify the most appropriate local companies to manufacture such technologies under localization contracts.
Moreover, Lockheed Martin offers gap analysis to help Saudi partners become world-class military equipment producers.
Piselli also pointed to Lockheed Martin holding a specialized workshop for suppliers in Riyadh in October 2021.
He also stressed that Lockheed Martin sees growth potential across the GCC region.